I would consider myself a perfectionist… my definition of a perfectionist may not be the dictionary definition, but the fact is that I have desired perfection from myself most of my life.
I didn’t know how I would achieve that perfection, I didn’t know by which I standard I measured it, and I didn’t know how I would recognize it. I always thought I did, but I didn’t.
My idea of perfection came from comparing myself to others. I would constantly look to others to judge myself and my accomplishments against. But I was never satisfied. I could not be, and never will be, perfect.
One of the ways by which I judge my character, as do many Christian women, is by studying and drawing inspiration from the woman mentioned in Proverbs 31.
God must have mentioned this women, and carefully outlined all of her seemingly perfect characteristics for a reason, right? Was it because she was His definition of perfect? Was it so He could give us an identifiable standard to measure ourselves against?
As kind and good as this woman is, there is something about her that is almost intimidating. I knew I could never be like her. I could never be perfect the way she is.
But, I can learn from her qualities and draw inspiration from the way she is described by God.
11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
This is a woman who is loyal and loving to her husband. He can depend on her to raise his children, to maintain his household, to uphold his reputation, to support him, and to be faithful to him. Even more, she does him good… she willingly does things for him because she loves him and he is her husband. She will do anything to protect his heart and take care of him. She demonstrates God’s love by the way she loves her husband.
13She seeks wool and flax
and works with willing hands.
15She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
She is not lazy and has an incredible work ethic. She is showing God’s love by working hard for and serving those that she loves. She rises early to continue that work, and to ensure that she not only has time to have an accomplished day, but that she has enough time to devote to her relationship with God.
25Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
Life can be difficult at times, but she maintains such a strong faith in God’s plan for her that she does not fear the future. She stays positive because she knows of God’s love for her. She trusts God.
26She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness in on
She understands that her wisdom comes only from her journey with God. She does not talk simply to say something or to be heard, she talks to spread the truth that he has shown her and demonstrate his unending love.
27She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
She is constantly doing something to serve those she loves, to serve the Lord, to better herself, and to better her relationship with God. She does not waste away her day waiting. She has embraced the life that she has been given.
30Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is
to be praised.
Most importantly, she fears the Lord. We do not know how she interacts with people, nor do we know what she looks like. But it doesn’t matter. In the end, her relationship with God is the only thing that matters.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that these characteristics are not what make her perfect. What makes her perfect is her heart, and, above all, her faith in God. She is not perfect, but the God that is so clearly present within this woman IS perfect.
Every characteristic that is described of this woman stems from her love and fear of God. God is so present within her heart that He shines through in everything that she does. She seems perfect to us because she has centered her entire life on God, and that perfect love is reflected in the other areas of her life.
I will never be perfect. But I do not need to be perfect… because I am loved by a perfect God. Rather than looking to others to judge my accomplishments and personality, I will continue to look at the woman of Proverbs 31. Not because she is perfect, not because I want to be her, but because she demonstrates the faith that I want to have in my God. The kind of faith that is so obvious, it shines through in every area of my life.