I just wanted to have a nice dinner.
I’ll spare you the details, but while on a family vacation, I ended up saying this to a random person I got stuck next to at dinner one night, “I really don’t need you to explain the history of Christianity to me.”
I’m not one to start fights, but I sure to get invited to a lot of them. They’re hard to turn down when I feel the heat of anger rising up from my belly. I relived that exchange for days.
As an advocate I’m accustomed to pointing out what’s unfair. I celebrate this attribute because (1) it’s my job, and (2) I’ve fought through a lot of fear and perfectionism that kept me quiet for a long time. But after this dinner, I’ve begun to think that perhaps I’ve overcorrected.
As passionate as I am about justice, my energy as a human being is limited. I need rest. I need fun. I need to occasionally enjoy a meal without a fight.
For a long time I questioned if I was worthy enough to lead others in social change. Nowadays I’m less fixated on that question and more interested in figuring out how I can sustain myself in leadership without succumbing to joylessness. Because we were created for joy, y’all!
Next time I feel that urge to fight, I’ll pause and ask for wisdom before engaging—and maybe for my dinner to go.