She is one of the most revered and most hated of all the women in the Bible – the Proverbs 31 lady. She sets the bar high for “perfection” and makes us all feel grossly inadequate. We want to yell in frustration (Beverly Goldberg-style):
Or change mother to wife, girlfriend…even human being if you’d like. The guilt and shame…it’s all the same.
I started reading a book by Marsha Drake, “The Proverbs 31 Woman & Other Impossible Dreams”. Marsha wrote about her experience in trying to emulate the traits that make up the Proverbs 31 woman. I’m pretty sure that in addition to guilt and martyrdom, this woman was struggling with depression too. But I’m rooting for her!
The other day I started to contemplate just how well I measured up against this fantastic female figure, when I was distracted by something wet dripping on my foot…it was the package of raw chicken (sadly, thanks to one of our guinea pigs, this was not the first thing to dribble on me this week). I cleaned up the floor first (except the patch of crusty spaghetti sauce –it’s rock hard), before checking the fridge. The package had oozed all over the bottom of the fridge as well, every nook and cranny; I mopped and disinfected it too, while my old lady knees screamed at me. Verses 14 and 15 say “She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants”. . I bet the Proverbs 31 lady never had raw chicken ooze in her fridge. I bet her floors were so spotless she could lick them…or she could make her servants lick them.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse – the phone rang. It was some unknown telephone/internet provider trying to sign me up. I politely declined. But this man with the marbles in his mouth didn’t take the hint. Then he made another mistake – he asked me “why not…” So I not so calmly told him: “I don’t have time to chat with friends on the phone or surf the net because I have rice boiling over in the microwave, I have just discovered a cream cheese “science experiment” in the back of the fridge that smells worse than blue cheese (and the aroma hangs like thick fog to choke the unsuspecting and vulnerable), and I’m up to my elbows in chicken blood. Would you like to know a few more reasons?”
I’m sure the Proverbs 31 lady would have handled the whole situation much better. “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come (v.25 ). She would have laughed off the frustration with ease. She would have spoken with compassion and grace… She probably wouldn’t have old lady knees screaming at her because she would be in great shape from running a marathon last week between “buying a field” and making “coverings for her bed”. And she most certainly wouldn’t be ranting about her failures in a blog post…oh well!
You want a perfect girl? Buy a Barbie!