“Run!” the voices tell me. “Don’t think about anything else. Just get away. This isn’t safe.”
So, I run. Over hills, through forests, across rivers. I trip over rocks but I keep going, unsure of my destination. I don’t care where I end up as long as it is away from here. All that matters i protecting myself. I ignore the tree branches that slap me, the rocks that cut my feet. I don’t think about the cold or exhaustion or hunger until I am far enough away. I stop to catch my breath and listen for sounds of pursuit. He is still there, searching for me, calling my name.
I cannot go back with Him. I don’t belong. I am not the beautiful princess everyone thinks I am. I am a dirty warrior, covered in mud, sweat, blood, and tears. My hands are not soft; they wield a sword. My eyes lost their innocent look long ago; they have seen too many dragons and battles. My feet do not wear slippers or heels; they are rough, calloused, and dirty. A perfect representation of my life. A life spent battling dragons. And yet, a girl is not supposed to wield a sword or fight dragons. But, when there is no Prince Charming and the castle is under attack, what else can I do but learn to defend and protect myself?
I know why He is pursuing me, but I can’t do it. I’ve already told Him so. I can’t face this dragon; I don’t have the strength for this battle. I can’t win. Why can’t He leave this one alone? Just let the dragon win. Is it really worth the fight?
I place my hands on His chest and push away as hard as I can, yet I am still in His grasp. He won’t let go. I scream and kick and cry; He calmly holds me close. I beg and plead for Him to just let this be; let the dragon win. Just this once; don’t make me fight this battle. He pulls me closer and says He can’t do that.
“Why not?” I ask through my tears.
“Because I love you too much to let you keep living this way,” He replies.
“You love me?” I ask, not quite believing it.
“More than you realize,” He says.
“I can’t fight this dragon. I can’t. I’m not strong enough to defeat it.”
“I know. But, you aren’t facing it alone.”
“No. I will be with you. And you will have others from among my soldiers fighting with you. You are not alone. I will be your strength and protection. His flames may sting and burn, but they will not consume you. You will not come away unscathed, but he will be defeated.”
“But, I’m weak and still recovering from recent battles.”
“Draw your strength from Me. Eat of the Bread of Life, and drink of the Living Water I offer. I will give you rest.”
I am beyond exhausted; I am weary. I am tired, the deep inside kind of tired. Tired of running, of fighting dragons, of defending my castle. I long for someone, anyone, to take up the fight. I honestly believe that the first man who comes along and defends and protects me would have my heart forever.
I tell Him of my weariness, tiredness, and longing. He gently picks me up and cradles me in His arms. He tells me I am safe and invites me to sleep in peace. I close my eyes and lay my head on His shoulder.