Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Proverbs 31 woman…enough said. Some of you have a condition called, “burning flesh” right now. Some of you have developed eye trouble and can no longer see the words on this screen. I love her but I am not sure that we could be really good friends. She is the kind of woman that always looks the part. She is making it in the world and in her home. She could walk out into the street and ask 15 neighbors in for a spontaneous feast, and it would be perfect, including place cards and three courses. She makes me jealous. Argh! So, the senior high girls and I have been looking at this woman. She is capable, trusted, she does her husband good, she works hard, brings food to her home, she is up at night if she needs to be, she furthers her families financial interests, she is strong, she is fully able to supply the needs of her family, she is generous, she is prepared, she plays her role in the honoring of her husband, she is dignified and not afraid, she is wise and kind, she is not idle (this does not mean busy), her children get out of bed calling her happy and her husband praises her… It is a tall order, however, I know many of my friends who do, or are willing to do, any of these things for their families; just not all at once. One thing to point out is that she is not doing all of these every day. She is doing them over a lifetime. The actions of Proverbs 31:10-28, should not scare us. She does what she has to do, don’t you? Are you willing? She does have something else, though. I noticed that this laundry list of attributes is lacking something. To be a Christian woman today, you are supposed to attend the women’s suppers and bring a dish, be enrolled in 5 bible studies, show up looking perfect on Sunday morning, read out of your 15 devotional books, and…be up on all of the TV evangelists. Now, you are supposed to read your friend’s blog…it is endless. Today, I am giving you permission to make your life a lot easier. I see none of that in Proverbs 31, or anywhere in God’s word. Don’t get me wrong, I see a faithful woman. It says that her husband trusts her, she is generous to the poor and needy, she is not afraid, she is wise and kind, she is happy and her husband brags about her all around town. That tells me that there is a stillness that is coming from inside of her and infecting all of those around her. She is doing it right. She lives from the inside out. My desire has been to find the lost manuscript that tells me of her “being” relationship. What is she when she is still with God? What does her heart say to God through the day as she takes on each new adventure? That is the “being” relationship with the Lord. (A note on "being" relationships: you have to know with whom you are in a relationship; that is the role of scripture and prayer.) This is a glimpse of a woman from the eyes of a son. I don’t have children, but would you write this about your mom? If you would, call her, thank her and ask her about her “being” relationship. Would your children write it about you? It is from this “being” relationship with the Lord that good things come. The Spirit gives us the power to have this fruit in our lives. It wars with our flesh, our sin nature, being the very power of God inside of us. We have this power in our lives…that stuns me as I think of what is available and untapped. I have the power to be kind and generous and loving. I have the power to bless those around me and care for their needs. Wait, yes, I also have the power to be wise and not afraid…to be peaceful. You and I can be known as happy, because when someone asks us how our day is, we will be able to tell them of our “being” life; we are fine, we are content, and we are strong. We can be dignified and say that we have everything that we need to face the trials of this life. We tell our troubles to women who will lift us up, hold us accountable and point us back to the cross. That is part of this “being” relationship. My temptation has been to live in the “doing” because that is where things happen. How will anyone call you productive if you don’t prove it? This goes hand-in-hand with the twenty minute response for, “How are you”? These lives are always busier and always harder than anyone else’s life. I was challenged at a conference this weekend to take charge of the “doings” in my life. See, when we you commit to something, you absorb it into your world. It shares a place with other priorities in your life (see Donna Otto’s stuff…amazing). Some of these things should not be let in your front door. You are not meant to “own” those things. If I ask you right now, what is the one thing that you are doing that you should not be doing? This thing usually robs the other true priorities of your life (family, friendships, your “being” relationship with Christ, and you…fyi, you are a priority in your life, whether or not you act like it). It robs peace from your life, and probably someone else could do it…ouch. I know that is a radical notion, but someone else could do it…and if they did it better, hallelujah. Want to be really bold? Ask your husband or your children, maybe your friends what you should drop. Actually, that is great advice; I will have to ask my husband that question. Lord, show me today how to “be” with you. Show me areas in my life that are unnecessary; those that rob the real priorities of my life. Create in me the willingness to move away from “doing” and into authentic relationship with you.