The Shining Armor and Damsel Delusions

Foreword.

My grandmother’s passing sparked thoughts on this topic over 5 years ago. I have intentionally created this to be unlike my usual writings, and there’s a reason. I’ve always found joy in both of my grandparents’ love stories because they’ve loved for a lifetime and were young when it all started. However, my life had always been different, and I was one who stressed over my dating life. I always wanted to find Mr. Right, and he never came. Growing up, I never had a date to the prom, I never had a first kiss, I never had a boyfriend, and I often lost sight of the truth that my value came from someone much greater than who I was searching for. My early 20s proved to me that your trust in a divine plan is sacred when your dreams remain a dream. My greatest dream as a little girl was dating young, getting married by 22, having a family, and settling down as a mom. Yet, here I am to say that none of that happened; I’m here to tell you that your own dreams will often fall outside of a better, sacred, and divine plan. And, if you ask, I’m glad I learned so much this far on my journey. I think there’s hope to your story and mine, but we’ll have to let it do the talking. 😉 Read on, lovelies.

The Story.

In the depths of the foreign land, he heard a familiar cry. It sounded like echoes in a desert. It was peculiar, as if it spoke to his heart. It was calling him. He turned in a haste, fighting to find its direction. Somehow, he hoped that the voice would show itself, like a figure coming over the hill as the sun came over the horizon at dawn. It grew louder, the hope beyond the hill was beckoning. And at that moment, silence. The echo beamed its radiance no longer. As his hope dropped from the horizon, he heard one thing: His own mind wandering, calling loudly. It was calling for the voice beyond the hill.

She looked down, losing the air that carried her voice. From her view, a hill eclipsed the horizon and hid all else behind it. From her mind, she could see beyond the hill. She could see the sun rise and set. She could see the beauty of life. Best of all, she could see that something was waiting for her. She called out of desperation, anticipating a gust of wind that would carry her worries away. She cried louder, thinking someone would reply to her angst. Always, she lost hope. As her hope faded, the air in her lungs gave way to a stinging emptiness. Her heart fell with the strength of her voice. Could it be that where the sun went behind the hill, the dream laid hidden from her?

The hill seemed miles in the distance, as though every step he took forward moved the hill away. It moved further towards the unreachable boundary betwixt sky and earth. The sun was disappearing, and the last glimmer of light hit the metal that guarded his heart. He looked over at this companion.

His trusty stallion, an Arabian horse that rode through the whole journey, had a curious look about him. His horse looked as though he was waiting for this journey’s end. His master sat impatiently building a fire, and the horse knew the journey was coming to a close. He had been a valiant companion, sticking through the times that his master had abused his speed. Never did his master have patience, and tonight was especially noticeable. The steed and his master settled for rest, and dusk dwindled into dawn.

As she rose from her sleep, her dreams rose once more. As the sun unceasingly rose over the hill, her hope rose with the shedding of new light every day. The sunrise was the most spectacular thing she had seen. Her memories of greater sights were erased with the passage of time. Her window was a looking glass for two things: the sun and the hill – the present and her future. She called out for the last time.

The hill was just ahead, and the Arabian brought forth a merciless run for the sake of his rider. This was the moment of truth. Had his master made it to the place where his rush would be stilled? He ran, and the morning light shone around. Finally, he made it to the peak, and he paused for the first time on this journey.

There she saw it: the outline of a creature, a horse, shadowed on the top of the hill. She had always dreamt of this moment: there would be a companion for her. She always believed this to be true. High upon her tower, she dreamed. Meanwhile, high upon his horse, he searched. She dreamed of the perfect life while calling out in desperation, and she believed that life would be complete once her dream had come true. Yet, little did she know.

He had always dreamed that a still tower would stand waiting for him. It was destiny. There was always supposed to be ultimate fight for the greatest prize. He had felt the urge to fight for her, and her voice had given him directions to this moment. He made it to the bottom of a tower, and he left his horse to graze. He climbed the stony steps, up and up into an endless whirl of expectations. What would he say to her? He made it to the last step, and his heart was not prepared.

She turned her face and smiled, the sun had risen and struck his armor. It was vibrantly blinding, shielding her eyes from his face. She moved around to see his face, and she held her breathe. Their eyes met, and the sun shed light on their dreams: She was no longer a damsel in distress, and he became her knight in shining armor.

My dear reader:
I had a point to this woven fairytale of mine,
It’s hidden in truths that still wait to unwind.
It’s kind of a masquerade,
One that hope will try and persuade.
What you and I await to create,
In families of our own someday.
A life lived in happiness would be the best,
But dreams will never let my heart rest.
I ask for a knight in armor shining,
It left me wondering and finding.
Where did the truth go in this mess of lies?
I cannot stay in it, you must realize.
I hoped for something that was not real,
And, now reality can reveal.
My fairytale has an alternate ending,
One more real, more unpolished, more unpretending…

She turned her face and smiled, the sun had risen and struck his armor. It was extraordinary, how ordinary this moment came to be. His face was young, and his features were imperfect. While looking at her love, she realized her imagination had the best of her. Years before, she invented a sprightly and handsome face. In the reverse, he saw the same. Her face was not rosy, her figure was imperfect, and her features were strikingly ordinary. It was never meant to be like this, it was never dreamt to be like this.

His armor was not shiny. In fact, life had beaten the glory out of his armor on day one. He was common, like finding a fish in the ocean. Likewise, the distant calls and the rush to pursue his damsel? It was not as distressed as he might have imagined. From time to time, when her loneliness became too lonely, she would cry out for him to come. She missed the presence of a love, but his rush to find her was out of a silly fantasy. He imagined that a damsel would be seeking him, that his feats of victory and triumph would woo her in a fury. And, it was all a race against his own perceptions. He felt betrayed by his imaginings of a damsel in distress, and she felt betrayed by her desires for a knight in shining armor. It was not the hope of good things that failed here: It was the dream of perfection that failed. And yet, they fell in love, and their dreams became mere memory.

The Point.

Hey you! The fairytale’s over, but take a step back and place yourself in the story. You may have been dreaming about your knight in shining armor or your damsel in distress. You may not have realized until now, but you live in a valley. The hill in the story? That is your level of expectations for a partner in life. The sun? That’s your hope that someone will rise to your expectations someday. The lover in the distance? That’s the person you dreamed of, but they’re unable to make it over your hill. Perhaps, they’re hidden from your sight or they’ve given up trying to climb the hill of your expectations. You are missing someone, and it’s because of your own mind.

Have you considered that our culture has tainted you, and you’re delusional? There’s a major cultural delusion, and we’re stuck in the middle of it. We believe there are such things as knights in shining armor and damsels in distress. Somehow, as we get older and grow out of fairytales, we don’t grow out of this one. You’ll be the man saving the woman, or you’ll be the woman waiting for her man. I’m breaking this down for guys and girls, so prepare to shatter your expectations into 1,000 pieces. We’ll rebuild something that’s a better dream in its place, I promise.

NOW, GENTS. There are couple important things I want you to know. One, you might have had her in your mind for a really long time—a dream girl. You might actually have a list of things you want. She’s sexy, she’s intelligent, she’s exciting, she’s funny, she’s motivated, she’s focused on you, and she needs you. She might be all of those things minus one.

First, she doesn’t need you. She’s made to live without you for a while. Second, there are some better things to be looking for.
Solomon, the wisest man ever, said in Song of Solomon 3v5, “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” You see, God’s already got a time and a place for you in your dream girl’s life, and maybe your time hasn’t come yet. However, it’s all to do with that bloody list of things you want. Your list might be blinding you to a woman’s best and brightest qualities. Your future wife might be right under your nose, and you’re completely blind to her presence. You’re missing her because you’re missing the most important item to have as #1 on your list.

It’s so great that our God talks about finding and searching for the right woman. Proverbs 31v29-30 says, “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all…Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” So, you might want to start expecting less from your list and more from a woman’s heart. Ask yourself: Does she love God? Does she pursue a real, raw relationship with Jesus that you’ve glimpsed? If you don’t know, move on. Jesus should be #1.

I have the best advice for your future right here:

There is no damsel in distress, and your imaginary list of ideas will set up expectations that your future wife will fail at. Your future wife? She will grow old, she will look like death when she’s sick, she will yell at you for no reason, she will be overbearing at times, but she will have a heart of gold if you follow what comes next. Look at the women you’ve (liked/loved/dated) and look at the single ladies that you know right now. Remember the names and faces of the ones you’ve met that love Jesus. Filter out the ones you’re unsure of, focus on the ladies that love Jesus, and think about asking them out. If they hit list item #1 (LOVE JESUS), don’t just brush past a woman like that. You might have a keeper on your hands, and you know she won’t sit waiting.

NOW, LADIES. I know we love when a man pursues us, but it is negative to obsess about finding the perfect guy. It goes from you making yourself a joy to be around and morphing, instead, into Gollum chasing his “Precious.” Proverbs 14v30 says, “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” The first thing you must settle with yourself is this: if you are envious of those who have a husband/boyfriend & compare your situation with their own, you are draining the life out of your own heart. You can’t blame anyone but yourself for going around & coveting what you don’t have as life just keeps tossing you around and you’re shallowly focused on your wants. Your focus is on your discontentment & your lack of peace, and the Bible tells you that your bones will rot because your flesh loses its life. Your goal is to be at peace, and that will give you renewed life. You might be saying, “Well, I can’t be at peace because I have to do something, change this, keep hoping, and try harder for something better.” You have to stop thinking that something, or someone, better for you is out in the future when your life is meant to be lived in the present.

I beg you. Stop lying to yourself right now. There’s no such thing as a knight in shining armor (at least, none like the one you imagine), and you are damaging your heart by putting your hope in false pretenses. Believe me, I know, because I’ve been there before. Psalm 68v6 says, “God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.” Ignore the parched part for a second, and focus on the part that will give you rest right now. God settles the lonely in a home, and in the midst of your heart wearing its chains, he leads you out of your bondage into freedom. God leads you into a place where you are settled. You are not meant to be lonely when you live in him, and he draws you out of that bondage into bliss. This is about your relationship with Jesus. You cannot fix everything by thinking about your loneliness, but God can fix your heart holes with his holy companionship. Say, “Bye, bye” to loneliness, and, “hello” to freedom in Christ.

Now, about the parched part—align yourself to God’s direction and have a relationship with Jesus, or you will not see the flood of his grace in this. Firmly root yourself in your relationship with and in the pursuit of Christ, because out of that he promises, “They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit (Jeremiah 17v8).” You’ll be like the tender, bright plants alongside a lakeside footpath – never fearing your source of refreshment will fail, never worried that your foundation is unsecure, never thinking that the next day might change your purpose or plan crafted from the moment of creation. You will be firm. You won’t be looking to lose that perspective in exchange for your own unrooted plans. And, you definitely won’t be tossed by your fears of lacking fulfillment or idealizations of a perfect {fake} life anymore.

GUYS AND GALS: I’ll bet you’ve been there and back again, Bilbo Baggins… Placing yourself on an unfair scale that labels you from “dateable” to “undateable,” comparing your situation to what you wish it was, tearing yourself apart over little things you can’t change or shouldn’t, picking up the pieces later, realizing you don’t even know what to make of it all, and then looking like something that has, indeed, crawled out of Mordor. All this because of some fantastical, perfect life that will never exist.

So, what’s the whole point to my story? Believing too much in a knight in shining armor or your damsel in distress can be damaging. It’s an illusion that will take your eyes off of Jesus, and it will set your eyes on a flawed human being or on unattainable goals of perfection. God gives us grace when our lives are imperfect—when we are searching for the perfect person to bring all our broken pieces back together. That perfect person, the only Knight in Shining Armor we can believe in, is Jesus. Our world will feed you lies that another human can make you feel complete, but I promise that it is never enough. And, you’ll like the lies so much because, like Cookie Monster, you think you can’t get enough of something that instantly fills your belly with such temporary delight. Like a list of expectations that we hope for in a spouse, a human will always fall short of the perfection that we seek & the world tells to expect. Our knights and damsels are delusions, but I’ll take it one step further.

In respect to Jesus, we are all Damsels in Distress. I don’t always share the Gospel explicitly in my writings, but I feel compelled to lay this out. To be a Christian means that we have recognized our imperfections, our brokenness, and our sins; and in the midst of our mess, God freely offered his grace through the sacrificial love of Christ. Romans 3v10 says that there is no righteous person; however, through the death of Christ on the cross and the conquering of death through the Resurrection, we can have the hope of eternal life. Cling to that. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5v8); and through the repentance of our sin and the acceptance of salvation, our sins can be washed away in the blood of Christ. With that, we are adopted in as God’s children (John 1v2), saved by grace, gifted eternal life, blessed through obedience, and are new creations. Our lives are marked by a likeness to Christ and by striving to follow His commands. We are identified by our obedience to God’s Word, and we live as vessels of his love and grace to a hurting world.

I once was a Damsel in Distress, and the one true Knight came and saved me from my sins. My dear, I hope that you have seen by now. No one in this world will satisfy. While you may wrestle with yourself every day, do not let your singleness become a burden. Do not let false hope take the place of your greatest companion in life. Psalm 37v4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I madly desire to have a love that lasts a lifetime, but I desire one thing even more than this—that I know what it means to be infinitely loved and fulfilled by my companion, Christ. As the sun rises over the horizon every day at dawn, so constant are His mercies and love renewed each day. Live to delight yourself in the Lord, and all your desires will follow.

XOXO,

Rae