It’s Time To Ditch The Damsel In Distress

Poor Rapunzel. How many years did she waste, trapped in a tall stony prison, apparently helpless and resigned to her fate? Left simply to watch life pass her by?

I recently found myself wondering what exactly was it she was waiting for? Someone to rescue her? Someone to give her a reason to fight for her freedom?  Someone to give her life meaning?

Did it not occur to Rapunzel as she watched her captor climb her beautiful long flowing golden hair to enter her dungeon, that the very tool that allowed her enemy to enter may also be the very means by which she could escape. She actually possessed all she needed to claim her freedom.

If I was Rapunzel I like to think I would have cut my hair, tied it to something and climbed my way to freedom.

So why didn’t she?

As I pondered this fictional conundrum I began to wonder if it was because she had been taught to believe she was a prisoner – helpless, worthless. Did she believe in some way that the world had forgotten her, or that she was insignificant, unimportant and that maybe no one actually cared what happened to her? Captivity was all she had ever known. She didn’t truly understand what freedom was.

I think in some ways Rapunzel wasn’t just imprisoned in a tower but also in a mind-set.  Because that’s what happens when we allow the voice of our enemy to be the voice we spend the most time listening to.

‘You can’t do that’, ‘You’ll never be good enough’ ‘What’s the point in even trying’  ‘Nobody likes you’ ‘Your going to fail’

As we look back on the childhood fairy tales many of us were read before we drifted off to sleep at night, I found myself wondering were we unconsciously listening to a voice that told us that as a woman we are in need of rescuing.  That we cannot fight for ourselves.

In the world today there are many movements promoting the fact that woman and men should be valued equally. And I’m excited by this.  But I recently had a conversation where somebody asked me to consider doing something in the church and a sub conscious thought popped into my head that said “You can’t do that, you’re just a girl.’

Where did that come from?

It’s not a belief my parents have taught me. It’s certainly not a belief our church holds and I don’t believe that to be the voice of my Heavenly Father either.

But still, there it was.

And as I prayed over this and brought it before the Lord I realised that the enemy looks to keep the daughters of God prisoner to the beliefs that they can’t for fear of what they might do if they realise that they can!

But I feel the days of this lie being believed in the church are numbered and the spirit of God is moving to bring freedom to the Rapunzel’s in the church.

And like Rapunzel we already possess everything we need – in Christ – to step into freedom.

The truth is the church will only be able to function to it’s full potential when woman as well as men step up into our Christ given freedom.

It’s time to stop listening to the lies and instead seek the Lords voice over our lives and to live fully in who He says we are.

I even think Hollywood has caught the wind of the Spirit over this issue and there are two movies in particular I want to highlight.

Now I’m not a fanatical Lord of the Rings fan but I do have an appreciation for these movies. There’s so much biblical truth sown into the story. But there is one particular character in the third instalment – The Return of the King – that stirs my heart every time I watch it.

Her name is Eowyn. She is part of the royal household in the Kingdom of Rohan. She longs to fight for her people and has the heart of a warrior but she submits to the duties placed upon her as a woman by the royal household to stay at home and care for her uncle the King.

But as the Kingdom of Rohan and her people are once again threatened she decides this time to disguise herself as a man, and ride into battle to fight for the freedom of her people.

Once on the battlefield the soldiers are confronted not only with the unsightly Orcs and other gruesome creatures, but also with the terrifying Witch King of Angmur riding the equally terrifying dragon like Nazgul creature.

And there is Eowyn, in the middle of it all. She begins bravely fighting but as the Witch King turns his attention to her King without thinking she leaps to his aid and bravely slices through the long snakelike neck of the Nazgul. The witch King is enraged and now turns his attention to Eowyn. As he moves towards her you can almost feel her fear. And he says to her menacingly ‘You fool, don’t you know that no man can kill me.’

In that moment Eowyn draws on all the courage she can muster and throws off her helmet allowing her long, flowing hair to come spilling out. She looks her enemy straight in the eye and says ‘ I…. am…. no…. man’ before she plunges her sword deep into her adversary and he is destroyed.

Eowyn’s destiny was to kill the Witch King. There was no man who could do it. It was what SHE was created to do. It was why she had spent years longing to fight, years feeling like she didn’t fit in and years secretly training herself in swordsmanship.

What is the destiny over your life that God has for no-one else but you? Do you sometimes feel like you don’t fit in? Maybe God has created you uniquely to be the answer to a problem that no-one else even realises exists.

A second movie I’ve come to love is Frozen!

Who is the true heroin in Frozen?

For many of the little girls that want to dress up as their favourite character it’s Elsa. She’s the beautiful princess with magical, supernatural powers. But the problem is Elsa doesn’t know how to use the gift she’s been given and instead of learning how to harness her power and use it for good she allows fear to overwhelm her. She locks herself away cutting herself off from all contact with people for fear of what she might do.

I cannot help but wonder how many women are aware of the gifts that God has given them, but instead of displaying them for all to see and giving themselves to the process of growing and learning to steward their gifts, they hide them away for fear of what people might think. For fear of making a mistake, or looking foolish or the world not accepting the unique thing that God wants to do in them.

For me the true heroin of Frozen is Anna. She loves her sister and cannot understand why she is hiding herself away from her. She wants to help. And when Elsa runs away she bravely embarks on a quest to rescue her, even putting her life in danger for the sake of her sister. In the end Anna shows Elsa that love is the key to harnessing the power she has been given.

As I reflected on the stories of these women, there is a common theme. It is love that releases them into the destiny over their lives. For Rapunzel it was the love of her Prince, for Eowyn the love of her King and for Elsa the love of her sister.

For us it is the love of our Heavenly Father.

God has created and designed you with a purpose in mind. I am realising that He has put everything we need within us and he offers us the power of His love and His holy spirit to ignite our gifts and guide us into the fullness of our destiny.

In Acts 2:17 it says ‘In the last days I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters…..’ (emphasis added)

I feel the Spirit of God wants to stir us as his daughters to help and encourage each other to continue to press into the fullness of all that God has for us. To move out of whatever mind-sets have kept us captive and into the freedom, purposes and destiny of God.

We are no longer to live as ‘damsels in distress’ but rather God is calling us to “Arise” (Isaiah 60:1). And to play our rightful, necessary part in welcoming the Kingdom of God in a world that desperately needs it.

By Hannah Shewan

Hannah currently attends the Kingswells Site at City Church Aberdeen. She works as a Physician Associate at ARI. Her hobbies include outdoor adventures especially cliff jumping and hill walking. She also loves curling up with a good book on a rainy day. She is passionate about pursuing the presence of God and freedom in Christ!














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