A NOBLE CALLING
No matter what you believe about this woman, we all love her…and hate her. We all aspire to be her and we all wish she didn’t exist. She either motivates us or makes us want to have a little girl tantrum complete with slamming doors and sulking under the covers. She either inspires or exhausts. And, frankly, I think we can all admit to feeling both of these polar opposites towards her.
Some say she didn’t exist; others say that it is an acrostic poem about wisdom personified and still others say that these lines about her were written for the benefit of men and not women.
I have read a few articles and they had some real food for thought but despite what they all say, how is it that millions of women over time have misinterpreted this passage? Why do we all secretly wish to actually be like this woman, even if it’s just a poem or a personification of wisdom? It’s because something about this woman stirs what I believe is a God-given desire deep in each of us. I don’t believe that this is necessarily a bad thing. We all want to be praised by others. We all want to be seen as hard-working and productive. We all want to fear the Lord. Sure, if you beat yourself up for not meeting each “requirement” and you make this a personal checklist, I think that’s wrong and probably a misinterpretation of the text. That said, I think there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be productive, noble, wise and hard-working!
So what if we actually aspired to be a woman like this controversial Proverbs 31 woman? Would we fail miserably and be completely exhausted because we are idolising something God didn’t intend us to idolise? Or would we and those around us receive some benefit from our striving to be better women?
Well, I’m about to find out! I recently read a book called My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife by Sara Horn and, although I think she may have taken things a little literally (like she tried to take up sewing because that’s what she read in Proverbs 31), I did find the read amusing and thought-provoking.
She ends her book with a 10 day challenge. I’ve decided to make it go over a few weeks…because, let’s not kid ourselves, what if we hit the end of the day having not achieved the goal for the day? We’ll feel like failures. And if we did achieve it? Then we’d move on to the next challenge and probably wouldn’t carry on implementing the “completed” one. This is not about a let’s-see-how-much-we-can-check-off list. This is about a life change. And 10 weeks isn’t even long enough. If we really and truly want to be different, it needs to be for life.
To be honest, I feel really stupid for starting this experiment now. I have a baby arriving before this experiment will end. But, life will happen. I can’t wait for things to be “normal” again because there is no normal. And every day needs to be lived to God’s glory regardless of how tired I am or how energetic I feel. Every day, He is with me and gives me the strength I need to make it through the tasks and demands of the day. So I am trusting that He will help me.
But guys, this is not only for me! I challenge all of you to try this along with me and record your “results” (now it really sounds like a test)! This is not about a comparison! But I have a feeling that this challenge will not only produce some interesting results and findings, but I think it will also surprise us and humble us. So be prepared to be challenged in more ways than you may expect!
A few things need to be said first. After reading a few articles, here are some gems that I took from them that I believe we all need to remember throughout.
- This is not only for married women who have children! According to the article, The Proverbs 31 Woman Explained! (She’s Not Who You Think!), the author states that over half of the verses refer to what a woman does in and out the house while only four reference her being a wife and a mother. Ruth was commended for being a woman of noble character by Boaz when she was a poor, childless widow. You don’t need to be a wife or mom to be of “noble character”, to “fear the Lord” or to “buy something out of your own earnings”. The qualities she displays apply to every female on the planet. So, if you’re a female, you qualify!
- We cannot make this a list of rules to abide by! It is near impossible to be this woman all the time! The author of You Can Be the Proverbs 31 Woman – It’s Easier than You Think! says that her Bible scholar of a husband believes that it’s clear that these qualities and accomplishments span the life of this woman and don’t all happen at once! Women are pretty amazing at multi-tasking but this is next level. She’s saying that some things were seasonal. She didn’t have all this going on at once! So take the pressure off! What we are striving towards is becoming more godly women based on the values we find in Proverbs 31. We are not trying to be Superwoman! (Pep talk to myself as much as to you here!)
Just in the last week, I’ve been challenged in my outlook towards this experiment. Am I doing it to look like I have a handle on my life? Or am I doing it to please the Lord? I fear it was for the former. But, may this challenge bring me closer to the Lord and less attached to my high standards and to what I perceive others to think about me.
I love this quote from Proverbs 31 Ministries,
“To fear the Lord is to feel the weight of His holiness as you love and obey Him. Think of the fear a child has of disappointing her parent — not because she’s scared of getting punished, but because she doesn’t want to displease someone she loves and respects. This is what will characterize us as a “Proverbs 31 Woman”: our fear of the Lord. Our genuine desire, from the core of who we are, to please Him.”
So, are you ready???
Each week, I’ll post the challenge. I will be tailoring the challenges slightly and adding to them from a book that I’ve read more than once, possibly more than twice (which is really saying something!) and it has also been an invaluable resource in shaping my life – God’s Wisdom For A Woman’s Life: Timeless Principles for Your Every Need by Elizabeth George. Keep an eye daily on my Facebook page and Instagram for the challenges and updates (see details below).
My Recommendations Over the Weekend
a. Pray – We need to approach this experiment with humility. Otherwise, we will be humbled! I also suspect that we need to be careful against spiritual attack. I am pretty sure we will be tested. There will be days when things will be shocking, we’ll achieve nothing and we may even feel like having a tantrum (that’s one thing I’ve already checked off my list for this week!) We need to be praying that we will earnestly seek to fear the Lord and become the woman He wants us to be, not the one we wish to be.
b. Read Proverbs 31 – Make notes of things that convict you and stick out to you. Write down things that are real problems for you and jot down what things inspire you or things you aspire to be.
c. Read the following articles – I found these two articles really useful. One on traits of a godly woman and the other on singleness and Proverbs 31.
Then get ready for Monday, guys!!!
(If you have Instagram, follow me @wearingallmyhats. If you are on Facebook, like my Facebook page Wearing All My Hats. Follow my updates there and on my blog. And, if you’ve decided to join the experiment, tag your pictures on Instagram with #experiment31 or comment on the blog or on Facebook. I am SO curious to see how this goes for you too!)
NOTE: THIS IS NOT ABOUT ONLY POSTING WHEN YOU GET IT RIGHT! WE ARE NOT PERFECT INDIVIDUALS. THERE WILL BE BAD DAYS AND GOOD DAYS. THE AIM IS TO BE REAL.Tags: #experiment31, chores, doing it all, homemaking, housework, married, mother, motherhood, multi-tasking, Proverbs 31, single, superhero, superwoman, wife, woman, women
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