When you’re already feeling overwhelmed, the last thing you need is a list to prove how much you’re failing. Reading Proverbs 31 can feel just like that—a list of ways you’re failing to be a good Christian woman. Don’t let the description scare you.
You have to get past the list and see what the woman really does. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find!
Discovering the themes of Proverbs 31
Remember, Proverbs 31 wasn’t written for women. No matter what wonderful ministry uses it as a platform for encouraging women, what we read was originally taught by a mother to her son, the future king. She wanted her son to choose his future wife carefully, to understand what it means to encourage and support his wife and to live in a way that encourages both of them to pursue God’s purposes.
The wise woman of Proverbs 31, the future daughter-in-law, shows you just how creative God is. She’s a person everyone can connect with in one way or another.
Weaver, importer, cook, boss, property manager, vineyard owner, merchant, philanthropist, seamstress, teacher, wife, mother…
Don’t let the description scare you. When you look past the actual jobs, you find four very important things the wise women does. She cares for her family, uses her gifts wisely, helps and teaches others, and cares for herself.
Caring for your family
The love Lemuel’s mother has for her son shows through in the way she describes her future daughter-in-law’s love for family. The Proverbs 31 woman clearly loves her family. It’s not the only thing she does, but their needs are a priority.
You’re already doing this too. You plan, prepare, provide, and sacrifice just like her. Maybe you’ve forgotten how important you are because it feels insignificant when you’re making meals or washing laundry. Generally speaking, no one wins awards for clean underwear. Showing up and doing the little things each day is what makes your family run. Without you and what you do, life would feel out of balance.
Using your gifts
Sure, you might not be looking for land to start a vineyard or importing products, but that doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong track.
The Proverbs 31 woman is an example of someone using her gifts wisely. She understood who she was and then found ways to be successful, while not neglecting her role as a wife and mother. Her work isn’t separated from her family life. She does both and you can too.
What are you great at? For a long time, I thought greatness was related to income. Don’t make the same mistake. God’s given you gifts and a purpose. Maybe your gifts will connect with a job, but maybe not. Don’t ignore your passions just because they don’t line up with a job title.
The Proverbs 31 woman is living out her purpose because she knows who she is and has the support of her husband. Instead of holding her back, he’s cheering her on.
Helping and teaching others
Considering she’s speaking about her future daughter-in-law, King Lemuel’s mother is a good example of helping and teaching others. Through this story, not only is she directing her son, but she left encouragement for us too. Imagine being this woman’s daughter-in-law. She’s teaching her son how to encourage you and speaks so highly of a woman she has yet to meet. Obviously, she’s cheering her daughter-in-law on too.
To both her son and his future wife, this mother leaves a message of responsibility to be aware of the needs around them. She wasn’t concerned solely with her family or with success. Instead, she wanted to reach the people around her, to help them as well. Whether it was meeting needs or simply encouraging, the Proverbs 31 woman understand the importance of using her gifts and abilities to care for others.
We have so many gifts and blessings in our life. Wouldn’t be sad to waste them solely on ourselves? Especially when there’s another woman out there praying for someone like you to come into her life.
Taking care of yourself
As you breeze through the list and try to tackle its real meaning, it’s easy to miss this last part. Even though she was caring for her family, engaged in meaningful work, and meeting the needs of people around her, the Proverbs 31 woman still took care of herself.
If you want to do great things, you need to be your best self. And that means taking care of yourself. There’s a difference between being selfish and self-care. Give yourself a break and stop worrying about someone else thinks about it. If you need a nap—take it. Maybe an afternoon by yourself helps you reset. Whatever it is, give yourself permission to rest and recharge.
Don’t let the description scare you
There is no perfect wife and mama. You aren’t expected to do everything or be like anyone else, not even the woman in Proverbs 31. What you can do, is care for your family, use your gifts, help others, and take care of yourself.
Don’t let the description scare you. Allow Proverbs 31 to show you the importance of what you do and who it impacts.
Be Realistic. Discover the possibilities of Proverbs 31.
Enjoy the full Realistic series
Handle Yourself with Care, Pause before Reading Proverbs 31
Proverbs 31: Don’t Let the Description Scare You
Embodying the Essence of Proverbs 31
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