How to Know When It’s Time to Open Your Heart to Someone

2 Timothy 4:9-14

It’s a mistake to think in absolutes when it comes to opening your heart to someone. In other words, there are many levels between fully opening your heart to someone and completely closing your heart to someone.

The most famous Bible verse on this subject is Proverbs 4:23 which states, “Above all else, guard your heart, for from it flow the springs of life.” Notice this verse says to “guard” your heart, not “close” your heart. It says to guard it to allow life to flow out of it, not to wall it off so life can never flow out or into it.

So there’s really two common dangers here: We can be too open and get hurt because we are not guarding it enough. Or we can stop the life from flowing out of it because we are guarding it too much. Therefore there must be a process of opening up more and more in relationships if you want to guard your heart in the most biblical way possible

Here are 4 signs God is telling you to open your heart more to someone.

1. If the Relationship Is Unable to Progress Forward in a Healthy Way Unless You Open Your Heart More to This Person, Usually This Is a Sign God Is Leading You to Do So

What does it mean to open your heart? When I use this phrase, I’m referring to the process of showing someone more of your true self and choosing to attach yourself more to someone else. I’m not using the word “attach” in a bad sense since all healthy relationships include an attachment process. I’m attached to my wife in a way that I am not attached to anyone else. Opening your heart means you are allowing yourself to depend on someone and allowing them to depend on you.

Proverbs 27:19 states, “As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.” So when you are opening your heart to someone, it basically means you are entrusting someone with more of yourself. This is what relationships are all about. It’s a dangerous process but without opening your heart to someone you can’t have a relationship.

But how much should you open your heart to someone? You should open your heart to someone as much as is needed and no more. In other words, you don’t need to fully open your heart to someone you have a crush on. You don’t need to fully open your heart to someone who asked you out to coffee. To date someone you will not need to open your heart to them as much as you will need to if you marry that person one day.

But at each level of progression in the relationship you will need to open your heart a little bit for the relationship to keep growing. If you don’t crack your heart open to someone you will never allow yourself to even have a crush. If you don’t open up a little more you will never be able to go on a date with your crush. If you don’t then open up a little more to someone you will not be able to go from just talking to actually dating. And if you do not progressively keep opening more and more of your heart as the relationship grows, you will never be able to reach the levels of intimacy needed to want to get married.

So if you are guarding your heart too much and it is stifling a good relationship from growing in a healthy way that would be pleasing to God, this is a sign God probably wants you to open up more.

2. If This Person Has Shown You Trustworthy Qualities Over an Appropriate Amount of Time, This Is Usually a Sign God Is Leading You to Open Your Heart More to This Person

God has called his people to love everyone, but he has not called us to trust everyone. There are many Bible verses telling us to love people. There is not one Bible verse that tells us to trust people.

But as we all know, trust is an essential part of a healthy relationship. I believe God doesn’t tell us to trust people because in many ways we have to treat people according to their deeds. Certainly we are called to love even when people don’t deserve it because that’s what grace is – an underserved gift. But trust is something that must be built on qualities and actual faithfulness in a relationship. Notice in 2 Timothy 4:9-14 how differently Paul spoke of people based upon his experiences with them:

Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.”

Paul is writing this letter to Timothy and telling him to come. Do you think he wrote a letter to Demas asking him to come to where Paul was? No, because Timothy had been faithful to Paul and Demas deserted Paul.

In the past Paul and Barnabas had a big argument about Mark (Acts 15:36-41). Paul didn’t want Mark to come on a journey with him because on a different journey Mark withdrew from them. Here, however, clearly Paul sees Mark differently now because he has shown himself useful again for ministry.

Do you think Paul would trust Alexander the coppersmith with his cloak, his books, and the parchments like he trusted Carpus with these items? Of course not. Paul would never trust Alexander at this point because he did great harm to Paul.

It’s not wrong to trust people more or less based upon your experiences with them. Likewise, the more positive experiences you have in a relationship with someone, the wiser it is to open up to them. The key is to observe godly behavior over time. Anyone can act godly for a moment or say the right words, which is why the process of dating should never feel rushed and forced. It takes time to really get to know someone. It can’t be rushed. You have to observe them over time before the Lord will lead you to open more of your heart to them.

3. If You Are Keeping Your Heart Closed Off Due to Your Own Fears Rather Than Because of This Person’s Behavior, Oftentimes This Is a Sign God Is Leading You to Open Up to Them

It’s healthy to have an appropriate concern for getting hurt in relationships. A lack of fear leads to unnecessary damage. When you get close to a cliff’s edge for example, you should have some fear because that caution will keep you from carelessly slipping off the edge to your death.

Likewise, in relationships you don’t want to ignore rationale fears. But you do want to overcome irrational fears. An irrational fear is to assume this person will viciously hurt you and act out against you even though they have shown you nothing but love and kindness thus far. Usually these fears are based in past experiences that are getting projected onto someone in the present.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 is states that the wicked “refused to love the truth.” This “truth” is referring to the gospel, but as Christians we must always live in truth. We must be people of truth. When we succumb to irrational fears rooted in previous relationships, we are choosing to believe lies spoken over us in the past rather than living free as we declare and believe God’s truth in our present.

If your desire to stay closed off towards someone is rooted in an irrational fear, God will lead you to overcome this so you can open up to the right person at the right time. 

4. If You Want This Person to Open Their Heart to You, Then God Will Often Lead You to Open Up More of Your Heart to Them First

We all like to play it safe. We all want the other person to make the first move. But that’s not always the path God is leading us to take.

The odds of someone staying closed off to you are much higher if you stay closed off to them. It’s not a guarantee someone will open their heart to you if you open up more to them, but you definitely have a much better chance if you do. For as Jesus said in Luke 6:31, “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”