Today I am kicking off the Proverbs 31 series with a great post from my dear friend, Amy. Amy is new to the blogging world, but trust me when I say that she always has the most encouraging words of wisdom to share. Be blessed as you read her thoughts on the Proverbs 31 woman, and be sure to check out her blog!
To the soul of a woman:
What were you made to fight to fix?
We live in different worlds, you and I. I don’t know how your heart reacts to the words “Proverbs 31," but mine finds strange emotions that shrink and thin in the audacity and neglect of a woman’s soul.
Let it be said that Proverbs 31 is a compelling, fervent passage that holds inspiration and guidance to women and men. The tragedy is that, often, Proverbs 31 presents a two faced reality: on one side a thriving beauty, and on another side a timeworn stereotype that many Christians have abused. This is exactly what causes my heart to splinter and sting. Proverbs 31 is such a deep, rich, beautiful image of a woman; and I guess it makes sense then that the enemy has taken such a tender, lovely place and twisted it into an unbending status quo in the church. Somehow I grew up thinking that Proverbs 31 looked more like the of a chairman of a club, rather than the heart of a woman. I hope and pray that you disagree with this. If you can disagree with this, then you are a woman that has experienced Proverbs 31 as an open place of freedom and meaning. However for those of us who have felt the narrow walls of societies version of Proverbs 31, I have wrestled with you in the confines of a manmade religious femininity.
I am the woman who speaks ardently about what leads me. I am the woman who will take up arms against injustice. I am the woman who is candid about truth that deeply matters and who isn’t intimidated by stirring the waters of complacency. I have fire and spirit inside of me that has often baffled those who have a more conservative opinion of a “woman’s place”. But am I the only one who sees this inconsistency? Women are strong. Women are needed. Women are profoundly called by the Lord. What if some of us are more than a stereotype? Not all of us can fit the “Proverbs 31” variety, and maybe its about time we introduce ourselves to the soul of a woman.
Live from the heart God has placed in you, and not the heart fashioned by the church. Let your freedoms and passions catch the wind. Proverbs 31 speaks from the mouth of a loving God who delights in His daughters; who adorns her with strength and beauty, who longs for her to to live from her deepest places and fight for her richest passions. Listen to His words:
“She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong...strength and dignity are her clothing...her husband also praises her.” Proverbs 31:16-28
Something has been taken from the hearts of women when the church oversteps and tries to turn this into a battering checklist. For those of us hindered by the image of a quiet, mild, and stereotypical role, hear the words your Father is saying to you. You are alive, you are passionate, and you are needed to live from the heart given only to you.
I never know when I'll come across the tasteless course of a traditional "Proverbs 31" misinterpretation, but I know that I will never cease to ask myself what I was made to fight to fix. I urge us all to live from our hearts and the passions God's placed there. To be a true Proverbs 31 woman is a deep, magnificent, abundant aspiration that I aim for - and as I read the powerful words of this chapter, I do not see the stereotypical woman I learned about in church - I see a much more honest and fervent soul of a ravishing woman. No stereotype, no church club, and no lies of the enemy should keep us all from living and seeing the passions God has placed in our lives. We cannot live apart from our passions - we can only strive to chase them, or fight to flee them. Be the woman God intended you to be. Push beyond the church doors and welcome Proverbs 31 into your life, and let it passionately and earnestly speak to the places inside of you that desire to be freely and fully.
The soul of a woman.