We know that we are not supposed to look to the world to find our identity. We know that the world constantly puts impossible images into our minds, leading us to frustrating efforts to conform. But what do we do when the bible gives us the impossible image?
The Proverbs 31 woman:
- She does her husband only good as long as there is life within her.
- She shops for the materials for her work.
- She shops for the groceries.
- She rises while it’s still night to prepare her household for the day.
- She manages servants and delegates the chores.
- She’s prudent in accepting more responsibilities, not neglecting her current duties.
- She manages so well that with the time and strength she has left over, she gardens.
- She stays fit – spiritually, mentally, and physically.
- She assesses her work to see its value before God.
- She prays continually for her household, especially through times of trouble.
- She sews.
- She gives to the poor according to their need – body, mind, or spirit.
- She’s prepared her family for inclement weather by making them warm clothes.
- She decorates her house with homemade cushions, coverlets and tapestries.
- She wears nice clothes.
- She’s in sales – she makes garments and “leads others to buy them”.
- She delivers the garments she’s made.
- She’s happy about the future, knowing that her family is in readiness for it.
- She speaks in wisdom.
- She speaks in kindness.
- She’s isn’t idle.
- She doesn’t gossip.
- She is content.
- She doesn’t engage in self-pity.
- She reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord.
Seriously, God?? She’s described as virtuous, noble, capable, and excellent. These are not typically the words that come to our minds when we think of ourselves. If we are not guarding our hearts, the enemy will use these words to condemn us, to cause us to see an image that is acceptable to God but impossible for us to achieve. Impossible goals defeat us immediately and blind us to our potential to be all that God has called us to be.
The key to this woman’s success…is in the last attribute listed: She reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord. She recognizes and acknowledges that she is incapable of accomplishing anything without Him. He directs her steps. He leads her as she listens to Him. Everything she was able to do began with her worship. This is the foundation for our lives.*
True confidence in who we are can come from God alone. We long for it, ask for it, seek it. We say we believe that God loves us just as we are, but an honest look at our striving to “do” things reveals we don’t feel He is pleased with us. So we try to do more. We try in ourselves to be the perfect women (or men) yet we measure ourselves by what someone else is able to do. It never works.
“…when they measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding and behave unwisely.” 2 Corinthians 10:12
The bible IS where we are to go to learn what God has for us, and learn how to live a life that pleases Him. But all our efforts are wasted if we miss the most important thing we can do – worship Him. When we stand before Him, all those “good works” won’t matter if we didn’t know Him, if we didn’t spend time with Him.
What’s on your list of “to do’s” today? Or tomorrow? Or next week? Set the list aside, spend time with your Shepherd who promises to lead you into everything that you need to do. The things that don’t get crossed of the list at the end of the day? Give them to Him. If He plans for you to do those things, He will make a way for it to get done.
He’s already made you virtuous, noble, capable and excellent. Time in worship allows Him the opportunity to work these attributes out in your life where they will be visible to others.
*excerpt from “unCluttered: heart, home, work” © Kay Stinnett