“This is the path we take in cultivating joy: learning not to armor our basic goodness.”
Dear Lord…this simple sentence hit me like a piano falling from a window in a cartoon.
Some days…many days over the past couple of weeks…I suit up. And I’m not talking about getting dressed for work (though I do that)…or even putting on the “armor of God’ from my childhood Sunday school days. No I am talking about stepping into a full body suit of armor to protect myself from the people around me.
It would be simplest to blame my environment…an unknown and sometimes icy city or a stuffy and stiff work setting. But be those things as they may, I suit up because most days I’m just afraid to be vulnerable in a world where vulnerability isn’t safe.
Despite what I know about not making assumptions and trying to believe people have good intentions, I find that I am struggling to unveil my basic human goodness. Instead my inner dialogue goes something like:
“Be nice. Be funny. But hold back the parts of yourself that they will use and abuse.”
“Stay guarded. There is no one in this room that you know well enough to trust.”
“Whatever happens…be vigilant. If you aren’t, getting hurt will be your own fault.”
We’ve all told ourselves this story. Sadly it is sometimes true that if you leave your suit of armor at home, you will get hurt. But just as true is the fact that in doing this…in holding back…in keeping myself in check and in reserve at all times…I do not share my basic goodness with the world. And that is sad because my goodness has more potential to change the world than my words, my work, or my leadership. My basic goodness is what empowers all of those things…and when I bring armored Leah to those tasks, they are done half-heartedly and without the full extend and power of my voice and truth.
I must go to battle in my underwear instead of my suit of armor!
(PS—Sounds kinda fun…and cold!) 😉