Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Life Lessons From Biblical Characters | Mrs. Proverbs 31

As I begin to prepare for Ian's arrival, I thought that a way to make life a bit easier for me was to go back into the "vault" and pull out some of the lessons I had done previously, revise them according to how I have grown and what I have learned since I first posted these (God's Word always has something new to share with us no matter how many times we read it), and share them with you.  Many of you have never read the Proverbs 31 series that I began on Yahoo 360 when I was blogging on that site.  For those of you who remember these posts, I hope you enjoy the lessons I have learned since my first postings on this series.

My mother's favorite passage of scripture when it came to teaching my sister and me about being women of God was Proverbs 31:10-31. It is amazing how you can read the same passages of scripture throughout your life and have them speak to you in different ways as we hit different stages of life. At one time these verses were just preparation verses for the kind of women and wives we were to be. Obviously, some of the verses we were able to put into practice even though we were not married. But the ones that dealt with husbands and children, we needed to wait on actually practicing. Now I can actually apply those principles to my personal everyday life.

The verse I had been reflecting on first was Proverbs 31:10, "An excellent wife who can find? For her worth is far above jewels." (NIV) I love the KJV of this verse, "Who can find a virtuous woman? because her worth is far above rubies." Rubies are known as the rarest gems therefore making them extremely valuable. I then took this verse to another level by asking questions of myself.

Have I made myself a valuable asset to Brian? When a ruby- like my mother- is lost, it is not easily replaced. I need to make sure that I make myself so valuable to Brian that I am not easily replaced. Mom used to say that you can walk outside and find rocks and pebbles anywhere, but you can't just walk outside and find a ruby. You need to look very hard, far and wide in order to find one, and when you do, it doesn't come cheaply. For unmarried girls, this speaks to character. Are you the kind of girl that is a carbon copy of the others around you, or are you someone that sees yourself as being valuable to God and therefore to others as well? Do you conduct yourself with dignity and modesty (I'm not saying we can't have fun- there needs to be a balance- but is the fun you are having something that you will regret tomorrow or even later in life?). I chose to make myself very "rare". I had my very first kiss on my wedding day at the altar. Is this a choice that everyone needs to make? No. But it is the choice that I made.

How can I be an excellent wife? What changes do I need to make to achieve excellence? I am still working on the last two questions, which are really just an extention of each other. I think if we are ever to grow spiritually or just in general we need to constantly ask ourselves those last questions. If we don't we will stay in a state of status quo and become stagnant as a wife or as a person. If we ever believe that we have achieved excellence, we can come across as being proud and arrogant. I know I will never achieve perfection, but I can strive for excellence in everything I do- laundry (and it keeps coming), housekeeping (do you ever feel like you are putting beads on a string without a knot on the end?), childrearing (so rewarding, but demanding if you are choosing to be a proactive parent), cooking (no burned meals), gardening (hmmm...... I'm still thinking in that department), dusting (those little dust fuzzies show up moments after I pass the dust rag over them), and grocery shopping (keep those coupons coming!). How will you strive for excellence in the place God has put you for now?

As I was reading over the post for today, I thought of the Sunday School lesson that we had this week.  Our teacher was talking about doing everything we do as an act of worship to the Lord.  He talked about mowing the lawn, cooking dinner, washing the laundry, going to work, and just doing the mundane everyday chores and responsibilities that we have as an act of reverent worship to God.  When we look at our homes and the things we do as an act of worship to the Lord, our attitude and outlook changes and we are no longer doing these things because we have to but because it is a way for us to honor the Lord. 

I am currently reading through Joel Osteen's new book (to be released on September 13 and a give away of the book is coming here soon) and in the first chapter he discusses that we have to look at our responsibilities in a very different way if we are going to have joy in our lives.  Rather than saying, "I have to clean the house," our attitude should be "I get to clean the house!"  We need to be thankful that we have a home to clean.  Rather than saying, "I have to do the laundry or take care of the children or go to work," our attitude should be "I get to do the laundry (thank God I have clothes to wash!), I get to care for the children (Children are a gift from God and a treasure!), and I get to go to work (thank God you have a job to go to!)!"  After reading that chapter, I thought to myself, "My daily schedule is not full of things I have to do, it's full of things I get to do!"  And I couldn't wait to scratch off the next item.

Our attitude towards our homes, husbands, and children should be one of excellence.  Excellence in caring for the homes that God has provided for us.  Excellence in caring for the husband He has blessed us with.  Excellence in raising and caring for the children he has entrusted to us.  There is a new movement out there which encourages people to release themselves of trying to be perfect.  It sounds like a freeing idea, but I do not believe it is what God wants from His people or His daughters.  He says in His Word to be holy as He is holy.  Some translations have it worded as be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.  In other words, we need to strive to be the best at what we do for His glory and honor.  We reflect Him (just as our children reflect us), and when we are vocal about our relationship to Him, we need to make sure that we reflect Him as He is. 

As you think about this verse today, I would encourage you to think of yourself as a ruby, a treasure, and woman of great value, and allow that to be reflected in everything you put your hands to do.
Memorize Proverbs 31:10.

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