Some of you may have seen this yesterday on Instagram. The caption was: "Workout done. Now a little devo time before L wakes up. But something had to give, and today that something was dishes." YES, I now have Instagram (username: labuenavidamere) thanks to my parents, who gave me a new phone as an early birthday present! Woo!
Anyway, this post has been rolling around in my head for awhile since I happened across another blog earlier this week. The author was talking about her everyday life, and it came across something like this:
I run my own business from home.
I read to my boys for 30 minutes every day and make sure I do many educational activities.
I exercise every day, with no exceptions.
I cook every meal from scratch.
We live on a very strict budget, and successfully meet it every month.
My husband and I have date night once a week.
I make it a priority to meet with friends for coffee or lunch weekly.
I have blog posts planned out months in advance.
I enjoy cleaning and keeping a well decorated home.
We expect our children to behave the first time every time, even from a young age.
I think it's important for me to get dressed and do my makeup every day.
I spend time reading the Bible, doing devotions, and praying every day.
And I make it a point not to complain, ever, because I'm trying to be a Proverbs 31 Woman.
Basically (my words, not hers)...
Do all these things, and your life will be perfect just like mine.
It's taken me this long to write about it, because initially I felt pretty snarky...it's hard not to read something like that and roll your eyes sometimes, no? But more and more, I'm feeling like it's a discussion that needs to be had. Especially within the Christian community lately, I've been hearing lots and lots about the "Proverbs 31 Woman" (link here, begin at verse 10), and it seems to me like a lot of people feel like it's their obligation as a woman to be the modern equivalent of the "Proverbs 31 Woman". To do all those things outlined above, perfectly. Heck there's even a very popular Facebook page that suggests that women Live 31!, and that the men in their lives would 'rather have a Proverbs 31 woman than a Victoria Secret model.' There are numerous comments by Christian men that they want a "Proverbs 31 Woman" for a wife.
Can I be really (unpopularly) honest for a minute?
Sometimes, hearing about "The Proverbs 31 Woman" in this context makes me want to vomit.
Because although it seems to be popularly held, I don't think that Proverbs 31 is actually calling us to do those things listed above. I don't think it's possible for us as women to do it all and have it all perfectly 100% of the time. To be a perfectly rounded, perfectly accomplished person who gets it right all the time. And I'm not really sure that based on Proverbs 31, it's my job to try either.
If you'll notice, the whole verse about the Proverbs 31 woman begins with "a wife of noble character, who can find?". As in, she hasn't been found. She doesn't exist, then or now. Then, the author begins an acrostic poem. This is something that we lose in the English translation, but is basically a poem in which each line begins with the next consecutive letter of the alphabet--in other words, it's literally an A-Z listing of all the traits of this non-existent perfect woman/wife. To me, it's a child-hood daydream equivalent of "I'd like a husband with blue eyes, big muscles, who drives a nice car, goes to church every Sunday, makes me dinner every night, and brings me flowers once a week." It's not reality, and it's not meant to be a literal checklist of things that need to be done in order to be doing it right.
You'll notice that in Proverbs 31, we aren't told much about the wife's relationship with her husband. We aren't told anything about her relationship with God. We aren't told about her spiritual, emotional, or physical health. Basically, we don't know that she had it all together 100% of the time, and I really don't think we're expected to either.
I'm not saying that we shouldn't ever clean our homes, or try to spend our days the best that we can. What I'm saying is simply that we're all imperfect. I'm just saying that if you've ever felt weary trying to do it all and be it all, it's okay. I have too, especially chasing after an expectation that I've grown to believe may not be what God expects or wants of me anyhow.
We all have days where something has to give, somewhere.
And that's okay.
I think it always has been.