She Makes Her Arms Strong, and I Should Too.

Proverbs 31:17

"She dresses herself in strength
and makes her arms strong."

I begin with this verse for strictly personal reasons. I interpret it literally. Perhaps you disagree. I, and a few commentaries, take it to mean that she is literally physically strong. I have struggled most of my life to stay fit and keep my arms strong and my body healthy. It is a battle I will most likely continue for the rest of my life. I've realized that it is probably never going to be easy. Even if it gets easier to make healthy choices, it will still require a lot of hard work. As I began writing this, I realized that I know little of it.

I like the way the NIV says it. "Her arms are strong for her tasks." I say this to myself whenever I am in the midst of some physical challenge. Her arms better be strong for all the good she does. It's no wonder she's fit when she's constantly running. She must be exhausted. I like the way Stasi Eldridge talks about her in Captivating.
     We're living in the shadow of the infamous icon, 'The Proverbs 31 Woman,'
     whose life is so busy I wonder, when does she have time for friendships, for
     taking walks, or reading good books? Her light never goes out at night? When
     does she have sex?"

We can only speculate.

Some Most days I feel nothing like this woman. I feel like I've failed at being truly feminine. We often make the fatal mistake of thinking that if we could just be thinner and fitter like her, all of the other things would fall into place. We take far too much time for ourselves without doing anything that's good for us. Does that make sense?

If she takes care of herself so that she can take care of others and we don't take the best care of ourselves, does this mean we cannot effectively care for our spouses, our families, our communities as she does? It probably doesn't mean we're incapable, but hindered in some way. In the long run, ignoring our bodies could have serious consequences for our families. If we get heart disease or diabetes, they will feel the consequences. There will be limitations. If we don't get it under control now, it could be very bad later. Perhaps for you, the "later" is here and today is the day to be transformed by our gracious Father in Heaven.

We do not merely hope that God will help us in this matter. He is our hope. Not in the way you hope something will happen. He is our only hope. The only chance we have.


Madly Hatter said...

Just don't get this strong, OK?

The "Proverbs 31 woman" is, indeed, a tough standard to live up to. Even though we must always deal with the shortcomings of our sinful flesh while on this earth, the LORD is almighty and can achieve all things.

Shannon Anderson said...

I love the way Eldridge talks about the P31 woman. At times, I too have felt as though she is totally unrealistic. In the past I have read that passage and become infuriated, frustrated and intimidated. But lately that passage has become more clear to me. We have a responsibility as women to be strong, independent, loving, compassionate and kind (Among so many other things). I feel honored that God believes I can be all of those things. Instead of worrying that I can't measure up to the infamous P31 woman, I have started to allow God to fill in the gaps...

I love your insight... keep it coming!

Chelsea Bass said...

He does fill in those gaps so well! Thanks for the encouragement, folks.

aliosh said...

Beautifully written and so true, my friend! Keep those posts coming.