Oh, the Proverbs 31 woman…the model woman! Ultimate goals, right? She’s long been held as the standard of a Godly woman: the perfect wife, she wakes up early, makes a full breakfast, cleans the house before anyone’s awake, irons her husbands shirts, sends the kids off to school with a three-course lunch, goes to work at her high-stress job (of which she is the CEO), CRUSHES IT, comes home before the school bus and manages to make a five-course dinner while helping the kids do their homework. She meets her husband at the door (in stilettos and a full face of make up, of course), puts the kids to bed, finishes up conference calls to finalize acquisitions, washes the dishes and has time to spend QT with her handsome husband. I’m sure she meal preps, maintains a wax/mani/pedi schedule and does kickboxing classes at the gym every couple of days, too. Easy breezy.
I’m being silly, but I do think that sometimes we look at this total bossbabe with our full-schedule, comparison-prone point-of-view and think to ourselves: how am I supposed to be that? I’m a single woman living in NYC, I don’t even have kids and I feel like I’m nowhere as productive as she is! But what I’ve learned reading through the book of Proverbs this month, is that this stunning, hard-working, brilliant Proverbs 31 woman isn’t some ruler by which to measure myself.
Being a Proverbs 31 woman isn’t about doing it all, but rather doing all things with wisdom.
For this last entry of The Proverbs Project, I’d like to highlight a few ways that this Proverbs 31 woman has applied wisdom to her life and how we can, too. You see, we’re all meant to be Proverbs 31 women—wise women, women who embody all that God has called us to in whichever stage of life we find ourselves in.
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.
House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the LORD. Proverbs 19:14
Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones. Proverbs 12:4
She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense. I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down. Then, as I looked and thought about it, I learned this lesson: A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber. Proverbs 24:30-34
She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.
A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies ends up in poverty. The trustworthy person will get a rich reward, but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble. Proverbs 28:19-20
She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.
The rich and poor have this in common: The Lord made them both. Proverbs 22:2
Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor. Proverbs 22:9
Don’t rob the poor just because you can, or exploit the needy in court. For the Lord is their defender. He will ruin anyone who ruins them. Proverbs 22:22-23
She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes. She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns. Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders. She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6
“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
She’s a woman of virtue and competence. She’s trustworthy and looks to enrich the lives of others. She’s a diligent worker. She cares for and serves others, she also leads others and makes a way for them. She’s someone who not only sees potential, but invests in bringing it to fruition. She’s lively and not afraid of doing the tough stuff. She’s wise about her finances—considering the best way to maximize them. She creates margin in her life to generously help those in need and to make sure that her family has what they need in the rough seasons. She cares for her home and for herself. She chooses well in a spouse—he’s wise and respectable; a leader. She’s strong and fully aware of her God-given dignity–she can enjoy her life with no fear because she know’s who he is and who she is in him. She’s kind and wise; she gives good advice thoroughly seasoned with love. She’s vigilant, watching over her home and those in it. She’s not a lazy mother, but raises her children with wisdom that they will enjoy the benefits of in the years to come.
Father, thank you for your word. Thank you for your wisdom. Thank you that you highlight this woman, not as an impossible standard, but as an example of what living a life rooted in Godly wisdom can look like. Thank you that you’ve called us all, irrespective of our marital status, financial status, ethnicity, race, etc., to be a Proverbs 31, real-life example of what walking with you looks like. Holy Spirit, I pray that you bring your word to life in our hearts and minds. That you would remind our hearts to lean on you and not on our own understanding. Help us to live so dependent on you, that like this Proverbs 31 woman, we can laugh without fear of the future. In Jesus’s name, amen.