When people think of the biblical idea of a woman, they generally think of a woman who is subservient, dim-witted, weak, and has no control over her life. However, when we see Gods picture of an ideal woman, we see the complete opposite -we see a woman who is in control. We see someone who is strong: physically, mentally, and emotionally. We see someone who carefully plans out her life and the lives of those around her.
There is nothing about her that can be considered weak.
“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. She girds her loins with strength, And strengthens her arms… Strength and honour are her clothing; And she shall rejoice in time to come.”
Upon reflection, Proverbs 31 can be discouraging to some. The virtuous woman is often attributed with having an almost superhuman strength. Rest assured, however that God did not put this ideal in the bible to discourage us – He put this in the Bible as a life for us to aspire to. Nothing the virtuous woman does is impossible. When we see all the things that this woman did, they are not all things she did all the time, they are all things she had as a matter of practice or habit when necessary. She has simply strengthened herself to the point where her mind, body, and soul are under her control. All this woman does is to put the necessary steps and preparations in place to make sure that her family is cared for.
Being a virtuous woman takes strength in every area.
Sometimes we can forget that we were made more than just spiritual beings. We were given a temple to house our spiritual body in, and a mind to control it. While spirituality is, of course, most important (as it is the part of us that is made in the image of God; Genesis 1:26-27), it is going to become harder to be spiritual the more that we neglect the other aspects of our beings. Our bodies and our minds are precious resources that we can’t waste. The more we keep our minds and bodies in control, the easier we will find the struggle to keep our souls in check. If you let any one aspect of your being get neglected, you’ll find serious consequences on the other aspects of your being.
[This post is an accompaniment to the "She Strengthens Her Arms" Wifey Wednesday podcast by the Light Network. Seeing as though I am a personal trainer, I will be looking at strengthening every area of our lives - but will give some special tips on how we can strengthen our bodies. Please go over and listen to the podcast to hear more about what Emily and I have to say about the strength of the Virtuous Woman!]
The Virtuous Woman Is Strong
She has a strong character, and does not rely on her husband’s Bible knowledge to speak rightly from God’s word. She speaks with a wisdom that can only come from a deep and personal relationship with God (Proverbs 31:26). Her faith is not just a head knowledge either – she is personally active among in helping the community and practicing true religion (v.20; James 1:25). The reason she is so strong is because she has her own faith – and has a deep respect for the Lord (v.30).
So many women leave the strengthening of their spirituality up to their husbands or other men in their lives. It is incredibly important that women have a spiritual strength of their own, stemming from their own Bible study and Christian practices. Studying the Bible in an on-depth manner is not just a practice for Christian men to hold to – it is something that each and every Christian has to do for themselves. When we speak, the wisdom that comes forth should be that which we have acquired through our own relationships with God. There are so many great resources that can help us grow spiritually – if we will just take the time to utilize them!
She knows how to provide for her house – and she studies the best ways to do this (v.14). She is organized and keeps things in order – this does not overwhelm her, because she is prepared and well organised (v.27). Her husband knows this, and trusts her with keeping things in order (v.11). She believes that she is capable, and is satisfied with the work that she accomplishes (v.18).
A major failing of women is that they often think that nothing they do is worth anything, or good enough. The virtuous woman knows that what she makes is good, and knows that her preparation is adequate – which keeps her mind strong (vv.18, 21). If we continually allow negative and deprecatory thoughts to consume us, we will find ourselves mentally unstable. It is important that every woman continues to strengthen her mind through learning, realises that she is worthy, and recognises that what she does in looking after her family is worth something. Failing to realise our worth or expand our minds through learning will result in a weakened mental state and hinder our influence.
She is not anxious or afraid for the future (v.21), and in fact, she looks upon it with joy (v.25). She is able to keep a sound mind because of all the preparations she has made – both for her household, and in keeping a positive and focused attitude in regards to both spiritual growth and daily tasks.
How we manage our emotions plays a big part in how strong we are. When we keep busy and prepare adequately for the future, we are less likely to be anxious and afraid. Realising that we have done all we can do and leaving the rest up to God goes a long way to preventing anxiety and depression, and elevating our joy.
She strengthens her arms, and prepares herself for the work ahead (v.17). She knows that her body is capable of staying up late and getting up early when she needs it to – though she doesn’t do this every night (vv.15, 18). In fact, she can have confidence in any task she undertakes, knowing that she has strengthened herself accordingly.
To do all the things that a virtuous woman does, we are going to need to look after our bodies. While I know there are some with illnesses they can’t help, there are many with preventable or manageable illnesses that get hindered in helping their families because of a lack of care for their temples. We need to make sure:
- We get sufficient rest
- We get sufficient nutrition to keep our bodies going
- We strengthen our bodies for the tasks we need to accomplish
The simple truth of the matter is that despite your best intentions, you can’t continue to look after others if your body breaks down. This is a danger many women fall into while looking after their families. However, the virtuous woman is one who realizes that she is worth looking after too. All of us are busy, but taking the time to “strengthen your arms” despite your busy schedule will go a long way to making you feel and perform better in every area. Do not neglect your health while looking after others – there will come a time when you will be hindered in your service to others for the neglect our body has suffered. Paul told Timothy that bodily exercise was less important than godliness – but he never said it wasn’t important at all (1 Timothy 4:8)!
Workouts do not have to be long or cause your family to suffer – here are some ways to work your workouts around your busy schedule!
- Start the day with a quick circuit. Working out first thing in the morning has been proven to increase mental clarity, productivity, and mood. Do 10 squats, 5 push ups, 10 lunges (each leg), and a 30 second minute plank. Repeat this 3 times. When that is easy, double the repetitions/time.
- Do little bursts of activity throughout the day. Pick a cue, and a series of actions to complete. Do 25 squats and 10 push ups every time you go to the bathroom. Do squats and donkey kicks (standing glute raises) while waiting for food to cook. Do calf raises while you brush your teeth. Stretch, bridge, and plank while you watch TV. These little things will make a big difference if you make them a habit.
- If you are working at a desk, set a timer for every thirty/forty-five minutes. Every time the timer goes off, do 10 squats and 10 calf raises 3 times. Sitting for too long has negative effect on every body. You’ll be more productive and feel great for moving regularly!
- Leave the kids with dad for an hour and go to the gym or a class a couple of times a week. You’ll be better able to take care of your kids and your hubby for having a sanity break! Going to the gym is also great way to get in some (often much-needed!) social interaction.
- Start following along with some at-home workout videos. I love the Catching Fire 30 Day Challenge – each workout is tough, but only 12 minutes long. I promise you will be sore after a few days, and seeing the benefits in a few short weeks!
- Use workout time as time with your spouse. If you have no kids – or your kids are old enough – then you can get out and get moving with your spouse. Go for a hike, a jog, or a gym workout and create some muscles and memories!
- “Workout” with your child. Instead of sitting at the bench at the playground and chatting or Facebook-ing, be an active participant in your child’s play. Play a game of tag. Pick up your child and swing them around. Swing on the monkey bars. If you have a little baby – squat and lunge while holding your baby, push your baby over your head, do push ups with your baby between your arms (you can play with her by making faces as you go up and down), and bicep curl your baby (both arms!). You’ll not only be getting stronger, but also bonding and creating memories. For some more ideas, check out this video done by a friend of mine.
- Get outside. It’s a simple and free thing to do, but one that often gets neglected. Take the whole family, take your baby/babies out in a sling/pram, or go out with your spouse for an evening stroll. The fresh air, sunshine, and natural surrounds will do you a world of good!
See my workouts page for more quick workouts for busy women!
I also really love this video for encouraging mothers to take care of their bodies. It’s not always easy, but looking after ourselves will help our children to see the importance of looking after themselves too! ❤
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In the end, the virtuous woman was strong because she decided to be – it wasn’t an accident. Because she determined to have strength in every area of her life, she kept her body strong, her mind sharp and focused, her emotions in balance, her relationship with God in tact, and did not have to be afraid about what would happen to her family.
Take the time to increase your strength in every area of your life – mind, body, and soul – and see how both you and your family benefit!
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