Making Sense Of The Proverbs 31 Woman
- By Indu Shanmugam
- Published 10/10/2006
Indu Shanmugam is a 20-something, college student from Oregon, USA. She is majoring in English literature and language. She also studied Theology for a short period. She wants to be a teacher. As a literature enthusiast, she enjoys literature of all types and from writers of various backgrounds from the classics, French realists, Christian writings like C.S Lewis and South Asian literature. As for her own writings, "I am still trying to find and develop my own voice." She sees the art of the written word as a way to speak about Christ and explore truth. Before she met Jesus Christ, she has been searching for the meaning of life through experimentation of other religions, philosophies and ideas. At the age of 17, she accepted Christ after a powerful encounter with God through a miracle. God's presence and deep truths in the Bible fuel her creativity. She is involved in church activities and has a love for the church and would like to see every believer grow, become closer to God and live fruitfully. She loves traveling, sipping bubble teas, theatre, music, films and hanging out with friends and has a weakness for cheesecake.
Wow! Another crazy dream that turns me to seek and dwell truths. This dream had to do with what being a woman is all about. The deep meaning behind the Proverbs 31 verse is slowly being revealed to me.
There is power and tremendous blessing in womanhood, as God intended. It's hard to believe that sometimes because the worldly (the opposite of God) gives a different message. I think the world is more demeaning to women than the message of the gospel, which truly liberates.
Once I had a completely different idea of the Proverbs 31 virtuous woman. I thought to myself, "Seriously, of course nobody can find such a woman, this isn't the 1800's. " Images of bonnets and corsets come to mind, along with an idea of a woman who is weak, dumb, incapable, shallow, doesn't count for anything else... well get the idea. I approached it with a worldly idea of what it means to be a woman.
Reading those verses carefully, I really its not the voice of a male chauvenist trying to dictate how a woman should be. Rather, it is advice from King Lemmuel's mother telling her son to stay away from sinful women who will corrupt him. She describes a godly woman.
Being a godly woman doesn't mean being a dumb weakling. It's not like the old days, when I would have to marry someone who I don't know and be in a corner unheard. I mean look at these verses about the virtuous woman.
Proverbs 31: 25 -26 "Strength and honor are her clothing. She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness."
and if you read Pro 31: 12-17, she is business savvy.
I think one of the reasons, the verses are addressed to King Lemmuel from his mother rather than a general law for women or why the message was addressed to a young man was because it seems guys are intimidated or don't know what to do if they see such a woman. As an aspiring leader, I find this. As a female, I don't get encouraged to step up to a leadership role that God calls me. Then again, why should praises from people, determine my destiny? Why are people so shallow.
It's good to trust in God. But, why does it seem there an extra hurdle for a woman called into the ministry? I once thought men had it easy. Not so, recently I find out that men also have their own issues to deal with.
I read those verses again and realize, I find the Proverbs 31 woman, quite intriguing. I want to be like that. There is power in being a Proverbs 31 woman. It is possible to have a high position, get respect from both men and women and yet be very feminine. I notice when I wear a dress, makeup and something very womanly and femininie, I feel pretty and nice. I am talking about inner beauty.
There is something about knowing who you are in Christ especially as a woman created in God's image. I believe... I need to discover that and embrace it fully, that is my strength and will allow me to be more influential. God, help me with this. Give me a personal, deep and intimate revelation of your truths.