Joy has been the subject of God’s lessons all week, so I wasn’t surprised that the service at The River of Life this morning was about just that.
I’ve been reading “Daring Greatly” this week and was taken aback by the notion of foreboding joy being a common shield against vulnerability.
Brene Brown describes her findings in Chapter 4.
“…having spent several years studying what it means to feel joyful, I’d argue that joy is probably the most difficult emotion to really feel. Why? Because when we lose the ability or willingness to be vulnerable, joy becomes something we approach with deep foreboding. This shift from our younger self’s greeting of joy with unalloyed delight happens slowly and outside of our awareness.”
I completely connected to the notion of foreboding joy as she described her own experiences and the experiences of the people she interviewed. When something wonderful happens or all is going very well, I begin to think something bad is getting ready to happen. It’s a ridiculous notion, but I was clearly guilty of putting up the foreboding joy shield to protect myself from vulnerability.
The good news is that hearing her describe her struggles helped me see my struggles in a new light. She goes on to give hope to those of us who are guilty of worrying that the other shoe is about to drop.
“Once we make the connection between vulnerability and joy, the answer is pretty straightforward: We’re trying to beat vulnerability to the punch. We don’t want to be blindsided by hurt. We don’t want to be caught off-guard, so we literally practice being devastated or never move from self-elected disappointment.”
She goes on to say that our culture assists in the doom and gloom scenarios we rehearse. Awareness is the first step to change, so I was overjoyed this morning as I sat by the river and had a sweet talk with God about my foreboding joy shield.
He has always known about it, and He and I both know it’s forged in fear. We both know that fear doesn’t feed on the vulnerable; it feeds on those who think they need a shield. It was freeing to let the river sweep away my shield this morning as I thanked God for lessons learned.
Brene Brown says, “While I was initially taken aback by the relationship between joy and vulnerability, it now makes perfect sense to me, and I can see why gratitude would be the antidote to foreboding joy.”
So do I! I plan to practice gratitude and embrace all the joy that comes into my life 🦋