Every Christian woman knows what lies within the chapter of Proverbs 31 in the bible. I would dare say that most Christian women ignore it or avoid it like the plague. I was one of those Christian women. I would decide that I wanted to be a Proverbs 31 woman and I would begin reading it and quickly feel overwhelmed at all that I would never be.
But more recently I've felt more open to some change. I reflect back on my life and I can see places where I have had my own personal growth. Places where I finally said to God "Ok I see that this isn't how You want me to be so help me to be open to the changes." and He has been faithful to do that. *I* could not maintain lasting change on my own. I simply could not do it. But with God's strength I can. With a whisper I can be reminded to think before I speak rashly. Change isn't easy and I'm not always eager to improve myself because by and large it involves a few unpleasant things. First I have to admit that I have been wrong. If I need to change then what I've been doing up until this point is wrong. I hate being wrong. Don't we all? But fact is we are all wrong now and again and it's ok to admit that. Secondly I have to realize that I have been selfish and be willing to give up this small piece of selfishness to better myself. Does that sound counter-productive? The whole giving up selfishness to better my SELF? Well it sounds that way but ultimately I'm bettering the person I am relationally to others around me and while yes, becoming a better person certainly benefits me it's also benefiting those around me. When I am slow to anger it is a positive example to my children. When I stop and consider my words before speaking to or of my husband I can find a way to word things that won't cause an argument or negative feelings from others towards him. And no worries, I'm not perfect. There are still times when I say something and later regret it. There are still times that I yell at my children. But I'm trying. I really think that's the important part. The trying.
So Proverbs 31 is a chapter I have a very different opinion of now. I began a bible study on this chapter about 4 weeks ago. It is a very in depth study and I just never knew there was this much to find in this chapter. I think my favorite thing about this study is I'm doing it with other Godly women and we can all read the same small verse and come back with our own message from it. I LOVE that.
So far in Proverbs 31 this is what I have learned.
*She is something to strive to be but something that in our earthly humanness will never quite get to. That does not mean we should stop trying. It just means that we should not become discouraged in our human failures.
*This chapter was written by a mother to a son. It is about the kind of wife she wishes for him. I have sons and of course I only want the best for them in all areas. So of course this woman has the highest of standards. In the past I've always read this chapter as a judgement of one woman on all other women. I have previously felt taunted by the woman. But realizing that it's a mother's words to her son changed my entire perspective.
*She works eagerly - this one hit me hard. It has been so easy to get weighed down in the mundane day to day and whine about why does it always have to be this way. When I am like that *I* am not happy, my husband is not happy, my children are not happy, and nobody is happy to keep my company. I will be content and eager and even joyful in the roles God has called me to. I am after all doing what I always wanted to do when I grew up, how ridiculous for me to resent that in some way. How many people get to be as an adult what they've wanted to be since they were a young girl? For me that was a teacher and a mama. And here I am. Teaching and mama'ing my babies.
*She feeds her family. My husband was recently asked what his love language is by a good friend. His response was "Dinner" and he was dead serious. I have known for a LONG time now that the ONE thing I can do to tell my husband in actions that I love him is to have dinner in process or ready when he gets home from work. The few verses we've gone through already talks about her shopping for their food, preparing their food, feeding her family. It's one of our most basic needs. It has to be done. And it's something that I've viewed for too long as a necessary inconvenience to our days. Not so anymore. I am moving my family to fewer and fewer processed foods and baking more of our snacks and daily eats from scratch - which is both healthier and cheaper.
*Rises before the sun - yeah this just isn't happening here. But really when I read this verse what I saw was that she did two things - she prepared her day and she started her day with prayer. I can do both of those things without rising before the sun (or my sons who are up at 6:30am pretty much every day). I have gotten into the habit of preparing things the night before. Esp if we're leaving the house. Having our bags packed up, lunches made, clothes laid out has made our last few times that we had to get out the door first thing in the morning go MUCH better. Plus I got the sleep I needed to be a good mama to my babies. And really my kids wake up and watch tv. There's nothing that would hinder me from waking and spending 10 or 15 min starting my day in prayer in my bedroom before coming out to meet the day. So I don't really think this verse is meant to be about waking up super early. I think it's about preparing our day and starting our day with God.
*She does not rush into things. This is what we're learning this week. She considered a field - she took her time and thought about it. She saved up for it. Then she turned it into something productive for her family. When I first read this particular verse I was like "Um, I have no interest in buying a field. I can't even remember to water my tomato plants." But the other wonderful women I'm doing the study with saw so much more than a field and even my husband had a great take on this verse. The field could be considered a dream. A dream that would use our talent to enhance our family. I have a "field". But the Proverbs 31 woman considered her field first. She prayed about it, planned it out, saved up for it, and then she bought the field. This may not be the season of your life to buy a field. That's ok, continue to consider it, plan it out, save up for it and pray about it. When the time is right for your field God will let you know. This is not the season for my field and I'm ok with that. I will continue to consider it and pray about it and plan for it in the future.
KOJ's thoughts were that a field is something that we are investing our time, talents, and energy into and he considers our children my current field. And I do too. They will hopefully one day produce the fruit of all my tending. What a great perspective. I don't have to feel like a field-less woman any longer. lol
So I would encourage every woman to take another look at this intimidating chapter. Open your heart up to have a willingness to change and let God guide you through it.
When I began this study I was nervous. I was nervous that I would not be willing to change in all the ways that I knew God would call me to change. I prayed that God would help me to be open to the changes I knew this chapter would convict me to make and I have. I feel at a much deeper level of peace with myself and I hope my family has felt the positive impact as well. That is not to say it's been easy because it has not. But I want to be the best me I can be and I will continue to work towards that through the rest of this study and hopefully beyond.
Have a blessed Thursday everyone!