“She needed a hero, so she became one.”
I was defeated.
As I sat on the steps of Lincoln Center, I tried to assess the current state of my heart. It normally beat strong and bold—like a warrior going into battle, confident of victory and singing along the way.
That night, though, it felt like my brave heart had been pummeled in a fistfight. I could see the warrior’s black eyes and bruising, and feel the weakened heartbeat inside her chest.
The warrior had valiantly taken on the challenges and battles of the last few weeks, guided by the King’s plans and aided by His reinforcements. She had faced these challenges with hope, courage, and joy—confident in the King, and her identity in Him.
She loved and swore allegiance to the King. She was passionate about the King’s kingdom and cause. She fought bravely and continued to take back ground in the King’s name; yet, the increased reclamation of enemy territory was met with even greater resistance. Whether guerrilla warriors or full-on battalions, the warrior started facing conflict on two fronts, then three—still taking on each challenge in the King’s name, but her energy and resources now spread more thinly.
She started to focus so much on fighting the battles that it slowed her communication with the King, so intent on proving her worth that she didn’t ask the King to send reinforcements. And in this fog of combat, she became vulnerable.
She started to act on what she thought that the King would want her to do, instead of going back to the King for His plans to victory. She started listening to voices other than that of the King—voices that knowingly or unknowingly started to chip away at the warrior’s armor. Instead of affirming the warrior’s strengths, they penetrated her weaknesses. She faltered and questioned her ability to win the battle. She lost her joy—her secret weapon from the King—and the blows of the enemy started to make dents and leave bruises.
And so I sat on the steps of Lincoln Center with my bruised soldier of a heart – feeling quite weak and in need of triage.
In tears, I lifted my hurting but persevering heart up to the King.
I needed Him to come rescue His Warrior Princess. I didn’t have to beg, plead, or prove myself—before I could finish my whispered prayer, my King and Defender was at my side. An overwhelming sense of relief brought tears to my eyes.
My identity in the King rushed back to me.
I am HIS.
I am LOVED (Romans 8:39).
I am COMPLETE (Colossians 2:10).
I am FREE (Galatians 5:1).
I am created for a PURPOSE (Philippians 3:13-14).
I am His HEIR. His PRINCESS (Romans 8:17).
I am His AMBASSADOR (2 Corinthians 5:20).
I am HOLY and BLAMELESS in His sight (Ephesians 1:4).
I am POWERFUL and clothed in His ARMOR (Ephesians 6:10-18).
I am MORE THAN A CONQUERER (Romans 8:37).
I am already VICTORIOUS (John 16:33).
I am UNIQUELY DESIGNED for His purposes—for each of the relationships I’m in, and each of the challenges that I face (Psalm 139:13).
I am JOYFUL and, therefore, STRONG (Nehemiah 8:10).
I was reminded that my joy is a special and sacred gift that allows me to wield the weapon called worship. This joy arises out of the confidence I have in Christ (Romans 15:13) and my joy also gives me strength (Nehemiah 8:10), which is renewed by hope (Romans 15:13). And I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). Therefore, with JOY I am able to do ALL THINGS.
So, for me, this joy is to be protected above almost all else. When I had allowed myself to become sapped of my joy, I had been sapped of my strength and vulnerable to attacks of the enemy.
Now, understand that joy does not equal happiness. Being joyful in all things does not mean I am constantly happy. Joy comes from knowing that God is in control, surrendering all to Him, trusting in His goodness, and not allowing anything to quiet the hope that beats in my chest. Confident hope that He is working all things together for Kingdom good, and for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.
Hope that he is working all things together for my good, as one who loves Him and is called according to His purposes.
And because of that hope, I have a reason—and a RIGHT—to worship Him in any circumstance. Worship changes everything.
Praise is celebration. Worship is adoration. Worship is a weapon—it presents a problem for your problems. It will move mountains. Yet, sometimes when I’m praying for the mountain in front of me to move, I really need to be asking if God is first trying to move a mountain inside of me. My situation may not change right away, but with worship—my perspective and approach to the situation will.
Sitting on the steps, I remembered what someone once told me: “The minute you start serving Jesus, you become a problem in Hell, so everything in your life will be opposed. So it’s good to know if you’ve got some problems and drama and opposition, you’re probably on the right track to change the world.”
And then, I remembered a line from the book that inspired this Warrior Princess so long ago: “‘Courage, dear heart,’ and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan’s.” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Courage, dear heart.