A note directed at women.
Have you ever considered how archaic the Proverbs 31 passage is? Do you hear that chapter and, assuming you were raised in a Christian environment, immediately picture long dresses, turtlenecks, poofy hair with excessive hairspray, hymn books, cafeterias with endless potluck clean-ups, and women who are reserved and obedient to their husbands??? Well, the ER nurse writing this tends to speak her mind-appropriate or not. That is often the image I have struggled with.
Proverbs 31 was always the Martha Stewart, picture-perfect woman. But nothing that was attainable for the wild-child in me. I like to play in the dirt and compete with the boys in sports and speak my mind and jump on a horse in jeans. Long dresses and skirts are optional, but often not activity appropriate.
Recently I was reading a book that was describing giving over the "pen" of your love story to God. The author was suggesting allowing the one who created you to be in charge of orchestrating your meeting with the one who was created to be with you. The book spoke of young women who had experienced heartbreak after giving themselves in every way except physically to a man, then finally giving themselves physically and his leaving shortly after. They were crushed because they had stayed "pure" for so long.
I think we need to reconsider this idea of purity and the Proverbs 31 woman. As I celebrate another birthday, I am reconsidering a part of my approach to dating. I put so much into relationships that when they end, I have to take a break in order to recharge my heart. I joke about the "break-up diet" which is basically a heart too broken and sick to even desire food. It has worked like a charm now twice. The amount of energy and effort that I put into my relationships coupled with the pain of the heartbreak afterwards-well I just wonder if it is how God intended things to be. People say you have to try things out or you never live, but I don't think God intended for our hearts to be broken multiple times. I think this is a result of us seeking something instead of preparing ourselves for it and allowing God to bring it to us.
Back to the Proverbs 31 woman. What is described in the chapter is not some meek, mild woman who stays at home and obeys her husband. She is a force to be reckoned with. She goes out and buys land with the utmost wisdom and confidence. She makes the name of her husband better, but does not hide behind his name. She is motherly and provides a loving, nurturing household for her children and for those connected to her household. She teaches others and shares her wisdom and wealth. She is not lazy, but disciplined. She is clever and knows how to properly and wisely manage money. She is beautiful because of what is inside of her.
We spend so much time working on the outward appearance and neglecting the heart. We fail to realize that when we teach the importance of physical purity, emotional purity should be right along with it. Our hearts are just as important as our bodies and if we are throwing them around at whatever guy suits our current "situation" in life, we will have some pretty raw and damaged meat left when the man of our dreams shows up. We are to guard our hearts and our purity and surround ourselves with people who are going to help do the same. Don't get me wrong, everyone wants to be loved and feel that companionship need satisfied, but until we learn to be completely at peace with ourselves and the Lover and Creator of our soul, we will be searching for someone to "ground" us and constantly trying to suck our security from a mere human. Picture sandstone trying to provide the foundation for a bank. That is foolishness because it is so easily broken apart. Now imagine a billionaire who has spent 20 years of his life growing his wealth and carefully investing. Imagine him looking at places to store his money and choosing a location built on sandstone over one built on titanium. That is what we do when we chose man over God. Additionally we put an unfair pressure on the one we supposedly "love" to give us peace instead of obtaining it on our own.
Consider the Proverbs 31 woman again. She did not learn all of these impressive trades from her husband and the description is not of what he does for her, but what she is capable of on her own. He is mentioned as being better because of her. As a woman, I want the man I am with someday to be better because of the woman I have spent my time becoming. I don't want him stuck dealing with the ghosts of relationships past, but instead blessed because of the hard work I have put into my relationship with God and developing myself.