Protecting Our Hearts

Alyssa, Lauren and Becca Barlow talk about how they find their worth in God.
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Alyssa Barlow was praying one day when a picture popped in her mind. "I saw this girl crying in a dark room," Alyssa says. "There were broken pieces of a porcelain heart on the floor and she was trying to put it back together."

Alyssa started crying, not knowing what the mental image meant. She thought, Lord, what is this?

"I think God was talking to me about how often we can allow our hearts to be broken by others," she says. "We long for approval and definition. And while we're built for that need to draw us to God, we are quick to pass our heart to anyone who will complete, define or love us. But it's a porcelain heart for a reason—it wasn't meant to be passed around and treated carelessly."

In the BarlowGirl song, "Porcelain Heart," the girls sing: "This can't be the way … something's gotta change and mend this broken heart of mine." Ignite asked Alyssa, Lauren and Becca: "How do you protect your porcelain hearts? How do you keep them from shattering to pieces?" Here's what they had to say.

FIND TRUE WORTH:"I need to let God be the one who defines me," Lauren says. "We put so much importance on what people—especially the opposite sex—think of us. We let that determine our worth. But what God says about me is worth so much more."

How do you find out what God thinks? "We've studied the Bible, such as the book of Esther, to see what God thinks of us," Becca says. "By learning how much he loves us, we let God give us our worth."

TAKE THOUGHTS CAPTIVE: "The three of us really had to work to learn to take every thought captive and make sure it fits to a life shaped by Christ, like 2 Corinthians 10:5 says," says Alyssa. "We believe that's important because when you meet an amazing guy and find yourself obsessing about the last conversation you had and over what they might think of you, you're getting too emotionally attached even if you aren't dating. It's OK to have romantic feelings, but you need to watch how much you're getting caught up with someone."

"I can sometimes meet a guy and start thinking, 'Wow this guy is amazing,' and just start getting too wrapped up in it," Becca says. "At times like these, it's easy to think, 'He must be the one!' Instead, I've learned to ask myself, 'What do I like about this guy's personality that I'd want in my future husband?'"

KEEP EACH OTHER ACCOUNTABLE: In addition to paying attention to how often she thinks about guys, each sister also shares what she's thinking with her sisters and parents. In return, they often check up on each other by asking questions: "So, how's that friendship going? Are you thinking too much about him? What qualities do you really like about him?"

WAIT FOR GOD'S TIMING: "God put Adam to sleep until he created the right one for him," Alyssa says. "So we always say, 'OK, put me to sleep until I'm ready.' That way, my heart doesn't get destroyed before that happens. I know my husband isn't going to fall from the sky. But I know God has a journey for us and until we're ready, we choose to be friends with guys. We hang out in groups but we don't want to get our value from guys. We don't expect them to fill the hole in our hearts only God should fill. We don't want to hand them our hearts. We need to view our hearts as a gift."

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