I’ve spent the last 3 weeks speaking to the women of our church in our series Beautiful. To prep for it, I read a bunch of magazine articles, blog posts and books on the struggles women have and what teenage girls struggle with.
Reading stats on body image and eating disorders, depression, feelings of loneliness that they have and how most women live with a sense of defeat and that they will never live up to a standard they have in their mind, a standard their parents or spouse have for them.
While photoshop make the struggle women have with their bodies unwinnable, it is almost like they look though the lens of photoshop for everything in their lives.
I preached on Proverbs 31 this past weekend and beforehand I got a number of emails from women saying, “I’ve read those verses, they are impossible so I simply give up.”
The reality is that most everything in the Bible is impossible on your own.
That’s what the Holy Spirit does.
While the standard for women in Scripture is high, it is for everyone. It is meant to stretch us and cause us to rely on God. That is why Proverbs 31:30 says that this woman fears the Lord. The fear of God takes away all fear, all defeat and refocuses on us on what matters and what will get us through what lies ahead.
Proverbs 31 is a story of a woman through the course of her life. Did she do all those things in the season her kids were small or right after she got married? Probably not.
One of the reasons I believe many women are defeated in their lives (besides the impossible standards they or others set for them) is that they often lack a vision of what their life could be like. I’m not sure if this comes from a personality trait, that men tend to be more logical and linear in their thinking but one of the common threads I heard from women after church this week was how easy it is for them to get stuck in the details of everyday life and not lift their heads above the fog to see what God has for them.
One of the challenges of Proverbs 31 is to have a larger vision for your life. To think bigger than what you do. Your life is meant to be more than what it is. Your life is meant to have a legacy. The problem is that most of the time, legacy is talked about strictly to men. We need that reminder. But women do as well. What you do with every minute of your life makes an impact down the road. This is true for everyone.
Yet, we often spend our moments on the wrong things.
Arianna Huntington said, “Eulogies celebrate our lives very differently than how our culture defines success.”
That is important to keep in mind.
I’d add that God celebrates our lives very differently than how our culture defines success.