I don’t much like her (I must confess), that Virtuous Woman of Proverbs 31. You know, 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 taboo. Considered it sinful to sleep once the sun was up. Never gossiped or was unkind. And certainly never yelled at her kids!
Is it any wonder I don’t like her? And I know a good many women share my feelings! 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.
She’s a pain in the neck. That’s what she is! But I know I must come to terms with her. Because the Model Woman, thanks to Proverbs, is not going away. She’s there to torment us throughout time. Every time we read the Proverbs.
Who can find a worthy woman? For her price is far above rubies, (Proverbs 31:10).
If you’re like me, you read about her 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’ve concluded that God doesn’t want us to imitate others — not even this female paragon! (Otherwise, wouldn’t we succeed better at it?) Because we are each unique. And 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! I can add the same figures 10 times and come up with 10 different answers! I would bankrupt a business!
But then I started finding many 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, enthralled with the stories or fun activities she ready for them. I know women like this. Whose homes are so full of kids it’s hard to figure out which are theirs. And I admire their gift — but I’d go stark raving mad!
Nor did she learn languages to encourage foreigners.
Even though she must have met many at the markets and in her business dealings. But, I love inviting the immigrants in for a meal. Learning a few words in their language. And helping them in any way I can.
She didn’t seem to be like the Shunamite woman of 2 Kings 4:10 either.
Who made a special guest room for the prophet Elisha. In fact, we don’t even know if she had a guest room! But I know women who turn hospitality into an art form — and who go out of their way to serve others!
So what can we learn from disagreeable Model Woman?
To learn our strong points, but do everything with our whole heart, even the less enjoyable tasks. Like (for me) cooking and meal planning! My daughter grew up thinking 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.
It was necessary with our low budget and ever-hungry family! 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 viruous woman? So get out there today, and show the world what you can do!
Because that perfect woman? Well, she could be you or me. All it takes is giving our all — in our own way!