A Proverbs 31 Woman

So much of this world is based on perception. We make judgements, and base our thoughts and feelings off of what we perceive about others. And sadly, what is thought of as a positive perception has been drastically changed by what media and the rest of the world finds appealing. There is a constant pressure to look and act a certain way. We look through a distorted frame. The frame of unrealistically skinny models, and women who chose surgery to alter their looks. There has been a standard placed upon us. But sometimes, those standards aren't always the most positive and healthy standards to base your life on.

When we see a woman walking down the street who in the eyes of society may be "over-weight." We immediately look at her in disgust.

When we see a girl dressed in less than fashionable clothing; a turtle-neck sweater with a long skirt, she couldn't be more covered up! We think, "Wow, who told her that looked good?!"

It's sad to know that those things often times are the perceptions we make of people; and we make them all too often. Instead of looking at the outward appearance it could do us a world of good to look at that person from the inside. That woman who is "over weight" could be a woman who realizes that her "body is a temple" and that she should begin taking care of it. When you saw her she was on a walk, trying to make a healthy decision to honor God with her body.

That girl who you scoffed at and wondered to yourself, "Why would she ever put those clothes on?!" Well, she likes them. She is a very God-fearing young woman. She sees what most girls are wearing these days and has decided to be modest. She wants to be classy and present herself as someone who honors her body as a gift from God. Not something that should be shown off and be flashy to the rest of the world.

Started by an amazing guy at Baylor University after seeing Facebook posts after the VS Fashion Show. :)

It's gotten major hype. The campaign to be a "Proverbs 31 woman."
Proverbs 31 is an amazing verse in the bible that reminds women of what true beauty is: being a woman with confidence, character, hard working, shows love to others, clothed in strength and dignity, laughs, cries, speaks with wisdom, and takes care of her family and loved ones.

But most of all, this woman fears the Lord. A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

"A wife of noble character who can find? 
   She is worth far more than rubies. 
Her husband has full confidence in her 
   and lacks nothing of value. 
She brings him good, not harm, 
   all the days of her life. 
She selects wool and flax 
   and works with eager hands. 
She is like the merchant ships, 
   bringing her food from afar. 
She gets up while it is still dark; 
   she provides food for her family 
   and portions for her servant girls. 
She considers a field and buys it; 
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 
She sets about her work vigorously; 
   her arms are strong for her tasks. 
She sees that her trading is profitable, 
   and her lamp does not go out at night. 
In her hand she holds the distaff 
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 
 She opens her arms to the poor 
   and extends her hands to the needy. 
When it snows, she has no fear for her household; 
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 
She makes coverings for her bed; 
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 
Her husband is respected at the city gate, 
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 
She makes linen garments and sells them, 
   and supplies the merchants with sashes. 
She is clothed with strength and dignity; 
   she can laugh at the days to come. 
She speaks with wisdom, 
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 
She watches over the affairs of her household 
   and does not eat the bread of idleness. 
Her children arise and call her blessed; 
   her husband also, and he praises her: 
“Many women do noble things, 
   but you surpass them all.” 
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; 
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 
Give her the reward she has earned, 
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."
Proverbs 31:10-31

Just a few short months ago I was sitting down and watching the Victoria Secret Fashion Show. By the end of it, I realized the whole time I was praising these women for being skinny and gorgeous, while telling myself and others how I wished I looked like that or, "I need to get to the gym!"

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; 
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."

I then realized that I was praising these women for things that were deceptive and fleeting. These women were flaunting their bodies to the world, not using them to serve and honor God. Why was I envying them?!
Their charm was deceptive; just like that rest of the world's perceptions and expectations. The things that woman strive to be; skinny, beautiful, young, sexy, attractive, desirable, are all things that are deceptive and fleeting. They do not last; they may give you short-term worldly praise, but they do not give you the praise from your heavenly father.

I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman. I want to be clothed in strength and dignity and laugh at the days to come. I want joy in my heart, and a live a life for Christ. I want his love and life to shine through me. I want to live a life that is revered for my actions, not my outside appearance. I want to be remembered for the kind and noble things that I did and said, not how beautiful I was or how well I dressed.

By the end of my days here on earth I hope that I spoke to people with grace, wisdom, and kindness. I hope that I show love and honor to my husband and that I receive praise from him for doing so. I hope to take care of my household and raise children to love and respect me, their father, and their Lord and Savior. I hope my daughters strive to be Proverbs 31 women, and put their Lord at the center of their hearts; because they are at the center of his. I hope to do noble things; and do them for the glory of God. 
And by the end of my life, I hope that I receive my reward and be praised as I enter the kingdom of heaven. 

I want to be this type of woman, to show praise and honor to all that God has done for me. He has redeemed me, given me eternal life. I am not striving to be a Proverbs 31 woman to achieve eternal life, but to honor God and thank him for giving me this eternal life! His grace is free and unending for the entire world.

These passages may seem a little intimidating. 
"How can I possibly have all of these attributes?"
We are all sinners, we cannot be the perfect Proverbs 31 woman everyday of our lives.
However, with God as our helper, we can strive to be God fearing women and to live our lives for our Savior. We will make mistakes, stumble and fall, feel like failures, and let our God down. 

But even through good times and bad, failures and sin, we have the hope of our salvation, the helping hand of our Lord, and the motive to live a Proverbs 31 life for our God.

All of the pictures from this post were used with permission by the lovely Erin at {Sweetness Itself}
She is the perfect example of what a Proverbs 31 woman is.
Her blog is inspirational, and Christ centered.
Do me a favor and pay her a visit. I promise you will not regret it :)