Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Proverbs 31 Model (And Evaluating My Days...)

I was studying the passage of Proverbs 31 this morning during my quiet time. I've read this passage many times in the past, but, lately, I've been feeling very overwhelmed with everything I need to do, so I wanted to revisit this passage and see what I could reap from it.

I have been feeling like I've been eating the "bread of idleness" a bit lately. Not that I sit around and refuse to do anything. But I do feel like I could be doing more, like I'm not prioritizing wisely or maybe not managing my time as efficiently as I could.

And I don't believe it's out of laziness. I think it's more like I have so much to do that I'm feeling overwhelmed and, as a consequence, stressing out in my mind and completely avoiding some of the very things that need done. I'm avoiding due to a mental state of feeling overwhelmed.

And I think that as wives, mothers, and managers of our homes, it is beneficial to step back every now and then and evaluate our days. Are we planning our days wisely? Or are we wasting too many moments doing things that aren't necessarily bad but aren't necessarily the best things to do?

Are we seeking God's guidance on each day? Are we asking Him to give us wisdom to organize our days, to prioritize, to plan the day's events? Or are we crawling out of bed each morning and doing our own thing, attempting to get everything done that we think needs done?

Are there things we could do differently? Could our day go smoother if we rearranged our schedule a bit?

Following are the notes I took on the Proverbs 31 passage this morning. I urge you to read this with the state of mind that you want to be motivated and inspired to be the best you can be (with God's help, of course) as a wife and mother and home-manager. I urge you not to beat yourself up because you don't feel good enough, but I do hope that you (like I did) will accept whatever conviction the Father may lay on your heart.

* Her husband is completely confident in her and trusts her fully. He does not worry that she will ill-manage her home or her family. (vs. 11)

* She provides for the needs of her husband. (vs. 11)

*She builds her husband up; she does not tear him down. She respects him and his decisions. (vs. 12)

* She works eagerly. (vs. 13)

* She is certainly not lazy. (vs. 13- 15)

* She provides food for all in her household. (vs. 15)

* Her husband trusts her with financial decisions. (vs. 16)

* She makes wise, well-thought-out financial decisions (rather than impulsive ones.) (vs. 16)

* She's a hard worker. (vs. 18-19)

* She helps the poor and the needy. She is generous rather than selfish. (vs. 20)

* She makes sure that her family has all that it needs. (vs. 21-22)

* She uses her gifts and her talents to contribute financially to the family. (vs. 24)

* She clothes herself with strength and dignity. (vs. 25)

* She does not fear the future, nor worry about it, but can look at it with hope and peace. (vs. 25)

* She is wise and can offer godly advice and instruction to others. She chooses her words wisely and watches her tongue. (vs. 26)

* She keep her home and her family organized and running smoothly and efficiently. (vs. 27)

* She is not idle, but makes the most of each moment of her day. (vs. 27)

* She loves her children and they love and respect her in turn. (vs. 28)

* She is loved and respected by her husband, as well, and he praises her for her efforts. (vs. 28)

* She fears the Lord. (vs. 30)

Okay, so don't feel condemned, ladies. I don't believe that God provides this passage of Scripture because He wants us to be superwomen. Rather, I believe that He provides it to give us an example of how we can live an organized, efficient, full life.

Do you feel full and at ease when your days are haphazard and unorganized? When you don't accomplish all that you set out to, not because you didn't have enough time, but because you didn't use your time wisely? Guilty as charged (I timidly raise my hand.)

This is not a passage intended to condemn, but rather it's one that is meant to inspire and motivate us to commit our days to God, fear Him, and then make the most of each moment and each gift He's committed into our hands.

So, here's what I learned today...

1. I need to start monitoring how I'm spending each moment. Am I eating the bread of idleness? Am I spending too much time online? Am I trying to accomplish too many things all at one time and, therefore, not completing any one?

2. I need to get back to meal-planning. You know it's bad when your dear friend feels the need to provide you with a couple of bags of frozen ravioli and garlic bread at 5pm because you just divulged to her how you don't yet know what you're making for dinner and it's looking like your family is going to be eating "breakfast" for dinner again. (Yes, I'm ashamed to admit that that really happened. Yesterday, in fact. And I'm eternally grateful to my dear friend, Cher, for saving my neck!)

3. I need to focus myself on accomplishing what needs to be accomplished. Instead of shrinking back and avoiding because I'm feeling overwhelmed, I need to just say, "Hidy-ho, let's see what we can get done!" And go at it full-force, without fear or timidity. And do what I can do in those moments I have.

4. I need to clothe myself more with the strength that is mine through Christ. I actually just read a great blog post about this exact topic yesterday at Raising Homemakers. Go read it!

Well, I must go seize the moment now!

Have a wonderful Tuesday!!!


Anonymous said...

This is very good. I have been a little slack lately about meal planning and need to get back on track. I also find that blogging has been on my brain WAY too much even when I'm not on the computer. I am always thinking of something I should write. I've got to figure out how to be fully present in my home if want to keep this blogging thing going. Thanks for sharing your heart.

Anonymous said...

it's ok Amber. thanks for this post. Doesn't it seem like life goes in cycles and sometimes we just can't do as much? Proverbs 31 used to really stress me out...before i had children i kept my house perfect, being the "perfect" wife was almost possible :). Somewhere along the way, through low energy, depression, trials - I feel like God shouted to me "the whole Proverbs 31 thing is just about love". relief. I can do love. snuggling in the midst of unfolded laundry (sigh), and if breakfast for dinner is all you can do, serve it by candle light :).

Joy said...

This was a great post, Amber! I could really relate to this:

"And I don't believe it's out of laziness. I think it's more like I have so much to do that I'm feeling overwhelmed and, as a consequence, stressing out in my mind and completely avoiding some of the very things that need done. I'm avoiding due to a mental state of feeling overwhelmed."

I could have written that. I've recently said almost that very thing to my husband. It's a really difficult place to be in. Thanks for the encouragement, and I pray that the rest of your week is blessed!

Tasha said...

Every time I read your blog I feel like you're speaking directly to me. I have been thinking about these exact same issues, and these exact same verses lately. This morning I got up before my kids, which I used to do all the time, and I also put our routine into a digital calendar as an attempt to become more organized!

Ashley said...

Thank you for posting this. I feel like I'm in a constant battle with time. I'm either anxious for a certain "time" to come or stressed because I don't have enough of it! Clearly this is an issue with my time management skills and I'm hoping that one day I'll be able to prioritize my time a manner that is pleasing to God and my husband instead of depending on what I feel like, at that time.