The other day I was scanning Facebook and saw an overly sexualized ad for an airline. An airline. I won’t write what it said as it would be completely inappropriate for this site and I’d turn ten shades of red just writing the words. But believe me, it was a completely inappropriate ad to sell airline flights.
A little further down on my Facebook feed, one of my friends posted a Scripture about The Proverbs 31 woman, and I got to thinking . . .
How can I be a Proverbs 31 woman when the culture is making us believe we live in a Victoria Secret world?
I have fought self-esteem issues my whole life. In my youth I wasn’t thin enough, pretty enough, good enough and nothing like the images that flash across the television set or the ones you see in a magazine.
As I’ve gotten older, those things don’t bother me as much, but I still fight self-esteem issues on a different level. I am not a “Pinterest-Worthy” mother, teacher, friend, etc. I want to be financially stable and I’m not. I want my business to succeed and it’s taking forever. My son can’t read fluently yet, so I am a failure as a homeschooling Mom. I don’t own a house yet, and I am guilty that my son doesn’t have a backyard to play in. And the list goes on and on.
Have you every been there? Sure, the things we are most concerned about may change from season to season, but the bottom line is always the same. . . feelings of inadequacy in a Victoria’s Secret world where everyone looks, acts, dresses, and is (on the surface) perfect.
Then there is the Proverbs 31 Woman.
Girls, that lady is something else. She is Wonder Woman. She is a Superstar. She is what Christian Women look up to as the epitome of womanhood, motherhood, sisterhood, wifehood, (is that a word? LOL) and rightfully so. She is the Boss Lady of all Boss Ladies.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret . . . it is HARD to be a Proverbs 31 woman; especially when the culture helps to make you feel so bad about yourself for not living up to their standard of beauty and excellence.
But the good news is, our Heavenly Father doesn’t expect or even want us to conform to the culture. The Bible says to not be transformed by the customs and behaviors of this world, but allow God to change the way we think by renewing our mind to the way HE thinks about us. Then we will know how God wants us to be - His perfect will for our lives - which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
In this series, we will learn how we can we be a Proverbs 31 in A Victoria’s Secret world.
1. The Proverbs 31 woman was Self-Disciplined.
Before the sun was up. Before the kids got up. Before her husband got up for the day, she was up before dawn preparing food for her family and servants. (Proverbs 31:15)
What do you do first thing in the morning? I usually hit the snooze button a few times and before I even get out of bed, I check my phone. Check if any texts came in, check emails, then head over to social media, and check that.
I am guilty. So, so so very guilty of allowing the culture to affect my mornings.
I want to develop a habit of waking up and getting in The Word. Instead of picking up the phone, there should be a hunger to pray for my day and pick up The Word. Then, while my son is still sleeping, prepare a wonderful day for him. That’s the goal.
2. The Proverbs 31 woman Spent Money Wisely.
The Bible says in Proverbs 31:16, that she “considers” a field before she buys it. In other words, she wasn’t an impulse shopper. I bet she didn't walk into her local Victoria Secret and buy a $70 bra that she didn’t need. She considered her purchase and how it would affect her family.
She considered whether or not her purchase would give her a return on her investment. When she finally decided it would, she purchased the field and planted a vineyard. SHE GOT TO WORK! She was the Master Boss Lady! Without fear of failure, this Wonder Woman got to work.
I’ve wanted to start this blog for months now but have been letting fear of failure get in the way. I’ve considered writing/blogging from all angles. The time, the money, the possible return on the investment. I’ve even purchased the domain name, designed my logo and set up my social media pages. BUT I’ve let fear stand in my way of actually getting the work done - getting the writing done.
Our Proverbs 31 Lady didn’t just consider the field, look at the field, look at everyone else’s field, admire the field, set up an Instagram for her field . . . She planted a vineyard that would feed her family and probably many others.
She planted regardless of whether the winds and rains would come. She planted whether or not the other townswomen thought she was crazy. She planted in spite of any criticism she may have received. She planted even though her neighbor's field may have looked nicer. She considered, purchased, and then planted. Lady Boss!
3. The Proverbs 31 woman Dressed the Part.
When she got ready for her day, our Wonder Woman didn’t go to her closet - spending thirty minutes . . . okay, forty-five minutes . . . trying on fifty different outfits! Can you hear her saying - “Does this make my butt look big? Do I look professional? I feel fat today. Did these jeans shrink in the wash? I am so swollen this morning. This color isn’t working for me today.” I cannot hear our Proverbs 31 Sister saying those things.
She didn’t plan her outfits, ladies. She didn’t go to Victoria’s Secret to buy the perfect undergarments for her perfect outfit that she got at Macy’s to go with the most amazing earrings she found at Target.
She girds herself with strength and strengthens her arms. (Proverbs 31:17). Ladies, we may be going through difficult and busy seasons in our lives that the perfect outfit may not be able to get us through. The perfect shirt and jeans may make us feel confident to take on the day, but answer honestly, are those perfect jeans going to help you handle serious life problems?
Friends, we must gird ourselves with strength. We must strengthen our arms to hold the pressures we are likely to face each day.
The perfect jeans aren’t going to help me when my son is struggling with reading. The strength of the Lord will. (Psalm 28:7)
The most flattering white t-shirt isn’t going to help when one of my actors (I run a local community theatre) asks for prayer because her child was just molested. The strength of the Lord will. (Psalm 27:1)
The flowy maxi skirt (love those things) isn’t going to help me minister to a family member who just lost her husband. The strength of my arms, to help shoulder the weight and burdens she is carrying, will help. (Philippines 4:13)
Please don’t get me wrong, we all love looking great in an awesome outfit. I love walking out my door and feeling that I can take on the world in my chiffon maxi skirt. I am not knocking great clothes. I may even write about fashion in the future, but if that is where all of our time and energy is spent, we have succumbed to the Victorias’ Secret culture instead of the Proverbs 31 model.
4. The Proverbs 31 woman is Generous.
“She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.” (Proverbs 31:20)
I was at a local World Market a few weeks ago and saw a photo album called SELFIES. It was an album dedicated to #selfies. The tagline read, “A photo album of me, myself and I.” It was a cute little gift. But it got me thinking about how we have become a culture of me, myself and I.
What can you do for me? What can you give me? Look at me. Like me. Heart me. Tag me. Comment on me. Thumbs up me. Retweet me. We are obsessed with ME!
The Proverbs 31 woman, she wasn’t obsessed with herself. She was generous to others. She gave. She reached out her hand to the needs of others.
How different our culture would become if instead of me, me, me . . . we started thinking we, we, we? Instead of always lifting ME up, we lifted someone less fortunate than us with no requirement for payback? We gave to simply give. (1 John 3:16)
In the first part of this series, let's start to make small changes to become less like the culture and more like God created us to be.
My dad is a preacher and he always taught us to do everything in balance.
* Let’s get up early to feed our families and spend time with The Lord before the rest of the house gets up - maybe even before the sun breaks apart the night sky. BALANCE - but make sure to rest and sleep in on a Saturday with lots of snuggles from your babies!
* Let’s be wise with our money. Let’s not fear a new business plan or a new savings habit. Let’s make sure to take care of our responsibilities first and foremost. BALANCE - but every once in a while treat yourselves to Starbucks, and buy a rockstar pair of earrings!
* Let’s clothe ourselves with the strength of The Lord. Let’s become spiritually strong so that we can take on the pressures of the day. BALANCE - but don’t feel guilty about finding the perfect outfit for an event. Take pride in your appearance. Clothe yourself in a way that represents Your Father. Walk tall in your heels with your head held high, but make sure your spirit is also soaring.