As many of you know, I’ve been studying Proverbs 31 for close to 2 years now. Can I just say it’s been a love/hate relationship? You have probably heard me say how I avoided the chapter for years because, well, to be perfectly honest, the societal cookie cutter expectations placed on a female can be both terrifying and overwhelming.
As if that’s not enough, the church mounds on the “Christian stamp,” along with underlying assumptions of “living like a Proverbs 31 woman”…. let’s just say that this girl is quite positive she could never measure up to either. Just the thought of it, sends my heart racing in a panic. In fact, I can readily share a long list of ways I fall short.
She sews all her family’s clothes….. I can’t even sew on a button.
She gets up while it’s still dark…..I like my sleep. I wrestle the snooze button till the sun comes up
She buys fields… I can’t pass up the clearance racks.
She plants vineyards… I tried a garden three years in a row and every single plant died.
She makes coverings for her bed… I hit the mall.
She provides food for her family… Do frozen chicken nuggets count?
Her arms are strong… Once I tried to help my husband and was immediately fired.
Her children arise and call her blessed… My teenager yells often and critiques my parenting skills
You can see my quandary. Confession: my human limitations naturally produced a disdain for this chapter, and I admittedly was baffled by the content and demands.
I decided to dive in to a full-on exegetical study… My life has been forever changed as I begin to hear what the author is trying to say. It’s nothing of what I originally thought.
Throughout my study, I’ve had many “light bulb/ ‘oh wow’” moments along the way. In fact, I’ve found the text is not at all meant to produce a standardized mold of what a Christian woman should look like. Clearly, there is no “Proverbs 31 woman.”
Nor did she ever exist.
Nor will she ever exist.
You can “relax and breathe easy,” as my enthusiastic spin instructor says, while I desperately grasp for oxygen.
This is a proverb or parable.
The chapter was never intended to be taken literally (We’ll talk more about that next study)
In order to fully understand the Proverbs 31 woman, you have to comprehend the whole book, in its entirety. Let me ask you a question: Do you pick up a book and read the last half of the last chapter, expecting to fully grasp the entire book? No. That would be foolish. Then why would we do that here with Proverbs 31? (No worries, I foolishly began the study that way too. Luckily His grace is sufficient. If He can get navigate this mind, He can certainly saturate yours too).
I’m really excited to dive in to this study together and learn what the author is sharing with us through Proverbs 31. Let’s link arms and press in together.