I hated the Proverbs 31 Woman. In many ways, she has destroyed my self-esteem, and in some ways, I feel like she has destroyed my life.
I’ve attended church my entire life. You can count on women being talked about on only a few occasions. Mother’s Day, being subject to her husband and the perfect woman of Proverbs 31.
I’m not here to argue about what a woman’s place is in life, society, her marriage, or her home. Though I’m sure some of you are anxious to do that, so give me a little time to explain myself before you decide whether you hate me or not.
The Perfect Woman
The Proverbs 31 Woman was always presented to me as the perfect woman, someone I should be exactly like, and if I’m not her, then I am not good enough.
Yes, you read that right, I’ve been made to feel like unless you are the perfect Proverbs 31 woman, you are not good enough, you are a failure.
When I heard this as a young married woman, my response was, “Are you kidding me? If you want me to do all of those things, then where are my servants? Do you think my husband is going to let me buy a piece of land without him looking at it first? Good grief, he goes to the grocery store with me and doesn’t like me spending money on anything.”
Yeah, you could say that set me off.
Here is where my love God/- hated the Proverbs 31-woman relationship began.
I must do what?
One of the harshest realities is what all that woman does.
- She buys material and makes clothes.
- Now, let’s add real estate agent to that.
- She has her garden that she plants and manages on her own to perfection.
- You will find her giving to the poor and needy, all while burning the candle at both ends.
- While she never sleeps, she makes items to sell and, she is never idle.
- This woman is adored by both her children and her husband whom you will find sitting at the gates, as a leader in the community, while she does all of this.
The clincher is verse 29, “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
So, I was taught unless you do ALL of these and the few other things I didn’t mention, you are just ok. There’s nothing special about you.
I’m a young wife with a baby who never slept in my arms while listening to this and I feel my soul getting crushed.
This is where I hated the Proverbs 31 Woman.
Exhaustion and self-abuse
In an effort to be a wife worthy of not only my husband but other’s approval I began to try to become the impossible perfect woman.
Every time I failed, I would abuse myself verbally. I would tell myself how horrible of a wife I am. Throw in some fear that my husband will leave me at any moment because I’m not good enough and he deserves better than me.
I was ultimately lead to depression severe enough that I wanted to leave and die because I was sure there was someone out there who could be this woman for my family. I wanted the best for them, and I knew it wasn’t me.
Getting the help, I needed
A few years ago, I was getting hit by waves in life. When the tsunami of my grandma’s death hit me, and I went down that rabbit hole of deep depression.
As I was sitting down to write her eulogy, I started comparing her to the Proverbs 31 woman.
I asked my family questions and learned things about my grandma that I never knew before.
- Had previously had a job
- She and my grandpa purchased property together where they built their house and a church building
- Did the billing for my grandpa’s business
- Planned out the garden that they laid out
- Was always the classroom helper even after I left grade school.
- Every year she gave about half of her money from her investments to missions and charity
The most important thing in all of this was that Grandma didn’t do this in ALL seasons of her life.
My family told me that Grandma never took on more than she was capable of giving her full love and attention to it.
So, she had a garden when she needed it most to feed her family. She had a job for a short time to help meet financial needs.
Once, all of her grandchildren finished with grade school, she stopped being a helper and found other ways to serve.
While she may not have done ALL these things alone, she was right beside my grandpa during everything.
My grandma was the Proverbs 31 woman; maybe she is achievable.
Choosing what is good instead of giving up
I had to find out how SHE fits into my life instead of trying to fit into hers. Right here, was my great revelation.
You see, my husband was never going to provide me with handmaidens, and frankly, I don’t want those cute things around my boys or husband anyway. Nor do I need them teaching my daughters how to be cute, tart, and saucy.
So, I let go of that and focused on what I can do. What parts of this woman can I do, right now in my life?
It was during a bible study that I did with Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph that I found out that I’m on the right track. She reassured me that I WILL be her, but different aspects of her during different phases of my life.
You mean I don’t have to hate the Proverbs 31 woman anymore? She can be a guide to helping me find the good? I don’t have to give up, thinking I’m a failure?
Yes, dear sisters, we can too be our version of the Proverbs 31 woman.
My daughter’s version
While I am a blogger and love words of all kinds, my oldest girl is an artist. I can’t draw a stick figure with straight lines.
My daughter’s dream is to create her Manga. She wants to tell stories but use her artwork and characters that she has created.
So even though she is my daughter, she isn’t just like me. Her home will run differently than mine is. Her dreams are different than mine, and if I want to help her grow to become a woman that can be useful to God, I must not only accept how she was created but help her become that woman too.
This is how we stop the history of abusing ourselves with the ideal woman of Proverbs 31 and create a new legacy of love for our girls.
Gathering Proverbs 31 Women
Friends, I’ve recruited some of the best women I know. Over the next several months, you will hear their stories.
They will tell you how they are making the Proverbs 31 woman real in their lives.
I wanted to help you see how you can go from hating the Proverbs 31 woman to embracing your version of her.
Then you can take this and teach your daughters how to embrace their version.
We were all made uniquely, with different traits, skills, and talents. God’s principles apply equally but look differently in each unique life.
It is time to let go of our hate of the Proverbs 31 Woman and step into the women we were called to be, unique, blessed, beautiful, Princess of the Most High King.