Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On Being Womanly

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about being/wanting the Proverbs 31 woman rather than a Victoria's Secret model. The VS Fashion Show aired a couple of weeks ago, and all over facebook and twitter were girls saying they needed to hit the gym, go on a diet, and a number of other things leading to the same conclusion-we aren't good enough. There are a lot of times when I feel less womanly because I'm not exactly "well-endowed" in the chest region. . . But there's more to being a woman than just having curves. There's a way to be a noble woman, which I think is the best kind of woman.
Noble women are:
  • Caring and loving
  • Strong
  • Independent
  • Gentle
  • Wise
  • Hard to find
  • Fearful of God
  • Modest
  • Humble
  • Not afraid of what's to come
These are all things we can glean from Proverbs 31:10-31.
The book of Proverbs starts out by saying that they are proverbs with a purpose "to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise," "to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair," so it makes a full circle by the end of chapter 31 by telling men what to look for in a woman to make her his wife; she is disciplined, successful, and wise. She is right, just, and fair.

Another beautiful thing about this passage is that it is an acrostic poem-each stanza begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet (if you can read it in Hebrew. . .)! So cool.

The basic things that King Lemuel's mother taught him about a noble woman are as follows:
  • She is hard to find
  • She can be trusted with anything
  • "She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life"-not once she meets him, but every single day of her life. From birth to death, even if she doesn't know him, she does him good.
  • She gets the best things for her household
  • She is good to those "below" her (servant girls in this example)
  • She has made her own money and knows a good investment for it
  • "She is energetic and strong, a hard worker"
  • She isn't wasteful
  • She doesn't make rash decisions
  • She gets everything on her to-do list done, even if that means staying up very late and rising very early
  • She is independent
  • She is charitable
  • She is her own handyman
  • She takes good care of herself
  • She supports her husband-they have an equal partnership
  • She takes care of her family and is proud to do so
  • Her very person is strong and dignified
  • She takes things as they come
  • She is wise
  • She is gentle
  • She is not lazy
  • Her children and husband respect her
  • She fears the Lord
This is not an exhaustive list of things to look for in a noble woman, nor is it a list of things a woman absolutely must have to be considered noble, but it is a starting point for someone who wants to work toward being more godly and the "right" kind of womanly.
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised." There is much more to being womanly than looks, or even superficial personality. Her whole being is full of love and pride (not arrogance) for herself, her family, and her "neighbor."

My study Bible tells me that this is probably not really just one woman. Lemuel's mother is giving him advice in this passage about how to choose a good wife when the time comes. After discussing with a friend, we decided that Lemuel's mother probably knew a woman who she saw in this way and felt that she was the epitome of a noble woman. The fact that it is not just one person who actually holds all these characteristics, though, is helpful in the "rather be a Proverbs 31 woman. . ." stuff-do not try to be a super model, for looks are not everything and perfection cannot be attained, however, you should also not try to meet impossible standards of being a good wife either. Everyone will make mistakes. The mere fact that you want to be a good wife, a loving mother, a supportive friend, and all in the name of God (or not, if that's not your thing) is reason enough to be considered a noble woman.

Until recently, I had been going through a season of ambivalence in my faith. I am always looking for ways to be more womanly, and be "classy," etc. and for that reason, this passage jumped out at me immediately when I watched this video

This video and the saying that "a woman's heart should be so hidden in God that man should have to seek him first to find her" has really jump-started my work on my faith again. I want to hide my heart in Christ until that time when I marry a godly man and can give him my heart that I've been protecting for him. I want him to notice my spirit first, and my looks and personality second. I want to be the Proverbs 31 woman in every way I can for my future spouse, and encourage others to do the same.

I am so thankful for men like Alex Eklund, who made the video above, who look for these characteristics in women rather than who has the biggest breasts or butt. I hope they see that the spirit of the Proverbs 31 woman is what I am trying to portray (and actually be). I pray all of my female friends have the courage to step out of the box of this materialistic, superficial world, and to try with me to be the best women we can be as a "result of our reverence for God" (New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible). I pray my attractiveness would come entirely from my character-that it would start on the inside and display itself on the outside. I pray that my guy friends look for this in their girlfriends and try to be a noble man for her.

To bring it back to my first statements-You are good enough! You do not have to look like a VS model, or any model for that matter, to be a great woman. You are good enough just as you are! If you fear the Lord and try to have the characteristics the He deems important, you will be praised, you will be successful, and you will be the Proverbs 31 woman. Take care of yourself and do your best, and you will be "more precious than rubies."

Picture from KatteBelleTJE on flickr. Quote from Chelsea.

I'm sorry if this post is disjointed or rambling at all. I feel like I have so much to say about this subject, and I'm not completely sure how to get it out of my mind and into yours. Thanks for sticking with me through it!
If you have (or need) encouragement for anyone or that has anything to do with this, definitely post it in the comments. I'd greatly appreciate it!


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