Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Defining Character: The Proverbs 31 woman

For the next few weeks in Bible study we are going to be focusing on femininity in the Bible. Of course one of the first things we started with (after establishing that men and women were created equally, we all just have different, but equally important roles) was Proverbs 31. This is a much noted passage that I had read before. It is basically a part of a letter that a King is writing to his son and the Proverbs 31 passage comes from the King's Mother. She describes what a wife of noble character looks like.

Now I am telling you that I had a bad day when I sat down to do this study which probably skewed my thoughts on it. We were asked to list the capabilities of this woman and I wrote "cook, sew, teach" None of which I can do well. And I was starting to think this describes your typical stay-at-home mom...what does this have to do with me? A single woman with no prospect of having a husband or kids anytime soon.

But through discussion tonight I learned I was not looking closely enough. The woman described can also dress well, is a planner, is very business savvy, invests in the future, and volunteers. Ok...sounds a little more like me. I do some of those things.

Then we get to listing her character traits. I had a few about being trustworthy, hard working, decisive, savvy, giving, and physically strong (she must work out!). But I also added (through discussion from the other girls) that she has dignity, faith, wisdom, stays busy, comforting to others, has confidence in the future, always positive, and an asset to her husband.

Now she is starting to sound less like the little stay at home barefoot and pregnant version I thought she was and fits more with what is expected of today's modern woman. In fact it sounds overwhelming- like some kind of super woman. But not so unattainable in small doses of each and development over time.

The end of the study asked us what kind of woman did we want to be five years from now. I put "kind, successful, wise, loved, a good example, and facing the future with confidence." All of which fit in with this version of the Proverbs 31 woman.

Our very last question was "How can we begin to develop these characteristics and capabilities in the current "season" (S-I-N-G-L-E) of our life?"

Here come my goal setting obsessions...

1. workout- to become strong physically (no lie that part was in there!)
2. Always be helping others as much as I can - to become giving
3. Have more trust and faith in God- so I can face the future with confidence
4. Utilize my time better and not be lazy- to become hardworking
5. Dress Well- so I can exude confidence and nobility

I am really going to try to work on these things. I wrote them on my whiteboard on my fridge and I am going to post a copy of them work so they will always be in my face.

Developing character takes time and practice. I also heard a great little tidbit on the way to work this week. It was talking about how life is a test. You are constantly being tested and while there may be no right or wrong answer to each test, you reveal your true character through those tests. I can say I am dependable, but anytime I show up late or don't answer a friend's call because I am too "busy" does that make me really dependable? I can say I am honest, but every time I tell a little white lie, that etches away some of that trait. I can say I am giving, but if I pass up a chance to volunteer to help and instead lay on the couch all afternoon, am I really giving? So I need practice and reminders to solidify these traits in me. And I'll be watching out for those little tests God throws at me to measure just how far along I've come!


Jen said...

While you are on the topic of character traits I wanted to let you know how I see you.
You are a very genuine person, and that seems to be really hard to find in people these days. I'm not religious and I really didn't want to read this post, but I'm glad I did because it doesn't matter what religion you are, these are great traits to strive for, as a human being. You really made me think, and you weren't preachy in the least bit. Thanks! I'm sure you will accomplish your goals.

Akirah said...

I'm a big fan of the Proverbs 31 woman and hope I'm becoming one. I really need to work on the working out part though...I'm so bad at remembering!

Good goals though.

Caitlin said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Proverbs 31. I've read it many times, and usually come away with it with different impressions each time. I must say that the last time I read it, I was left with your initial impressions of the verse. You've inspired me to read it again and to use it as a catalyst for my own character development. Lovely goals! Best of luck with them!! -Caitlin