Monday, April 26, 2010

Becoming the Proverbial Woman

This morning I looked in my fridge for Miracle Whip. I love Miracle Whip. I tolerate mayo. My husband buys what I prefer. So I went looking and it's a little nuts in there because Mr T. tends to keep things in the grocery bags he buys them in. He also fills the freezer so I don't even see the REAL deal going on in there most times.

I HATE to the clean the refrigerator. I can wash dishes until the cows come home. I can do laundry every single day and pretty much do. I tend to be the one to clean the tub and walls (we have that crappy formica that I had really hoped to avoid when we bought a house, so this is no small feat) and I also clean the huge bathroom mirror, whereas Mr. T gets the floor and toilet, as he should. Men are usually the culprit there anyway. He vacuums and grocery shops and usually cooks (though this could be healthier) and we both change all the sheets (not easy either) and mop the stupid kitchen floor, which is only horrible because I have two short people living there who can't seem to see the messes they make even though the floor is off white. (Hope we get to change that one day.)

No, of all the things we have to do, the thing I despise is the refrigerator. I just hate pulling that darn thing apart to wash it out. I have yet to defrost the freezer to really scrub it.

This morning I thought to myself, "It's time to give this away."

If you have not met the woman from Proverbs 31, let me introduce you to her. She means well, but she has made life hard for many women - usually Christian since she is from the Bible after all - as they strive to be like her. But here's the thing. She's actually misunderstood.

Too many women are probably looking at her thinking, dang she does it all and I have to be superwoman too! But that woman does not say to do it all. Men may have said this and some women may have heard it from people who choose to ignore what this woman is doing. But you have to read the words that are here and not twist them.

Meet the wife from Proverbs 31:10-31:

10 c]">[c] A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.

14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.

16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

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

18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

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

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.

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

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

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

29 "Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

31 Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

She's cool, right? MY interpretation of her is:
  • Her husband trusts her.
  • She, in turn, does what she can to be of help to him - this includes not trashing him to others.
  • She works - no one said this was a traditional 9-to-5 job, ladies.
  • She goes outside of her borders if need be to get what she needs.
  • She's taking care of her family and even the people who work for her. (Note that she has others working for her. THIS is how you do it all, in case you didn't know.)
  • She's got her OWN money and she's wise about it.
  • She works hard and she's able to do a variety of things too.
  • She volunteers.
  • She prepare for the future.
  • She makes sure her own home has the best she can get for it. (And in doing so, she pretty much keeps things in priority, not neglecting home OR herself. Make a bed out of fine linens and you benefit as well as your husband, right? Right.)
  • Her husband is respected, most likely because she chose a quality man in the first place, but also because of her helping him in that way women do - gently guiding them, whispering our opinions but letting them have their pride about things. What's wrong with letting them have their pride, I say.
  • Being clothed with "strength and dignity" speaks volumes all by itself, and being able to laugh at the days to come indicates a certain amount of maturity and preparation and also the ability to not stress over small things.
  • She's wise.
  • She's diligent.
  • She's got her children's best interest at heart.
  • Above all, she keeps God first and in doing so, so many of these other things become easier to do.

Becoming the Proverbial Woman most likely requires some dying to self - dying to the need to get your way all the time or to be right about everything. If you are even a little bit of a man-hater - and plenty of us have some of that in use - dying to the need to rule him and make him do whatever we think he needs to do to make us feel good about ourselves. How about you take that job on yourself, huh? Go boost your own self-esteem and stop letting it all rest in his hands in the first place. The better you feel about yourself and the more willing you are to do whatever you need to to achieve this (everything has limits. Don't take this out of context.), the more he's going to love your confidence and the glow you get because you're happy. If he doesn't like that confidence, I'd question it.

My search for a VA for my business was work, but just thinking about having help doing the things I don't know how to do or don't like to do lifted my spirits so much. And made it easier to seriously talk to myself about getting someone to come clean my fridge at least once a month. It's good for my family and it keeps me from looking at the fridge with disdain. At some point I'll get a cook too to do maybe 2 meals a week because I also HATE cooking and I refuse to make myself like it. Why waste my time on things I hate? I could be doing other things and my family still reaps the benefits.

I am also more and more unapologetic about disliking the things I do. I know it's hard to imagine a mother NOT wanting to cook, but guess what? I'm not the only mother I know who is this way. So get over your traditional ideas, or at the very least, don't try to hold me to your standards. I won't stick. As I strive to be me more and more, and to let go of the things I never wanted to hold on to in the first place, I find myself unknowingly becoming this woman I do believe is the ideal - ideal, not necessarily what we SHOULD be, but it doesn't hurt to look at her and what she does and think, "What do I want for my family? What do I want for myself? How can I achieve these things?"

Now go do it. You'll be happier for it.


Anonymous said...

Good afternoon Monica,
I appreciated your blog and the way you broke down each verse of Proverbs 31:10-31. As you read this I am going thru a serious spiritual process, I'm a 33 year old woman with children who does not know what it means to be mature or much more a "proverbial woman" and there are days that I am so unsure of myself, however, I have abilities, gifts, intelligence and I don't exercise has been a prayer of mine for years and I became discouraged when the things that I desired to turn away from I was still doing! Today marks the day, I will be 34 in 26 days and I no longer choose to remain complacent. Please keep writing & I'll keep reading. Pray for me and with me, God Bless you!
**Immature Mom**

Monica said...

Wow, Anonymous! I really appreciate your sincere feedback. Love that!

First of all let me say that your struggle with doing things you don't want to do is quintessential humanity and Paul said the very same thing! Ever read Romans 7:15? I love that because it so confirms our humanity doesn't die necessarily because of our Christianity. Here's a link:

I think the very fact that you are searching and questioning and trying to call yourself to task is evidence of your maturity. Maybe you beat yourself up? Maybe you are actually striving for perfection and that's the unrealistic thing? I don't know if you read my post about turning 40, but it's interesting that you are having this issue at 33 because 34 is one of the ages where I turned one of my corners. Maybe you will too!

May I suggest you take a deep breath and focus on what you DO have going for you? You know, just so you know you have been doing something in this life! :-) Then, I am a big believer in the power of writing and so is God, it would seem, since the Bible tells us to write the vision to make it plain. (This that's a Proverb. I'm no good at remembering where things are in the Bible but I know what I hold on to.)

Write out those things you want to work on. Maybe even study them and make sure the issue is yours and not society telling you how you should be. Write out those gifts and be open to discovering more because you probably have some untapped talent even you aren't aware of. Other people are actually pretty good at unintentionally telling you what some of those gifts are, if you really listen.

For the gifts you do know about, I wonder why you aren't using them, or is there a chance you ARE using some in a way you didn't recognize? But shoot, girl. If you KNOW you can write, for instance, go do it! Even if it's just for you. You'll get brave enough to put it out to the word soon enough. I know for a fact that sometimes the fear of sharing our gifts with the world is the real issue.

I'm glad you're praying about it because God will answer those sincere prayers, though He may not do it in the way we expect so again, being open is really key.

And if you can't tell, one of my spiritual gifts is exhortation - encouraging people - and I LOVE LOVE LOVE to do it, so I encourage you to go easier on yourself and yet step it up! Get it out there! Go let the you God created come on out! You will be so much happier AND mature for it, and people around you will either love it (those are the keepers) or hate it (those are the people you say goodbye to).

Thank you SO much for commenting! :-)