Wednesday, April 05, 2006

That Awful Woman(?)

I'm no fool. I know lots of women hate/abhor/distrust that Proverbs 31 gal. You know, the smug lady also known as The Virtuous Woman. I wish that for every scathing article about her I've read, a dollar would suddenly appear in my hand. I'd be rich. (Okay, okay... so I'd just have an extra $20.)

But personally, I don't understand where all that hatred is coming from. I mean, how can you hate any scriptures which give you permission to SHOP?:

"She selects wool and flax ...
She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar...
She considers a field and buys it...
She sees that her trading is profitable...
All of her family are clothed in scarlet...
She is clothed in fine linen and purple..."

You've gotta love those shopping verses, don't you? Especially that part about her bringing her food from afar--if that isn't permission to order new-to-you, exotic foods from other countries online, well, I don't know what is!

When it comes to this Proverbs 31 Woman, can't we lighten up? Can't we just use her example as something to aim at? (And no... not with a gun. Heh.). But instead, can't we take a verse like this one,

" She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks."

...and simply let it motivate us to get out of our funk (or out of the recliner) and have a better attitude about our work? Can we just let it inspire us to work-out, exercise, and become strong so that we're not always throwing-out our back?

And could we possibly let this next verse help us keep a sensitive, giving heart?:

"She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy."

Can we allow it to simply bring some balance, since we are bombarded on all sides by advertising telling us what we MUST have in 2006?

Can't this verse:

"... She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue."

... just serve as a reminder to be concerned about our words and to keep ourselves educated so we can, lovingly, instruct others?

And when it says:

"She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come."

...can we keep that one simple? Can it just be a verse which keeps us from 'letting ourselves go' as we get older? Can we allow those words to nudge us into caring for ourselves better so that we will age more gracefully and be better able to handle whatever our future holds?

I guess I just don't get it. In all the 27 years I've been married, I have never once felt threatened/condemned/stressed-out by the Proverbs 31 Woman. Okay, so she was Ideal, dare I even say pretty darn close to perfect? But today, in 2006 more than ever, we need some Ideal People. Yes, Jesus was and still is the best Ideal Person, but still, it doesn't hurt having a few Ideals as fleshed-out examples in today's world. Heaven knows we need as many as we can get.

I don't know about you, but I like being challenged.
I like a hard-hitting sermon, rather than a "just-keep-doing-what-you're-doing" one.
I want to be inspired to do and be something greater.
I don't want to be coddled and patted on the head and told, "Just relax. God blesses mediocrity, too."

And if you've read this far, I believe you want something higher to aim for, too.

Good for you. You are a Virtuous Woman (or a Virtuous Man) in-training. Keep up the good work. You may already be an inspiration to a whole lot of people, whether you've seen them watching you, or not.

Be sure to check out SarahLynn's post about the Proverbs 31 Woman in her bedroom. I was absolutely inspired by all her words and pictures!

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