Wednesday, June 18, 2008

virtuous woman

"She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness."

Proverbs 31:26-27

"Who can find a virtuous woman?" Solomon begins, "for her price is far above rubies." This wise man's ideal of a virtuous woman is hard-working, full of faith, skilled, and servant-hearted. She does her husband "good and not evil all the days of her life." And although I can relate to the sting many women feel when they read Proverbs 31--none of us like to see where we are failing--I'm very glad we have her.

I am neither married nor swiftly headed (as far as I can tell) in the direction of marriage, but the heart of the Virtuous Woman is one I desire to share. We are all in relationship with others, from God to our families and friends, and in all of these my desire is to do good and not evil. Proverbs 31 reminds me that being a woman of faith and virtue is not about earth-shattering accomplishments or unflagging perfection. It's about strong character and good habits--a whole direction of life that is disciplined and others-centered.

The verses I've quoted above are an excellent example. As a young and still-foolish member of the human race, there is much wisdom I do not know--but as a general trend, do I open my mouth to rattle on or to speak good, true, wise things? Is my tongue ruled by the law of kindness, or do I allow sarcasm, arrogance, or impatience to direct what I say and how I say it? Do I look well to the ways of my household, or have my habits of procrastination and laziness caused everything to spin wildly out of control? Day by day, is my life marked by idleness or industry? What am I doing with my life, anyway?

Life is made up of hundreds and thousands of little choices, every day, every hour. I am constantly choosing between one action and another. Every choice forms habits and bears consequences. How are my choices affecting my life today?

The Virtuous Woman is not always popular among Christians. Many women see her as a mark of their own failures. They resent her for pointing them out. But the beauty of life in Christ is that our yesterday does not have to determine our tomorrow. The Spirit of God in us chastens, disciplines, loves, and molds us in the image of the Son.

If you made bad decisions yesterday, you can make good ones today. If your habits are destructive, now's the time to change them. It does not take monumental effort or herculean strength. It only takes little choices, little changes, to live as a woman of virtue.



Anonymous Anchoress said...

Amen...Some women probably object to what they see as the womanly role..Here in Ireland there was a news item that condemned what they refer to as " the gender inequality that plagues Ireland and must be stopped".. because of course women raising children etc at home are unpaid.We live in a strange age that values in monetary terms only. Which makes us Nuns who work for no monetary wages of no value of course.... Blessings this night

July 3, 2008 at 7:56 AM  

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