Reading Proverbs 31, about a wife of noble character, has had differing impressions on me through the years. Sometimes it just feels an impossible goal and I really can’t stand this lady. I feel shamed and wonder if there is even one thing in this amazing account I can do well. Hopefully the fact my family is fed and clothed at least counts for something, right?
Other times, I’ve read Proverbs 31 with pride. Maybe it’s a time things are going well, and everyone seems fairly happy. I think, yeah, that’s me! I am right on track.
But today I read it and feel I hopefully am understanding it as I should – as both a challenge and an encouragement. We as women are called to bring good things to our world, to those around us. We are called to live a life of intentionality and purpose. We can reach out to those hurting around us as we faithfully serve our direct family and friends.
It’s not a checklist, though, Proverbs 31, so we don’t have to feel shame that we never live up to this amazing description. It is a challenge to us to bring good things to those around us in every way we can. There is much to do, and we are called to serve well, generously, sacrificially, wherever we are in life, with whomever we are around. We can bless these people daily.
It’s pretty clear that we are not meant to be idle – vs. 27. Definitely we do rest and have space and time daily to meet with our Lord and to be ministered to by those that love us. But, there’s not room for wasting time and following meaningless pursuits. We can ask God to identify what those meaningless things are to each of us. God has purposes for every life and we have the ability to fulfill them when we prioritize our days as He leads us.
There is no room for pride. I know for many women, wives, moms, single women, pride is usually beat right out of us naturally through life. As hard as I pursue my “noble” goals, I can’t achieve them without God’s direct and ongoing involvement. We seem to all find that it is true – I am not enough. I will fail those I love. I will fail God. But really, it’s not an all bad realization. It keeps us far from pride, which truly is our worst enemy. And it keeps us really relying on God. There’s not a more blessed and powerful place to be than aware of all our weaknesses (and there seems to be no end to them… at least I’ve yet to find one) and asking to be entirely filled with the Holy Spirit to overflowing. We have no reason to be prideful and we find God accomplishes amazing things through a surrendered heart. There is no limit to how much He’ll use us as women, and all people, if we stay in this seemingly weak yet never more powerful place. Then we can truly read Proverbs 31 and say, yeah, with God, I can be that woman.