Saturday, April 08, 2006

I was just reading Captivating today and came across something that struck me:

"A woman in her glory, a woman of beauty, is a woman who is not striving to become beautiful or worthy or enough. She knows in her quiet center where God dwells that he finds her beautiful, has deemed her worthy, and in him, she is enough. In fact, the only thing getting in the way of our being fully captivating and enjoyed is our striving" (emphasis in the original).

You may recall that a while back I was struggling to come up with a feminine counterpart to my qualities of the masculine knight (by the way, let me state for the record that I don't consider either of those definitive categories, or necessarily Biblical. I'm just trying to parse out Biblical gender truths in a way that actually resonates with my heart).

Anyway, you may also recall that I decided whereas a man should be honorable, a lady knight is magnificent. I never defined magnificence, but of course I don't think it's simply honorable in a skirt (similarly for valiant and valorous, which is why I used different words). The essence of magnificence is exactly what Captivating says. A magnificent woman doesn't need anybody or anything. Of course she recognizes that many things are good, and that God desires many things for her, but she has learned the truth that her sufficiency is in Christ and in Christ alone. If she were marooned on a desert island and had neither companionship nor possessions, it would still be well with her soul because she would have him. This results in a kind of invincible peace, and an invincible confidence. Not that she trusts in herself - the whole point is that she doesn't trust in herself. She trusts in one who is utterly trustworthy instead. She knows that he provides in all things, and she has learned to rest in that truth, so she does not strive. Because her trust is in the Lord, she is unshakable, unassailable.

Let me distinguish this from two things. Natalian magnificence is not the same as indolence. There is a difference between planning and striving. God tells us not to worry about what we will eat, but a magnificent woman still plans ahead to feed her family (Proverbs 31:15). Magnificence is also not the same as defiance. A woman may seem invincibly confident by rejecting the opinions of lesser mortals, however those are defined. But that is not magnificence, it is mere bluster - sound and fury, even if it takes the form of stony silence in the face of that which is rejected. Magnificence is not like that. It is quiet, trusting, and focused not on what is rejected but on who Christ is.

I call it magnificence; the Eldredges call it beauty. The names can make them seem different. But meeting one or two lady knights will clear up that misconception straight away.

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