Sometimes I have been a true Peter Pan. I have wished to live forever in a world of fairies and fanciful tales and best of all—to remain a child forever. Even as a child I loved daydreams and was forever punished when I was caught gazing into space. Yet when it is time to become an adult, one must. I wrote the core of this essay close to a year ago. It was one of my own first deep intellectual engagements with the topic. I thought it appropriate to post it this Valentine’s Day.
What does it mean to face the whole reality of what it means to be a beautiful, available woman in the presence of eligible men primarily, but other men, otherwise? Often young women, like I once was, would have like to remain ignorant of the fact that she might have power over a man. There is an unexplainable, mysterious power of attraction that is either petrifying or all-consuming...or joyful exuberance. For in that power there is the terror of the battle between evil and good. In that moment, gone astray, when a woman realizes that a man is attracted to her, she can either revel in the power of it. She can absorb the energy of the moment to build up her confidence—a false confidence because it is based on a transient, unsustainable moment. Or she can glory in her Lord and cause that moment to represent eternity for her and exude an eternal confidence. Or she can do nothing.
Certainly, to be innocent, unaware of the effect we women can have over a man is to be preferred above knowledge of the power and wielding it for personal enslavement, and abuse and commodification of the other. However, to enter into the full understanding of the power one channels by the hand of the Lord is much preferred. For when one comes into the full understanding of their authority and power, then appropriates it to her creator, she truly becomes and unstoppable force of attraction and beauty, unto the glory of God. One can accomplish so much more under the full confidence of this power. For, one images God under the full confidence of this power.
Why reveling in the moment is a false confidence?
A woman must give that moment to God, as she must give every moment to God, for she can either ground her existence in the eternal security of the infinite attraction God has for his beloved or she can use that moment to grovel for the moment of elation that comes with being affirmed in the moment of attraction. How she receives that moment is everything to her identity. That moment can represent to her the amazing embodiment of God’s attraction for his beloved, and she can glory in her Lord and Savior. This grounds her in an eternal identity. Or that moment can by itself be the ground of her existence. It can be the minuscule moment that her value rests upon and she will sell the piece of eternity she holds to that moment. Certainly, if she sells herself, she may have many more moments—moments that fill her empty identity for a while. But as things generally go, those moments will never be enough. Even a 1000 don’t compare to eternity. The moments are offered by fallen men in a fallen world. Their promise will never be entirely fulfilled, even if it is until death do us part. Death disrupts the eternal attraction.
Why we must embrace the moment as a reflection of Christ himself, for the sake of the other, for the sake of the eternal kingdom. For even as God wooed Israel, even as he pursued them and gave them his gifts of provision and blessing. He longed for them. He loved them with all his passion.
Likewise, in the moment of seeming irrational attraction, the finite man bares his soul. He images God in his attraction to beauty of the other and the pleasure he receives from glorying in his beloved. A woman can sell this cheaply by taking advantage of the moment. She can get him to do as she wishes, without appreciation for him. She can collect favors for herself. She can heap upon herself the transient glory of the moment. Or she can image the bride of Christ in all respect and honor, accepting his attraction as gift, accepting the work from his hand in that moment of otherness, returning to him respect and praise, not asking him to sell his dignity in this moment of powerlessness. She is but finite. He is finite. But they together reflect the infinite in this moment. This moment is not a frivolous moment. Eternity is made manifest in this moment. Heaven and hell hang upon this pregnant moment.