I remember reading this proverb for the first time and thinking, “That is not me.“
Let me introduce you to the Proverbs 31 lady: She is someone who is always on the go. She’s innovative, good with numbers. She’s got a good home. She’s not afraid of what the future has in store for her. She is never found doing nothing. She’s strong, mentally and physically. She’s also a business lady.
I’m not insanely inventive, and I suck at math. I’m no business woman. I’m a fair cook, and I’d love to get better, but I’m no chef. I’m not a busybody. I’m almost always anxious; the thought of the future fills me with fear & dread. I don’t have my own home. My arms aren’t that strong, though I’d like to believe that I exercise my mind quite a bit.
Now, I know I’m not selling the prettiest picture of myself, and even though I feel led to write this, I’m super embarrassed about the image I’m portraying. As I write this, I’m finding myself thinking things like, “Is this enough? I do my best to better myself, but is my effort enough?”
But the Proverbs 31 lady is also the following: She’s trustworthy, she’s eager, and hospitable. She’s humble, creative, helpful, welcoming, wise, and kind. She loves the Lord. She is all that 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says.
4″ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.”
When I was a teenager, early in my faith, I’d read articles on the Proverbs 31 woman. The messages I got from these articles were hurtful, and put doubt in my heart. Which is really sad, considering I was reading with the voice of supposedly godly women who are supposed to uplift and encourage young women. The message I received upon reading them were “If you’re not a perfect mirroring image of this woman, you are not worthy enough to be called a child of God.”
But this woman is more than the simple mold of a Proverbs 31 girl- she is, in fact, a child of God.
I strive to be better than I am, and I believe that I am worthy to be called a child of God. It’s the gift that was gracefully given to me (and to you), when the price of death was paid on the cross where Jesus died. Though Proverbs 31 is a stencil on how a wise woman can be, I think it’s also a calling to be different in areas (e.g: just because you can’t sew, doesn’t mean you’re excluded from the kingdom of God).