Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Getting to Know the Real Proverbs 31 Woman

For years, I held an unrealistic view of the model Christian woman. I grew up believing the ideal godly woman was an over-worked, exhausted wife and mother, whose kids were perfect, home was spotless, and who consistently maintained a selfless, subservient, and sacrificial attitude, — regardless of her circumstances or state-of-mind. Traits that, at the time, I thought were essential for any devoted, Bible-believing, woman of God. Attributes I tried tirelessly — without success I might add — to model for years.

The popularity of Margaret Atwood’s novel and TV series, A Handmaid’s Tale, further exposes the distorted view of Christian women some in our society have adopted. In light of the array of biblical misrepresentations in our culture today, it’s imperative we cast out these misunderstandings and celebrate the truth clearly represented in the Bible.

“A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman—who is he who can find her?  She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.” Proverbs 31:10 (AMP)

After more than 20 years of striving to live up to my aggrandized view of Proverbs 31:10-31, I finally unearthed the truth. The real woman described in this passage, is a God-fearing, dedicated, and independent woman. She bravely dives into leadership roles and takes on challenging positions with courage and confidence. When I finally discovered the true attributes of this bold and driven woman, she won my heart and inspired my future. Granted, it’s impossible for any woman to live up to the full description of the Proverbs 31 woman, but I believe, this passage is meant to inspire us to be the unique, persistent, fearless women God created us to be. Therefore, let’s push past the boundaries our society sets, and those we set for ourselves, and embrace our God-given potential with God’s ever-present help (Psalm 46:1).

Take a look at the attributes described in Proverb 31 and take note of traits you sense God is calling you to appropriate into your life.

The woman of Proverbs 31 embraces her value (v10,28) and is:

  • Honest and trustworthy (v11)
  • An entrepreneur (vv13,14,16,24)
  • Wise and discerning (vv13,18,26,27)
  • Hardworking and Resourceful (vv13,19,24,27)
  • A loving provider (vv14,15,21,24)
  • Generous and kind (vv15,20,26)
  •  A supervisor (vv15,27)
  • Independent and successful (vv16,24)
  • Courageous and strong (vv17,21,25)
  • Well-spoken of (v23)
  • Confident and optimistic (v25)
  • Praised by others (v28,31)
  • Dedicated and godly (vv18,30)

Today, this passage inspires me to use the gifts, talents, and abilities God has given me to their full potential. Today, I continually sense God urging me to break out of my comfort zone in order to pursue His calling. And — today, I spend less time worrying about who and what I’m not — and more time striving to be all I can be.  

Now, when I think of this passage, I’m reminded of the women I’ve met each year in South Asia, women who are overcoming societal constraints and tackling economic challenges in order to advance in the leadership roles God has called them to pursue. Women I love dearly and admire greatly. And, — I think of the women we minister to locally, women pushing beyond their circumstances and their past to courageously embrace a changed life. Women like Jess, who after an abusive childhood, a life-long struggle with addiction, and 31 years in and out of jail, is courageously choosing to follow God and working diligently to provide for herself and her family.

Today, I view Proverbs 31 as a motivating passage, a list of qualities we as women are capable of achieving, not a condemning to-do list for us to measure ourselves by.

To me - being a Proverbs 31 woman is no longer about getting everything right, keeping the perfect house, being the perfect mother, or even having the perfect attitude all the time. After all, perfection is unattainable for anyone other than Christ. It’s about giving it all you’ve got, striving to keep a positive perspective, persevering when the task at hand is difficult, taking care of yourself and caring for the needs of others, and courageously embracing your God-given abilities in order to reach your God-given potential.

Let’s join together - mothers and all women - and allow Proverbs 31 to inspire us to be the fearless, dedicated, faithful, women of God, He is calling us to be. Will today be the day you put aside any hurt, shame, or self-condemnation and run with courage the race God has for you?

Copyright © 2018 Ann White, used with permission.

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