Everyday life. It can be a drain. It can get discouraging. So many big plans for the future - so much to do - but no way to get there....
How does one climb stairs? Duh. One step at a time.
How does one achieve future goals? Let's try one step at a time...
Goals vary depending on who you talk to, so herein I intend to focus on The goal: Fulfilling the Dominion Mandate.
What does the Dominion Mandate look like in terms of everyday life? What are things we can do here, now, that will bring us closer to the larger goal?
I was (as I'm sure many of you were as well) raised to believe that young women don't belong in the workplace. While I firmly believe a woman's first responsibility is the cultivation of her own home, there are times when we find ourselves in the workforce - whether out of necessity, or whatever other reason one may have. Thus raising the question: How does a young lady fulfil the Dominion Mandate in the workplace, in a decidedly feminine manner?
This brings us back to Proverbs 31: What is the mark of a virtuous woman, and how can it be applied in the workplace?
First: "She... worketh willingly with her hands." She's a diligent, hard worker. The application here is pretty obvious...
Interesting to note here: Verse 14 "she bringeth her food from afar." which would imply she leaves home, and is (at least in part) the breadwinner.
Second: "She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens." This may be a stretch - but I believe it is still applicable: A virtuous woman cares for others before herself. Not just her own household, but others around her - unrelated, coworkers. I don't think this can be applied only to physical nourishment, but to spiritual as well. Making sure those around her are fed spiritually. Edified, encouraged, uplifted.
Third: "She considereth a field and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard." Possibly a stretch here as well - but still worth considering. When we speak of the Gospel, we call it "sowing seed", as a result of sowing that seed, the Fruit of the Spirit grows. Seed has to be planted in the ground - a field - and we're made of dirt, so.... could it be that we are to sow the seed of the Gospel in the workplace, and help to cultivate (encourage) the ground (person) in which it was planted? Just a thought...
Fourth: "She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night." No "merchandise" (work) will be perceived as good, unless it is done right, and done well. We are always to be pursuing excellence in all that we do - including in the workplace. As a friend once said "Excellence is the journey, not the destination."
Fifth: "She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple." Tapestry, silk, and purple were often associated with royalty, because typically they were the ones that could afford it. As Daughters of The King, we are royalty. Are we dressing in a manner befitting daughters of The King? Clothing is not just physical covering, it is also spiritual adornment. Are we "clothed with righteousness"? (Isaiah 61:10) Purity, honor, integrity, wisdom. These are all part of spiritual adornment. "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."
Sixth: "She... eateth not the bread of idleness." She isn't lazy, or slothful. She's alert, diligent, and industrious. Always on the move. Always doing something worthwhile. "Boredom" is not in her vocabulary.
Seventh: "Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised." This is not about earning praise, but rather living in a way that every thought, word, and action bring glory to God - then, and only then will you be praised. "Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."
We often hold Proverbs 31 up as the model for homemakers - but it's also our model in the workplace. The Dominion Mandate extends to all situations and circumstances. Proverbs 31 is the standard for biblical femininity, and is the story of a woman whose life was purposed, and lived to glorify God in all she did - in and out of the home.
One thing worthy of note here - her home was the center of all her operations. The home is still our "domain" as women. It's the launching pad for every other occupation we are engaged in.