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The Proverbs 31:10-31 woman is a model of a woman who lives a godly life. It is practical advice given by a mother to her single son about what to look for in a future wife. Therefore, it is advice for single women as well as married women. I was single for over twenty years of my adult life. Now I am married so I might be able to offer insights for both single and married women.
Most of all, this idyllic icon is a woman who decides to learn and grow in all the areas of her life. She protects her heart from becoming hardened and bitter. The world and its circumstances can easily leave the heart embittered. God can keep the heart soft and full of joy when a woman follows Him.
A virtuous wife is a treasure. Her husband can trust her. He will have all he needs. She makes him look good all the days of her life. She isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. She works. She seeks to have a home filled with a variety of foods. She often gets up when it is still dark to begin her day. Food abounds to her household. She is business-minded and invests in things that profit her home. She keeps herself healthy and strong for her everyday tasks. She perceives that her life and home are good. She is content. She speaks with kind and helpful words and seeks to help all the people around her, not just her family. Her household can weather the vicissitudes of the journeys ahead. She dresses with care and even flair. She makes herself attractive for her husband. She helps him be the kind of man that others look up to and respect. She keeps herself busy and clothes herself with dignity. She conducts herself as a child and disciple of God. She rejoices for the future because she does the work of today. She speaks with wisdom and kindness. She guards her household and protects them with prayer. Her children bless her and her husband praises her. They think she is the best of all women. She knows that charm can be deceitful. She is aware that outer beauty slips away along with the years but inner beauty grows with every wrinkle. A lifetime of fruit will be evident when she stands in front of her great God.
Are you feeling overwhelmed yet? When I first read Proverbs 31:10-31, my first thought was, “When does this woman sleep?” She gets up early. She stays up late. Every hour in between is packed full of wonderful good deeds. Then I slowly realized that these qualities come to fruition gradually over a lifetime. They are not a daily to-do list and they don’t happen overnight. No one day will be perfect, nothing worthwhile will come easy, and not everything will go right all the time. With prayer and the Holy Spirit’s help, you can see more and more of these qualities in yourself. They grow as you seek to follow God, not when you follow a to-do list perfectly.
Here are some ways that I have found to help me attempt the Proverbs 31 life:
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You should make your husband proud during your entire life. Even before marriage, you should act in ways that would bring respect to a future mate. Anything you do as a single can affect a marriage later on. When you are with your husband, you will discuss the past. Everyone, married or single, has a husband in Jesus and your life should respect Him, as well.
Your day begins early. If you are a morning person like me, this is advice you accept eagerly. If you are a night person, your day still begins at some point. So whenever that time is, begin it by consecrating it to the Lord. Seek to fulfill what you should do that day. Seek to help people you meet, even if that is just a friendly greeting. Let God get your attention throughout the day. He just might delight you in some magical way. Delight can come when you are able to encourage or help someone. It can also come with a realization of just how thankful you are for the life that God gave you.
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Dress with care and make extra efforts to look nice. Exercise and eat in ways that strengthen your body. You can make efforts to look nice without spending hours getting ready. A little make-up with a smile goes further than a lot of make-up with a feeling of I’m-still-not-good-enough.
You should go throughout your day doing good for others. That may mean cooking and cleaning for your household or picking up toys for the hundredth time and putting them away. Alternatively, it could mean following a boss’ orders in the workplace or even helping a neighbor. On the other hand, it could be just smiling at someone who looks like they’ve had it. However, doing good is an action. It means being proactive and working willingly throughout your day, as well as being eager and wanting to do good. Sometimes motivation to share love to others is the bigger battle.
You seek to make your house a home whether your house is an apartment, an extra room, or a house. You seek to add variety to your daily living—new decorations, new food, etc. Pleasant surprises are more melodic than the-same-old-same-old. Even when you are single, you should take pleasure in homemaking. After all, your home is where you rest and regroup so you are ready to face the world.
Spending time in God’s Word is essential. It is just as important though to share what you learn with others. Speak out the wisdom that God hides in your heart. Read about God’s kindness and then act it out for other people. Make sure that what you learn has an outlet—don’t keep it for yourself. Knowledge alone does nothing but build up one’s ego. Encourage anyone that is around you—your family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers. Everyone needs encouragement and not many take the time to offer it.
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Be willing to have your day interrupted. Someone could need help when you are in the middle of doing something else. You can either ignore them or find out what they may need—it’s a choice. God can and does bring people across you path during the times that you can’t be bothered. If you answer his call, he may show you an unexpected delight.
Use resources wisely. For money, spend less than you take in. For time, use every bit of it. Don’t procrastinate and waste it. For love, share more than you think you have—it's renewable. Be trustworthy in your deeds and actions. Let your word mean something. If you say yes, do it but say no if you really can’t.
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Most of the to-do’s from this passage boil down to the greatest commandments that Jesus gave us—love the Lord with all of your mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus had a way of breaking things down simply.
Always hope for a bright future. God can always bring something different around the corner. Hold on and never give up. Charm puts on an act. Outer beauty fades over time. Fearing and loving the Lord brings praise, honor, and blessing. You will receive good when you do good but remember that good isn’t always what you’re expecting. It’s usually better.
Jennifer Heeren has always loved to write. In the last decade, she has enjoyed writing encouraging blog messages. She loves to write things that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at jenniferheeren.com or www.writerjenni.blogspot.com.
Publication date: August 31, 2012