I hate this Proverbs 31 woman.
She is a box I cannot fit into. She is a trophy wife that I cannot be.
And having her as your role model is the epitome of a graceless home. She has her list of rules, checking them off to make sure she measures up.
I can’t imagine how this woman seems to the single woman, the childless woman, the single mother working herself to the bone to make ends meet. If I – happily married, staying home, and shoot, even cloth diapering – feel that I cannot measure up to this woman, how do they feel?
We can’t all be the 1950s housewife that we seem to read into Proverbs 31.
The real Proverbs 31 woman is someone I like.
Some scholars believe that the original placement of the book of Ruth after Proverbs in the Tanakh (Jewish Old Testament) was an indication that Ruth was such a woman – you would finish hearing Proverbs 31, then go straight into the story of Ruth.
This helps me because I need a real person with a real story. One who gave up her heritage and idols to follow her mother-in-law and her God. A woman who was once an outsider and was grafted into the community of God by faith. One whose story revolves around a simple life of obedience to God.
When we read Proverbs 31, we need to remember to jump ahead to the New Testament.
Jesus – not a list of rules – makes a woman into a Proverbs 31 woman.
He takes a controlling woman and teaches her to put others before themselves. He indwells the lazy woman and provides her with purpose and perseverance. He gives her the mind of Christ and instills wisdom in her over time.
He breathes warmth into her cold heart and helps her become compassionate. He gives her strength in her weakness. He gives her dignity in her shame.
The real Proverbs 31 woman is simply a Jesus woman.
The fruit of the Spirit has always been, and will always be, the outcome of a life submitted to the Holy Spirit.
So put down your list.