I don’t much like her (I must confess). That virtuous woman of Proverbs 31. She’s the one who does all things well and never does wrong. I’m sure she coined the term busy as a bee, and made coffee breaks and take-out pizza tabu. Considered it sinful to sleep once the sun was up. Never gossiped or was unkind. And certainly never yelled at her kids!
She was always working, never idle. Whereas me? I love a coffee break, and adore take-out pizza! Or a couple idle hours reading or watching a film. Or swinging in the garden. And I wonder if my kids ever thought that yelling was the only volume I had.
Is it any wonder I don’t like her? And I know a good many women share my feelings! But it’s best we come to terms with her. Because that Model Woman won’t be going away, thanks to the book of Proverbs.
If you’re like me you read and think: I’m going to become a better cook and housekeeper! Why, I’ll even learn to crochet! I’ll guard my tongue more carefully. And find more ways to help the poor. I’ll become such a model wife and mother my family will scarcely recognize me! But I always fall short of my high and lofty goals! We still get take-out pizza. And as far as crocheting — don’t even bother searching for any hooks in my house!
So I finally came to the conclusion that God doesn’t want us to imitate others — not even this female paragon!
Because each of is unique. And while there is much we can learn from her example, if God wanted us to become just like her, wouldn’t we succeed better at it?
I think her secret was that she knew her own strengths and weaknesses. She was great at household tasks. And also at business and managing money. But not me! While friends often wonder how I keep such a tidy home, I can easily add the same amounts 10 times and come up with 10 different sums! I would bankrupt a business!
And then I started seeing things the Proverbs 31 woman didn’t seem to do.
We don’t see her babysitting for friends.
The neighborhood children didn’t seem to gather around for stories or fun activities. I know women whose homes are so full of enthralled and enthusiastic kids that it’s hard to figure out which are theirs. And I admire their gift — but I’d go stark raving mad!
She didn’t seem to be like the hospitable Shunamite woman from 2 Kings either.
Who made a special guest room for the prophet Elisha. In fact, we don’t even know if the Model Woman had a guest room! Yet I know women who turn hospitality into an art form — and who go out of their way to make people feel at home, which is something I do love to do too!
So what has this difficult model woman taught me?
To learn which are my strong points, and concentrate more on those. While also doing the best job I can at everything I must do. Even the less enjoyable tasks, like cooking and meal planning!
In fact, my daughter encouraged me on this one day, when she told me that she grew up thinking that I loved to cook. Me?? Love to cook? “But you were always cooking, and pouring over recipe books and meal plans!” she said. And it’s true.
With our low budget and ever-hungry family I had to! And I am a good cook, but I certainly don’t love cooking! I just tried to do the best I could. (In between coffee breaks and take-out pizza, that is!)
And isn’t doing our best really what makes a worthy woman? One who tries to do right, cares about others. One who works at improving and does the best she can in everything. And who, though mediocre in many things, truly excels at some. So get out there today, and show the world what you can do!
Because that virtuous woman? Well, she could be you or me. All it takes is giving our all — in our own way!
Who can find a worthy woman? For her price is far above rubies, (Proverbs 31:10).