Forever will I remember the first time I heard about the woman in Proverbs 31. Sitting in Bible study with a group of older women (not just in age, but in maturity) the leader, a woman in her 70′s, read the verse and asked my favorite question ever asked in a Bible study: “Who would like to slap the daylights out of this woman?”
Suddenly I felt better. And in my heart of hearts, I thought, “I DO.”
Raised with constant messages assaulting me from the checkout counter, the doctor’s office, and various other waiting rooms, the messages are all the same – women need to do this, this AND this, and even when we do, we still have more to do, and maybe then we’ll be good enough.
So when confronted with a Biblical version of “excellence” my deeply imbedded knee jerk reaction compares…and as we say in our house, “To compare is to despair.” I confess I do not measure up to her, or the world’s standard.
It’s been a decade, and now I simply don’t care – probably because I do not compare. :) I don’t care that I don’t “measure up” – and I know that I no longer have to. Not that I have stopped growing, but I have experienced enough of the Father’s love to realize that He accepts, loves, delights in, and is pleased with me just the way I am.
I know that John 14:23 says, “Those who love Me obey my teaching.” So yes, I am working on obedience. And I get it right sometimes. And sometimes I don’t. But that’s okay. And if my screw ups and apologies create judgment in other people and they have to be angry at me for a while to feel better about themselves, well, that says more about them than it says about me… and I don’t own their feelings any longer.
So I can now see Mrs. 31 as an opportunity verses a measuring stick. And that is huge for me. Hope you get to that point in your relationship with Him. It’s stellar.
Regardless of what you or I happen to think of Mrs. 31, I think it’s fair to announce to everyone a few things about the “gold standard girl” in the Bible… the Proverbs 31 Woman.
Meet her up close and personal here: http://classic.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=proverbs%2031&version=NASB
She’s an opportunity.
And she has servants.
And no, I’m not ascribing my dishwasher and washing machine to “servants” as some do. We have enough excess in this culture that their work isn’t as big a deal as it could be.
I mean, who else besides me has more dishes than people in the house?
Same with shirts. And underwear.
And pairs of black shoes… (I know, OUCH! Sorry about that one – and I’m guilty as charged as well…)
And the last time I checked, my dishes didn’t leap into the dishwasher by themselves.
Although some of the people in my house seem to think that they do on occasion. Thankfully not often.
Another thing, there is evidence that these many things Mrs. 31 did were done over time. So if you have three kids and a newborn and are struggling to get a shower and serve up something more creative than noodles with butter, well, have some grace for yourself and others.
Just to set the record straight, by the way, our Bible study leader was a mature Christian woman. She also recognized the struggle we have with aspiring to perfection and God’s standards. So she was having some fun with us – but then she made another point that hit home in a big way that day: The whole purpose of the Christian walk is to BE God’s Light to the world, by becoming so close to Him that we reflect His character to the world. In other words, they see Jesus in us. Because we love Him so much, His love in us spills over onto everyone around us.
Okay, so now that Proverbs girl doesn’t look so bad.
And I recognized my heart felt passion to whap her upside the head was sin…
Dare you today, if you are male, to concentrate on the verses about alcohol, listening to what God has to say to you. I know some of our readers are men, and as Kings in your castles, you can choose life or make choices that detract from your relationships. I’ve seen alcohol consumption destroy families and good men and women. It’s great the King’s mother warns of that here.
If you are female, I dare you to pick a favorite verse or two and chew on it over the weekend. Double dog dare you to subscribe to this blog above at the “email subscribe” button! Trust me, there’s enough here to choose from. As for me, I picked Proverbs 31:25 “She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
God, make it be so in my life ALL the time. Fill me with Your Spirit, and keep me out of the way. Amen.
Thankful to be on the journey with you!