If you are a Christian, chances are you have read Proverbs 31. If you are a wife, or a mother, or a woman desiring or engaged to be married, chances are you have read this and thought, "How on earth...?"
I know I have often thought that this is a ridiculously high standard to be upheld. This woman is perfect. This woman does it all. This woman never sleeps. She makes everything by hand. She's a wife, a mother, an entrepreneur.
She is not real.
She is a standard of measurement, and not even for women. It is believed that Proverbs 31 was written as advice, from a mother to her son, who would grow to be king. He is named at the beginning of Proverbs 31 as King Lemuel, but some have speculated that it is actually advice from Bathsheba to her son Solomon.
When you look at this from the perspective of motherly advice, how much more sense does this make? Of course we have ridiculously high standards for our children. Of course we want absolute perfection for them. Also, we know that seeking those high standards has a natural way of weeding out that which is not good for them.
Reading over Proverbs 31 this weekend, I gained a new perspective, and a new appreciation for its importance, and I felt as though I was seeing it with fresh eyes. This woman we try to emulate (or not, due to fear of inevitable failure), was not only (very likely) designed to advise a future king in choosing wisely, but she has servants. (v 15) When I think about how much I could get done, how many patterns I could write, how many chores I could get done daily, how much more quickly I could grow my work-from-home business, if I had hired help...well, the answer is a lot. This is a well off woman clothed in fine linen and purple (v 22), with a respected city leader for her husband (v 23), and servants to help her each day.
Does this discredit who she is? Does this make her any less worthy of striving toward? No. Because we learn, at the end of the chapter, the most important thing.
Her virtue determines her value; not the ongoing list of her daily chores, not her business transactions, not her fine linens. In fact, later on (v 25) we no longer hear of her fine linens, and instead see that she is clothed with strength and dignity. This is a woman who fears the Lord. This is a woman who does all things for the glory of God. This is a woman who serves her husband, her children, and her community by loving God. As such, then this is a woman who took the commandments seriously.
Moms, even God and even...even the Proverbs 31 woman rested on the 7th day. Let that sink in. By all means, strive for those high standards. But remember, we will all serve in different ways. The Lord has given us each different skills and talents with which to serve. He has also given us a day of rest that we so often refuse to take. Take it. And thank and praise Him for it. It's not about the hustle. It's about the heart.
As a wife, mom of 4, and business owner, finding time to spend in the Word, can be difficult, so I get it! Come join me each Monday for a simple message of hope, faith, and encouragement amidst some honest mommy moments.
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