Thursday, October 28, 2010

P31P-day 20, the desire to inspire

guest writer: beth steffaniak

I have a competitive streak, I’ll admit it. It’s not something I’m proud of. And try as I might to surrender it to the Holy Spirit’s power, it still rears its ugly head every once in a while. Okay, okay—often.

So when I really focused in on this verse, at first it sounded very much like a challenge. I thought, so what if “she surpasses them all?” So what if her husband thinks she’s “the best?” I bet I could take her down in a competition on . . . on . . . competitiveness! Yeah, on that, I’d win hands down!

However, once I calmed down my competitive side and looked at the Proverbs 31 woman from the proper angle, I saw something more than just the throwing down of a gauntlet. I realized that this woman wasn’t crowned Mrs. Virtuous in the “Virtuous Woman Pageant 700 B.C.”

When I looked more closely, I saw that verse 29 is the exact words of affirmation her husband offered, which was referenced simply as “praise” in the preceding verse 28. So this wasn’t just the narrator’s point of view. This was her husband’s perspective, and in his eyes, she stood alone—no contest!

Very often this entire passage in Proverbs sends the modern day woman running for the hills. We start to read about this virtue and that virtue and either spiral downward towards perfectionism or totally give up in despair.

But what if this verse isn’t about trying to compete with some iconic or perfect woman of virtue? What if the point is to win my husband’s respect and love so much so that no other woman could ever compare to me in his eyes?

What this boils down to for each of us is—

Deciding to live a life that inspires.

What would that look like for me as a wife? Ah, maybe being a little less neurotic and competitive might help!

But seriously, living a life that would inspire my husband would begin with realizing I don’t have a single chance to win his approval—at least not on my own.

It would mean surrendering my silly pride. It would mean surrendering my need to achieve or be perfect. It would mean relying completely on God, day by day, minute by minute, nanosecond by nanosecond! And in that miraculous moment, it would be God who is transforming me into the most noble woman my husband could ever imagine.


Beth, thank you for being a part of this project! What you said in your closing paragraph is foundational. It is God who transforms us into virtuous women. He does that. He is so good. Thanks again!

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