Confidence. One of my favorite accessories to see on a woman, and yet it is often lacking in so many of us. Confidence in knowing who we are, in our individuality, in our abilities. Confidence in being a daughter of God and acting like it. Confident moms. Confident wives. Confident women.
You know someone like that. You meet her, talk to her, and confidence just spills out of her. We all know someone like her. We love to watch her, be around her, learn from her, but then one of two things happen. Either our own confidence is built up and we feel better about ourselves, or we feel smaller and put on our “I’m a failure compared to her” hat.
I’ve experienced both.
I can remember specific instances for each feeling.
Listening to my favorite chic preacher, I get all fired up and motivated to be the best chic preacher I can be and I’m all “I gotta get my preach on ‘cause that’s what God’s made me to do and that’s what I’m good at”.
Good confidence. Built up.
On the other hand, I know the feeling of “oh my good grief, she has her act together, grows her own food, has her own business, manages a zillion kids easily, yadda yadda…and I am nothing compared to her”. Eeeww! So yucky when you feel that way, right? I’m not alone on this one, am I? I know I am not.
How often have I read the passage in Proverbs 31 and had this exact thought that tells me, “I could never be like her. I can’t live up to those expectations.”
I’ve actually had the thought, “this is something to strive for, but realistically it’s unattainable”. If you haven’t read it in a while go read it here and then come back and finish this post. I’m fairly sure you will agree with me. What kind of a chic is this Proverbs 31 woman? Superwoman, obviously!
About a year ago, I was reading this exact passage, trying to gain some insight on this Superwoman, and I felt God impress something into my heart and mind that completely changed both how I viewed this passage but also how I felt about myself.
I want to share this insight with you and maybe change the way you view yourself and hopefully build your confidence.
What I felt God speak to me was this:
‘You ARE a Proverbs 31 woman. You are a modern day version of her. You are doing many of these things already but because our culture and because the times are different it’s difficult to see the similarities.’
Whoa! What? I’m like her? I can attain this? I am attaining this? Is this for real, God?
So I began to read and study her. I thought, if God wanted to use her to help build my confidence, then I better figure out the specifics.
It’s actually a very interesting and fun study, but for the sake of this post not becoming a book, I will highlight a few of my favorites.
Vs. 11-12 Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
My husband does trust me. I know I bring value to his life because he tells me I do. I am his #1 fan and I’ve made it my mission to build him up instead of tear him down with my words, especially in front of others.
Vs. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
Wool=clothing for cold weather and flax was used as thread for clothing for warmer weather.
One version uses the word ‘seeketh’ instead of ‘selects’ and it means she is ‘in pursuit of’ or ‘searches for’ the wool and the flax.
I search (shop) for the proper clothing for my family. I shop for deals and use a budget to buy the items they need to be properly clothed. Just this past winter I went in pursuit of winter snow boots for my son and had to go to eight different stores before I finally found them.
Vs. 15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
I set my alarm for an early wake up call every single morning to make breakfast for my kids and pack lunches for school.
Vs. 16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. (She knows her family is growing and needs more provisions, so she inspects a field to make sure it’s a good deal and then buys it)
I looked at nearly 30 houses last spring trying to find the perfect house for my family. I knew what our budget was and what the needs of our family were. It was a lot of work, but in the end I found it (with the help of my awesome real estate broker) and Chris and I bought it.
Part two of that verse: with her earnings she plants a vineyard (this refers to providing for more than just the needs of her family, but also giving them some comforts, something special for them)
The fun traditions and activities we do with our kids, the ice cream dates we take, all the comforts we as moms, wives, women provide for those we love…are the same things as her vineyard.
Vs. 17 She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
This is all our trips to the gym and working out, taking vitamins, eating healthy, all those diets, taking care of us.
Vs. 20 She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.
All the time you serve others, make a meal for a new mom, serve your church, watch your friend’s kids, you’re doing exactly what she did. I love the way I look around and see my girlfriends caring for each other. One commentary I read said the word ‘poor’ could also mean ‘poor in spirit’, so those who were discouraged. Think about all those times you cheer up a friend just by listening and sharing a comforting word with them. You serve your families. You serve your communities. You serve your churches.
Vs. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
This one confused me a little bit until I dug a little deeper. Her husband is freed up to be involved in the cares of the community (or his career) because he trusts that she has things under control at home. Also, he is respected in part because of his woman. Wow. Now that is cool. Because of her character and abilities the other elders of the land respected him.
I had a moment like this a few years ago. My husband travels a lot with his job. When this first began, he would leave and I would push the pause button on my life, just waiting for him to return and putting a lot of pressure on him to be the glue that held me together. God convicted me of this and showed me this was sin. I wasn’t only not fulfilling my duty as his wife, I was selling myself short in what God has given me to do. Now I see myself as the keeper of our family at home while Chris is away, and I see it as my part in making him successful. Freeing him up with the burdens of home, so he can be successful. This doesn’t mean he’s not involved, it means I carry the load I am able to carry, without complaining, so he doesn’t have to.
Oh this verse has so much richness in it. I also love how she made a good name for him by her character.
I pray that my character goes before me and makes my husband respected because of who I am.
Vs. 26 When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.
Note the word ‘WHEN’ in “when she speaks”. This shows us that she controls her tongue and when she does speak it’s not foolish or gossipy. That’s a hard one, isn’t it? Why, oh why are we so inclined to think that our opinion, even if harsh, is important to share? Not gonna lie, constantly working on this one.
The word ‘wise’ leads us to believe that she’s educated herself and knows what she’s talking about.
Vs 27 She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.
We make sure our kids have the right kind of friends. We teach them how to use the internet safely, we teach them how to work and spend money. We teach them manners and how to be contributing citizens in our world. We give them chores to do and help them with their homework. Lazy, what’s that!
Vs. 28-29 Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:”There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”
So maybe we’d like this to happen a little more often, but those moments when our kids remember to say “thank you for dinner”, or when your little girl runs with arms wide open shouting “Momma” from school pick up, that’s them standing up and blessing you.
My husband is my #1 fan and he tells me often that I’m the best girl he knows!
Vs. 30-31 Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
We all know our young beauty fades as we age, but when you love God and follow after Him, you are GREAT in His sight. He sees you for all you do! He’s proud of you! He wants you to be confident in who He made you to be and what you already do!
This is me, publicly praising each one of you. You ARE like her! Every single day you show the same attributes that she does. Of course we all have days where we don’t measure up, but His mercies are new every single day. When we are able to recognize all the wonderful things we do, we can clearly focus on those areas that may need a little fine tuning. I also recognize that every woman reading this may not have the supportive husband that she has, or that I have, or you may be single. Do NOT feel less about yourself. You are still so many of these things and God is your #1 fan. He sees all of this in you and He wants you to know He cheers you on, even if there isn’t a man in your life that does so. You are beautiful, strong, capable and lovely in His sight.
Be encouraged, sweet woman. Be confident. You are like her.