This is not the first time I find myself writing about the Proverbs 31 woman. I suppose that I'm really intrigued by her. For years, I would read Proverbs 31 and I would feel the weight of this woman of God and all she did, and it did not bring me joy or comfort. It brought me fatigue and the feeling that I would never measure up.
But in more recent years, I have found myself being drawn back to this woman again and again, examining the text over and over, searching for the deeper meaning.
The Proverbs 31 Woman is Exhausting
This last time I revisited the passage, I was charged with doing the devotional at our annual Mother-Daughter Tea at our local church. When I was first asked to do a devotional on the last three verses of Proverbs 31, I have to admit that I was not super excited. Again, I have never found Proverbs 31 to be very inspiring at all. Frankly, she’s exhausting.
She selects wool, works with eager hands, provides food, buys fields, plants vineyards, works vigorously, feeds the poor and needy, makes her bed, and she is never idle. She is Superwoman. But here I was with the task of the Proverbs 31 devotional. So, I prayed and asked God to help me see the passage with fresh eyes. And I must say that I’ve never seen it quite the way I saw it during my studies for that devotional. So it is my prayer that this article helps you see it with fresh eyes, too.
Proverbs 31 is Not About You and Me (or Her)
Reading through the list of the Proverbs 31 woman certainly is exhausting, but a truer picture of a woman could not be painted any other way. While at first it may seem more draining than inspiring, we can certainly all identify with her in one way or another. Moms are notoriously the jack-of-all-trades for the family, and even more so when you throw in homeschooling.
But, if we look at this passage in the context of the entire Bible rather than a stand-alone passage, you will see one simple thing...this passage is not about the Proverbs 31 woman. It’s not about me, and it’s not about you.
It’s about God.
Let me explain. When we look through the passage, we see all the traits of the Proverbs 31 woman.
She is worth far more than rubies.
She is worthy.
We see that her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She is faithful.
We see that she brings him good and not harm.
She is good.
We see that she considers a field and buys it, planting vineyards.
She is wise.
She works vigorously.
She is powerful.
She opens her arms to the poor, extends her hands to the needy.
She is compassionate.
She clothes her family in scarlet.
She is attentive.
The Proverbs 31 Woman Reflects God
As I was studying this passage, it hit me why she is included in the Bible as a model for us. It’s not because she is busy all the time. It’s not because she’s Superwoman. It’s because she is a reflection of the character of God.
Though reflections are always at least slightly imperfect, when we look at this woman, we see the character of God shining brightly through her.
He is worthy. He is faithful. He is good. He is wise. God is powerful. God is attentive.
This is the beauty of the Proverbs 31 woman—she helps all those around her to know the character of God. Through the work of her hands and her heart, the attributes of God can be known by every person within her reach. This is where our beauty lies as well. It’s not in our hair and our nails, our smooth skin, or our figure. Our beauty lies in our reflection of the Creator. One of my favorite authors says,
“True beauty has staying power. It doesn’t terminate on its owner, but points others toward its origin.”Jen Wilkin
We are image-bearers of God. If we point others to Him, to His glory and goodness, well... there is nothing that compares to that beauty.
The Hope in Proverbs 31
Unfortunately, there is no seven-point blog post to tell you how to become a Proverbs 31 woman.
Sanctification is a process. But I think I can give you hope.
When you, unseen homeschool mama, go through the mundane routines of everyday life...washing dishes, teaching children, making the beds, feeding all the people, you are reflecting God’s character. You are demonstrating the attributes of God to everyone within your reach. And in that place, that unnoticed place, you will find the fullness of joy. Because that is what God created us to do and to be.
So, if you are like me and find the Proverbs 31 woman exhausting instead of inspiring,
- stop doing it for your family
- stop doing it for success
- stop doing it for physical beauty
Instead do all the things to be more Christ-like. Do all the things because there is rest in the fullness of joy we find in that place.
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