"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." ~Proverbs 31:30 (ESV)
Lots of times when I would read the Proverbs 31 woman passage or hear it mentioned, I thought it was all about striving, comparing, or trying to measure up to an idea of what the quintessential Christian woman looked like. When I would read it, my focus would immediately go to all the things I thought I lacked or all that I would not be able to accomplish in this lifetime.
But while reading and reflecting on the passage three years ago, The Lord redirected my attention and focus to verse 30. It reads, "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." In it also came the revelation that this woman's successes were not that she was an amazing wife, mother, merchant, business woman, or philanthropist. It was not that she was charming in the ways she carried out each task or how she chose to adorn herself while doing each task. No, the success, wisdom, honor, and victory she experienced in her day-to-day was because of her fear and reverence for The Lord. She is to be praised because of her fear for The Lord and how He distinguishes her from all the rest and surpasses all others (Proverbs 31: 29).
The Lord had taken the work of her hands, her toil, her family, her children, her business affairs, her daily tasks, and has provided success because she reverences Him. This woman's successes are an example to the world because she chooses to acknowledge The Lord and allows her life to be encompassed by Him. And because of it, all of her tasks, the work of her hands, her husband, children, and her community are blessed. The Lord is the one who gives her wisdom in going about her day-to-day affairs. It is His strength she arms herself with (Proverbs 31:17). She provides protection for her family by clothing them in scarlet [The work that The Lord has done through Jesus Christ] (Proverbs 31:21). It is His cloak of purple she wears to identify as a member of God's royal family (Proverbs 31:22). It is because of what The Lord has done and can do, she knows and can laugh at the times to come (Proverbs 31 :25). It is His gift of wisdom and His fruit of kindness that allows her to treat others well (Proverbs 31:26).
In the future, instead of us comparing ourselves in a way of not measuring up or not having what it takes to compete with this woman, we can:
Ask The Lord for His help and guidance in completing the day-to-day tasks for ourselves and those around us.
Seek The Lord for wisdom in the tasks that are before us and in the things He would have us accomplish.
Pray for His success in the tasks at hand and those that directly impact us, our families, and our communities.
Clothe ourselves and lives in the truth of God's word and allow it to direct our paths and all things concerning us.
Lean into what the The Holy Spirit reveals about each of our stories and what success looks like when we reverence The Lord for and in all things.
Because the truth of the matter is this: "...a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." (Proverbs 31:30).
It's not about measuring up, criticizing, or comparing. It's about submitting ourselves and our affairs to The Lord. Fearing and reverencing The Lord for and in all things. It is the greatest and best example we can provide to this world as the quintessential Christian woman too.