The Proverbs 31 Dilemma. [because one more p31 study can't hurt]

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels…

As long as I could remember in my walk with the Lord, I have used the Proverbs 31 woman as my kind of model for what I am aiming to become. It’s been the picturesque of a woman of God for millions of women. I am sure any woman who has been involved in some kind of study for at least a year has experienced the “Proverbs 31” dilemma.

Is this someone within reach for me? 

Can I really become this kind of woman?

And what if I can’t?

Will I still be a “Woman Who Fears the Lord,” have a happy home, and one day be married?

What if my lump of clay was never made to fit that mold? 

We have used this woman of valor as our pattern, our frame, for what we are striving towards. There are countless studies and even more “self-improvement” books on how to become more like her: more efficient, more beautiful, more, more, more…

I think Jesus wants to redeem our idea of more. He is always calling us into more: More of Himself. More of His Fruit. More of His goodness. But sometimes, to receive more of the Living Water, we need to stop at the well for a while.

We need to stop trying to be this perfect rendition of a woman…this oracle, that even the ESV study Bible says is a profile of an “…ideal; a particular example of full-scale virtue and wisdom toward to which the faithful are willing to be molded…it is not expected that any one woman will look exactly like this in every respect.”

Stop trying, and recognize where you already fit in the description of the Proverbs 31 woman. Stop trying to be more, and just be, and in your faithful willingness to be molded, you will become more; in His timing, in His way you will become more.

But this thought was not just a natural thought I was dying to write down. It actually came from a moment of reading the passage for the sake of wisdom. I opened it with anticipation, in search of how I may become more, and instead found this: 

What are you doing, my son?  What are you doing, son of my womb?

You see, this passage was not intended to be a play-by-play for women, but a decree for men. It is a mother’s wisdom on what kind of woman her son is to wait for, to seek after, and to desire to fulfill the role of a wife. She giving him a guide and encouragement in waiting and searching for this kind of woman like a lost treasure. It’s a mother’s hope and reminder for what kind of woman her son deserves. 

Phew. I feel the freedom to breathe, the freedom to fail, and the freedom to see what parts of this woman I actually do emulate. It wasn’t written to be an instructional pamphlet for me, another checklist on becoming the all-too-ficticious “perfect woman;” it was written to be a reminder to a son about the qualities to search for in a potential partner, and how truly rare those attributes tend to be. 

And Jesus is gentle to remind me that my role is not to search after the perfect antidote to become the perfect woman. My job is to seek after the Perfecter of my faith instead, and to let him mold me as the potter will, more and more into his image.

And I will be made more precious than jewels.