By Dana Herndon
“She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family.” (Proverbs 31:15 NIV)
During the school year, this verse speaks to me almost every weekday morning as I rise before the sun. The middle school day in our district begins early, and one of my tasks is rousing my thirteen-year-old son.
I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. While I stumble sleepily around the kitchen in search of caffeine, I hear Proverbs 31:15 in my head: She gets up while it is still night. This reminds me that I am striving to be a Proverbs 31 woman—a woman who works hard, caring for her husband and family.
The Proverbs 31 woman sounds great, doesn’t she? She is often cited as an example for Christian women. She has a noble character, her husband has full confidence in her, she works hard, she is up before the sun, she gives to the poor, she provides for her family, she is adored by her husband and children. She is who we want to be. Is this, however, an attainable goal for us mere modern-day women?
But not on our own.
I think I am reminded of this verse so often because I want to be like her, but also because I need to remember I can’t be like her without Jesus.
One day I was scrolling through Facebook, and after reading another woman’s status update I thought to myself, Wow! This person sure thinks a lot of herself. Maybe not everything is about her.
Immediately I felt convicted. I may not reveal this on Facebook, but I too can have a me-centered attitude. Left to my own selfish desires, I want to turn off my alarm and sleep; I want to worry about only myself—what I want, what I need. Sometimes I let my selfishness overtake me and voice this displeasure at serving others (sometimes loudly). That’s not very Proverbs 31 of me, but that’s my whole point. If I let me lead me, everything will be about me, and that is not how our lives are supposed to be. Life is not all about us, but all about others. In our selfishness, we need the Lord to help us serve others. We need to let the Lord lead us.
The Proverbs 31 woman’s example is not in the Bible to shame us. I think it’s there to show us how we can be. First things first, however, is to start the day with our hearts in the right place. I am constantly working on this. I need to make sure to get up, before the sun most days, and read the Bible and pray. This is key to getting my day started right.
Sometimes I do hit my alarm clock’s snooze button one too many times, and my day begins in a rush. I feel irritated and sometimes resentful of my responsibilities. Then it’s so much harder to get my attitude back on track, and even minor inconveniences seem like a big deal. Rising early enough to read my Bible and pray makes the difference. Does this guarantee me a perfect day? No, but it arms me with the correct mindset and attitude to deal with problems that pop up. My point is, bad days will happen, but equipping ourselves to deal with them is important.
Don’t let the Proverbs 31 woman make you feel bad or as though you will never measure up. Use her as an example. We can be that woman, but first we must seek the Lord daily. Only with him will we succeed.
Dana Herndon is a writer and blogger as well as an elementary and middle school teacher. She and her husband live in Georgia with their three children. In addition to teaching and writing, Dana loves to read, watch Food Network and HGTV, follow politics, and paddleboard. She blogs at danaherndon.com.
Photograph © Allef Vinicius, used with permission