Armor is a wonderful thing when a person is under attack or in need of protection.  One is very wise to put up armor when in survival mode and the thicker the better. This is something that I learned to do very well in my life from a very early age. I did not realize that I was building up armor around me, but I was doing it for very good reasons. I needed to protect myself, and being vulnerable could have been detrimental for me. I saw loved ones with weak spots in their armor get preyed upon and hurt repeatedly. I refused to be an easy target. Over the years I got better and better at building my armor, and it became thicker and heavier. I even learned to throw up armor in protection for my loved ones (mostly siblings, friends, and my mother.)

Although I did not escape being hurt, my armor did serve me well because it helped me survive. As I grew older many people saw me as “the strong one.” My mother always called me a “steal magnolia,” and many people leaned on me and looked to me in crisis because my armor was strong and thick enough to hold us all. This has not changed much within my inner circle. They still look to me many times in crisis, and there are some still depending on me to keep this armor up at all cost.

The problem is that this armor has been with me for so long that it has melded into my being and become a part of me. Although there is still a need for a certain amount of armor around me, there is no longer the need for the enormously thick and strong warfare armor that I have created during my life. This armor is extremely heavy to carry. It locks me in, and it locks others out (even at times my own husband) and I do not know how to get it off!

I am working on it though. It is not that I am never open or that I am never myself because I am both of those. It is just that I am having to relearn at a turtles pace that I do not have to be on guard and ready for battle at all times. Little by little I am facing my fears enough to let go of a tiny piece of the armor that has become such a familiar friend to me throughout the years. Little by little I am allowing myself to be vulnerable just to see if I will be safe in that place.

And I know that I can only do this in the realm of God’s love. When I say “realm of God’s love” I am not talking about being at church or in religious groups or circles. Those are nice, but that is not what it takes for me to let go. I am talking about a dimension in the spirit of love where I know that it is truly safe to surrender my armor. This is a very personal place both inside and outside of time and space. Others can go there with me and share that space with me, but there is no need for anyone but God and myself in order for me to get there. And honestly it is easier for me when I am alone.

That is the only realm that I feel it is safe to be intimate or vulnerable, and even though I know it is safe I still have to continuously remind myself because being safely intimate or vulnerable feels so unfamiliar to me. Sometimes I say it like a mantra…”There is safety in being intimate with God. It is safe to surrender. Surrendering to love is good .  There is no fear in love.”

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