"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." Proverbs 4:23
In his commentary* on this verse, D.A. Carson writes, "In contemporary Western symbolism, the heart is the seat of the emotions. But in the symbol-world of Scripture, the heart is the seat of the whole person. It is closer to what we mean by 'mind,' though in English 'mind' is perhaps a little too cerebral. So 'guard your heart' means more than 'be careful what, or whom, you love' - though it cannot easily mean less than that. It means something like, 'Be careful what you treasure; be careful what you set your affections and thoughts on.'"
What do I treasure? What do I most often set my affections and thoughts on? These days, I think a lot about two things: having children and buying a home. Now, neither of those is bad or wrong. They are generally good desires. But when Aaron and I consider whether this is a wise time to buy a house, I have to carefully evaluate whether or not I have placed an undue importance on owning a home. And as I wait for the results of this IUI, I need to diligently examine my heart for any inordinate reliance on a pregnancy to give me joy.
Why should I be so vigilant? Because the heart, as Carson goes on to say, "directs the rest of life. What you set your mind and emotions on determines where you go and what you do. ... If your heart is ardently pursuing peripheral things (not necessarily prurient things), then from a Christian perspective you soon come to be occupied with the merely peripheral. If what you dream of is possessing a certain thing, ...that shapes your life."
I don't want to spend my life occupied with the merely peripheral. Houses and, yes, even children are peripheral. Though having a child and owning a home would both be great blessings, neither is essential to my satisfaction. And neither makes an ultimately worthy goal for my life. I still hope to have children by some means, and I still wish to buy a home when the time is right, but those intentions must be submitted to the aim of knowing and glorifying my Savior. So I guard my heart against treasuring motherhood and home-ownership too much. He loves me without those things, and by his grace I can love him without those things.
"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith." Philippians 3:8-9
*in the reading for March 17 from For the Love of God, Vol. 2