Thursday, August 2, 2012

You Just Can't Have It All (A Proverbs 31 Woman Rant).

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'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.


  1. I just sent a follow request on Instagram, rhawkins06

  2. Love this post. I often compare myself, my house, my relationships to other women who seem "perfect" and then I feel like a failure. Then I often wonder why I should try because I'll obviously never be as good as them, so what's the point? You know? For me the best thing to do is just to try to accomplish one thing at a time. If I have a huge list of things to do, I often get overwhlemed, so I'll just say I'll do "A". Then way "A" is done I'll try to do "B". And if I never get to "C" at least I got "A" and "B" done.

    Thanks for reminding us that we don't have to be perfect, and that no one is. :)

  3. ::fist bump::

    You hit the nail on the head, my dear. It's just not possible to do it all I think if you can fit some of those things in weekly (or monthly for some) then you're doing a mighty fine job as a woman and wife.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Well clearly I'm nothing like this Proverbs 31 lady. I mean I don't provide portions for ANY of my female servants...oh wait.

    But in all seriousness though Meredith, great post.

  6. Of course we aren't gonna to have our crap together every day, we aren't perfect, like this segment in scripture depicts, "a wife of noble character" not an actual woman. Do I think God calls us to strive to be of noble character though? For sure, just as we're supposed to strive to be Christ like which is obviously more impossible than anything...because until we meet Jesus in heaven none of us will come close to perfection. I've met plenty of Christian women who want to appear perfect for all the wrong reasons, but I have to also admit I've met a handful of straight up women of noble character who fit the Proverbs 31 bill, because they love Jesus and those their lives are shared with so badly. I can for sure say I'm definitely not there yet, and God knows my heart, so I'm not concerned about pleasing anyone else but Him. Great post momma, def a great discussion starter!:)

  7. I completely agree with you! Heck... it's just me and I can't even get everything done in a day that I want to.

  8. This is a great post, Meredith. The most impressive characteristic a woman can possess to me is the ability to admit that she can't handle it all, do it all and isn't perfect. But maybe I"m prone to surround myself with imperfection, who knows? :)

  9. Preach it, sister!! Great post, I completely agree. :)

  10. Thanks for posting this. Sometimes it's good to hear that it's ok to not have it all together :) And I'll add you to Instagram as soon as my kid is done playing Angry Birds on my phone ;)

  11. I agree, but I also think this was written to give us a goal. No where in here did it say "if she DOESN'T do this, she isn't as good as others"... which is where I think WE (as humans) mis-interpret it.

    I totally agree with you and understand what you're saying, and have had similar frustrations with people who talk/preach/drive me crazy on the subject. But, I also think it's something we should strive for, you know? And somehow be able to strive for that without feeling like we've failed if we don't. That's the hard part... at least for me.

  12. I totally agree sister!

    I do not think the Proverb was written as a checklist. I think it was written as an example. Much like the bible as a whole, it never says do these things and you'll become holy. It says, here's an example of a woman who loves God with all her heart and thus serves her family in this way. You don't need to BE that woman. I love your clarification in this post and I think it's a reflection of a woman who loves God with all her heart. :)

    Have a wonderful day!

  13. I think ultimately God wants us to say that we CANNOT do it with out Him. Because if we could we wouldn't need Him. :)

  14. I love this. Today with a to-do list so long, I managed to get dressed, clean the kitchen (except the floors) do one load of laundry and make dinner. Now I am holding a baby that won't let me put him down so I read a devotional and am now reading blogs.

  15. I put two loads of laundry away the other day while my kids watched tv and left me alone. I felt accomplished. No one can be "perfect" day in and day out. It just isn't possible.

  16. The opening verses to this proverb are interesting: is this king lemuel's mother's description of the perfect (non-existent?) Wife for her son ... :)

    Thanks for keepin it real, mere. It's so easy to get caught in that comparison game - steals our joy!

  17. I laugh in the face of perfect. I'd rather be real. And also all that work? Too much work. I'd rather be a song of songs woman. Heh

    Kidding aside. Excellent points.

  18. As one of the guys who started that page, let me clarify. We started as a mere status update not planning on having 15K likes. We use proverbs 31 as a tagline to mean Godly woman. It was meant as an encouragement ministry to fight insecurity. All we are trying to say with the page is that women should be focusing on Christly beauty not physical beauty and men should encourage that by showing what we value.

  19. I love how you touched on physical and emotional well being- because honestly, if I COULD do it all, I wouldn't be good for ME. I might be good for my husband and kids by meeting their needs, but I wouldn't be the best version of myself, which I think it important.

    I will honestly say that I strive for this, but some days, something has to give. :)

  20. Something gives every day or every hour or every minute. Right there lady, so glad that you can provide insight to this passage but not completely discard the wisdom.

  21. You made a lot of relevant points. There are so many studies on the Proverbs 31 woman. There's nothing wrong with studying her in the proper context. However, there seems to be this Pro 31 woman obsession, but there is little to no conversation or study about the Proverbial Man of Noble Character. I've been blessed enough to take part in a study about the Proverbial Man of Noble Character, and even that study was way too brief.

    Have you ever considered doing a post or study about the Proverbial Man of Noble Character?

    A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of
    understanding will acquire wise counsel. Pro 1:5
    Reprove a wise man and he will love you. Pro 9:8
    Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, Teach a
    righteous man and he will increase his learning. Pro 9:9
    ...a man of understanding holds his peace. Pro 11:12
    The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered. Pro 11:25
    A good man will obtain favor from the LORD. Pro 12:2
    A wise man is he who listens to counsel. Pro 12:15
    A prudent man overlooks an insult. Pro 12:16
    A righteous man hates falsehood... Pro 13:5
    Every prudent man acts with knowledge. Pro13:16
    He who walks with wise men will be wise. Pro 13:20
    A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children. Pro 13:22
    The sensible man considers his steps. Proverbs 14:15
    A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil. Pro 14:16
    He who is slow to anger has great understanding. Pro 14:29
    A man of understanding walks straight. Pro 15:21
    ...he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Pro17:27.
    What is desirable in a man is his kindness. Pro 19:22
    A righteous man who walks in his integrity-- How blessed are his sons after him. Pro 20:7
    A wise man scales the city of the mighty And brings down the stronghold in which they trust. Pro 21:22
    A prudent man sees danger, and hides himself... Pro 22:3, 27:12
    A wise man is strong, And a man of knowledge increases power. Pro 24:5
    For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity. Pro 24:16
    A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who makes haste to
    be rich will not go unpunished. Pro 28:20
    A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back. Pro 29:11

  22. If this post had a "like" button, I would be hitting it!


Thanks for visiting La Buena Vida and taking the time to leave a comment--I love hearing from you!

Please know that you do not need to agree with me in order to leave a comment! All comments that are respectful and not anonymous will be published. Thanks again for visiting!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Blog Archive


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.