Once upon a time, there was a girl. She was a tough little girl. She liked to play in the dirt. She liked to ride her bike on the trails and jump on the ramps with her brother.
One time, she was out riding the trails but she also wanted to be pretty so when she geared up to go riding, she put on her shorts and tshirt and her pretty plastic brand new white First communion sandals. First Communion was in a week or so so the shoes were to be saved for that time so the little girl could be pretty and ready to receive baby Jesus in the bread.
The trails were a little rough. The little girl wiped out. She crashed her bike when she went to land. She brushed her butt off and was ready to go but there was another challenge. When she stepped to get back on her bike, she stepped on a loose board. Not a big deal, except there was a nail in the board. The nail went straight through her lovely wedge heel into her foot, piercing her foot. On her bike road home, she bled all over her lovely plastic white First Communion sandals. AND she had to get a tetanus shot.
It wasn’t the first adventure that the little girl went on that resulted in being a little banged up and worse for wear. It seems to be a foreshadowing of her future bad assed-ness and her need for protective gear and possibly a full time safety monitor.
Several lifetimes later that included a couple marriages, a tribe of children being born, taught, and raised, the little girl was not so little anymore but she still liked going on adventures. She still rushed head first in to the adventures with little regard to her safety. Although, people around her loved her and loved her fiercely. They loved her enough to help her see the blessings and the benefits of safety equipment. The lessons were heeded, slowly, and not without more injuries that will be shared in future stories.
Now the little girl is a grown woman. She has learned a million lessons and she is willing to learn a million more. One of the most important lessons she has learned is to never stop being a learner. With the understanding that life is a journey that is meant to be a lesson and a journey not a destination. Challenges become easier to overcome when she remembers to use her safety equipment and not her armor.
The lessons were not always easily learned and sometimes they had to be learned over and over. Most often, there was pain involved. But learning the lesson was always worth the pain, even if she thought she would die in the process. Continuing to work through the challenges by remembering what worked and what was a fail was not easy but it was easier when she learned herself more which meant taking off the armor but keeping the safety equipment.
It was important as life continued to learn the difference between safety equipment and armor. Many times through hurts and injustices, people learn to put on armor to protect from injury. Such as having your heart broken once, twice, or even more, and choosing to never get into a relationship as armor against never getting your heart broken again.
Or maybe, you put on armor by not opening up or sharing or being vulnerable, instead you attack in anger when you feel threatened. While it might seem that you are protecting your heart, you are, in actuality, preventing yourself from meaningful and wholehearted connections.
Sometimes armor is when you respond with defensiveness instead of vulnerability because you feel attacked even when an attack isn’t happening. It could be just a discussion that stirs a story in you that you haven’t worked through because it’s hard to look at parts of you such as shame or fear. Again, it might seem easier to be protective of your feelings by putting up your armor but it takes so much energy to maintain it.
Safety equipment is also protective but in a different way. Safety equipment in relation to our personal lives is doing the work on yourself. It is taking the time to question your fears so they don’t keep manifesting in discussions and relationships.
Safety equipment can be learning to love yourself. Learning that you are enough for every situation. Loving yourself to forgive yourself, sometimes, over and over. Loving yourself is doing your best. Loving yourself is not allowing yourself to be treated poorly. Loving yourself is setting appropriate boundaries.
Safety equipment is doing what needs to be done for yourself to keep yourself healthy. Safety equipment is being active and eating healthy to prevent illness. Working out isn’t always fun but the benefits do keep you safe.
Safety equipment is being healthy in spirit. Learning to be thankful and living in a place of gratitude is not always easy but it is a good practice. Being grateful is a simple thing to do that keeps you safe from resentment, frustration, and anger. #safetyequipmentforyourspirit
Safety equipment isn’t required but I highly recommend it. Armor isn’t required but we keep it way too long. One of these will keep you safe the other will give the illusion of safety. Safety equipment will let you take chances, get muddy, form connections, and possibly fall on your face but the equipment will reassure you in knowing that you will know how to get back up and be okay, regardless of what life gives you.