Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31.30
How do you balance all that? This is one of the common questions for women that are deemed successful by the society. We wonder how a successful woman at the helm of an organization manages to juggle her various roles as a wife (if married), mother (if she has kids), how she runs an organization, runs her home, manages her side hustles (because most of these women do have these side hustles), participates in church activities, is a mentor to many, manages charitable activities and maintains a ‘perfect’ body, among so much more.
How can one individual handle all that?
Are we truly capable of doing it all? Do we give the impression we can do it all?
Women can do what men can do, and do it much better, that’s what we have been told. We have been empowered, and we know what we want. Women are quite aggressive in pursuing their goals and dreams. Nothing can put them down. We see the influencers of this day on social media. We marvel at how many hats they wear and we try to match up.
You probably know of the famous Proverbs 31 lady who seems to have it all together. She gives the rest of us so much pressure. Is she real? Is she for real?
There are always mixed feelings about this woman. Some believe that she is only applicable to married women and so ignore her virtues. Others, like myself, feel that her standards are too high to attain. Then there are those who reason that she is the godly woman that each woman should aspire to become and, therefore, work hard to be like.
Take a walk with me as we peruse a few of this lady’s virtues.
She brings her husband good and not harm. And not for a short period. All the days of her life. I want to believe that I have brought some good to my husband’s life, though I have also brought a good measure of trouble (no kidding). Maybe it is a challenge for me, or even for many of us.
She selects wool and flax and works eagerly with her hands. Her hands, good people. I use my hands. On a laptop as I work. I guess the point is, do I work eagerly?
She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. Well, I do get up. Not while it is still night. I am not an early riser. A good woman should prepare for the day and try to ensure there is always food for the family by organizing market purchases. Also, the home assistants should be well taken care of.
She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. In this era of ‘ka-plot’, well, Kenyans are obsessed with obtaining land. The Proverbs 31 woman is business savvy, seeking to make profit. She’ll work hard and take opportunities as they come. If she’s married, she will take into consideration her husband’s input.
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. This is an able woman physically. There are tasks that may not be quite exciting for me but do I do my tasks with vigor? Sometimes I do, sometimes I do not.
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Wisdom. Such a treasure. It is required as we work in our respective businesses or places of employment, as we interact with each other or as we manage our homes. This woman is also hardworking.
I came across a blog ‘Are you a Proverbs 21 Woman?’ and the author compared the Proverbs 21 woman with the Proverbs 31 woman. It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home – Proverbs 21:9. It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife – Proverbs 21:19.
According to the author, the above woman complains, is argumentative, not fun to live with, feels stuck, does not communicate well and deals with conflict the wrong way.
I identify with Proverbs 21 woman a lot. Her characteristics are as a result of frustrations, pressure and unrealistic expectations (both internal and external). When I feel that I am failing and I am not getting the necessary support, it is easier for me to slip into the Proverbs 21 woman.
Women, let us stop beating ourselves up. We cannot be all that the world expects us to be. We should give ourselves credit for what we have achieved and what we continue to do. Listen less to naysayers. Do the best you can without killing yourself. We cannot do it all because we are not perfect.
The Proverbs 31 woman did not achieve all that is stated therein in one day. It could have been over different seasons. Do not let the world push you to feel guilty for not being an ‘all-rounded’ woman. What virtues can we pick and run with? Ask God to help you on that journey. If you identify yourself with the Proverbs 21 woman, as I do sometimes, turn to God who is able to transform us into better human beings.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. There are more attributes of this woman, I do not want to underestimate the rest of the verses in this chapter. I feel that what is key for us is to fear the Lord. This is what will bring us praise. We can do what the Proverbs 31 woman does but have no fear of the Lord in our hearts. Proverbs 1:7 says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
And this wisdom will enable us transform our lives and achieve attributes that are praiseworthy.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1