So we all know that Proverbs 31 is the ultimate model for women to look to in regards to biblical womanhood, right?
I'm here to tell you - it's one thing to read it, and quite another to live it.
Being raised conservative by conservative parents, in a conservative church, with conservative friends, you'd think it wouldn't be hard for me live it, right? I mean, I've been immersed in that sort of "culture" all my life, so it should be second nature, right?
Not by a long shot.
It's one thing to believe something, and another to actually live what you believe. Something I've been failing miserably at.
I read the passage in Proverbs 31 and see just how far I have to go before being anything remotely like her. But what strikes me about it is; she's always doing - and I think of the things she does as being what a virtuous woman is made of.
But what of the thoughts behind it all? Surely these actions originated as thoughts?
Growing up with/around people who held to a high standard (modesty, speech, intellectual etc.) it seemed so normal to find a P31 woman.
Now, being away from the culture in which I was raised, and living in "the world", it's nigh impossible to find a virtuous woman. Not just with her actions - there's quite of few of them (thankfully) - but in word and thought.
In today's culture it has become acceptable to "live like hell" just so long as certain people don't know about it. Or act like a virtuous woman, but not guard your heart or mind. I've fallen into that trap.
Just recently I've found myself thinking horrible thoughts, liking ungodly things, spouting idiotic things, and thinking this is totally acceptable - just so long as I don't act on them. I've never been so wrong in my life.
Virtue is not an outward thing. Not something we wear around certain people, but "slack off" certain standards when around other people.
Virtue is a condition of the heart. And the outward manifestation is just that - a manifestation of what's in the heart.
You can't "keep up appearances" if the heart isn't right. That's just hypocrisy.
It's hard, not being (physically) surrounded by virtuous women that you can look to for encouragement and as an example. Sure, there's women at a distance that can be in for accountability and as counselors/advisers - but it's really easy to fall in the pattern of dismissing a lot of what they say with the excuse of "They aren't here, or they'd see it different."
It's shocking to find just how deeply you can fall into hypocrisy without realizing it at all. Only to wake up one day to discover you're in over your head, and haven't the foggiest idea of how to get out.
It's the "frog in the pot" problem. Allowing certain influences in your life thinking (since you already know better) it's not going to have much if any effect on you..... only to find out months/years later, it had major effect on you, and now you've got a lot of sins to repent of, and wrongs to make right.
If there's any one lesson I've been learning the most on this last year, it would be: I don't care how alone you are. Girls, don't ever go it alone. Seek wise counsel of older women who have been there, or else have successfully avoided it themselves.
"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."
How are we supposed to do our future husbands good "all" our days, if we're not paying much attention until some guy comes along?
I've fallen into the rut of thinking I can "work on other things" beside preparing to do my husband good all my days, because "there's no way anyone is going to want me anyway", so I've got "plenty of time" to "whip into shape".
It wasn't until the last few months when guys actually have shown interest, that I woke up to the sobering fact: I am nowhere near being a P31 woman, and actually, am probably farther from it now than I've ever been before. That's a terrifying realization to have. Especially when your goal is to be a witness to those around you..... and you suddenly see how much exactly the opposite is happening.
Not only is it scary to realize that you are slipping into the world (quite rapidly), but also that you are influencing other girls around you. Especially considering that you may be the closest thing those girls ever get to a godly example of a virtuous woman.
"Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness."
This is a result of a clean heart, not just good actions.
"Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised."
That being said. I would like to challenge every girl (even guys) I know, to memorize Proverbs 31 in the coming month of July. It's just one verse every day.
One verse every day: gaining rare, valuable wisdom for all of life.
Don't just memorize it. Live it.
Don't wait. Don't put it off for any reason.
Discipline yourself to learn faithfulness to God's word. This is something I need to focus much attention on from now on, and I'd love it if y'all would do it with me.