Updated: Feb 18
To become a vessel of encouragement, one must first be encouraged. One needs to have a tank full, for it is only from the fullness within that strength will stream forth and help defeat the daily challenges. The book of Proverbs, which treats the issues concerning morality and life purpose, aims to educate and uplift its readers. One will find it to be a great source of wisdom.
In the book, Proverbs 31 sits to be one of the great wells of encouragement for women, especially immigrant women, single women, or childless women. The chapter is an excellent mentor to have. It speaks to the soul of the neglected, the rejected, and the ignored. Welcome, it becomes a great place of comfort.
Although the chapter gazes solely at the wife, its contents are relevant to the young or the single. After all, one is a woman first before becoming a wife. She should already have some of those qualities or traits the chapter speaks about before tying the knot.
Proverbs 31:10 (New King James): “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.”
Proverbs 31:10 (The Message): “A good woman is hard to find and her worth far more than diamonds.”
From these two versions, let us zoom in on four keywords that seem indispensable to understand: virtuous, wife, rubies, and diamonds.
By general definition, being virtuous is having and displaying high moral standards. In other words, having a good reputation, being righteous, honest, respectable, godly, angelic, immaculate, or from an archaic definition: being a virgin, celibate or abstinent.
A wife is a woman who is in a continuous legal marital agreement.
Ruby is a treasured stone believed to offer divine creativity, good fortune, and pure love; to bring vigor in someone’s life, impart spiritual wisdom, enhance intuition, and promote high self-esteem.
Finally, diamond, another precious stone, assumed to shed life, light, and intellectual knowledge, improve inner-vision, and exude invisible spiritual power. A symbol of purity and perfection, diamonds can make one feel unconquerable.
In passing, we thank the Message version for opting for “woman” instead of wife. It feels more inclusive. Being a wife is a status that not every woman has or will ever have.
When we look at those four words as a single unit, the question of who can find a virtuous woman now becomes who can find a right-minded, right-thinking, righteous, honest, honorable, respectable, godly, angelic, immaculate, and chaste woman? For her value surpasses the qualities and characteristics of any of these two celebrated earthly goods. The Message retorts she is hard to find. Yet, this premise does not deny her existence.
As previewed earlier in this text, if a man is looking for a wife with principles, then it is correct to assume that the woman already possesses a set of values before agreeing to marry. That should be the ideal. It will also be right to think she is an individual full of life experience because no one is born with principles. She either acquired them through experience or by a relative or a teacher.
Sadly, not every young girl or woman were raised in virtues-friendly conditions. Some do not even know what their roles are supposed to be until after the wedding. Others have never been educated on what to expect either before or within the marriage. Those who were fortunate to have received some teachings on the virtues of a good woman; either tripped at one point in their journey or they are struggling to maintain their good upbringing. After all, we do know who we will fall in love with or marry.
The description of the virtuous woman is enviable. We cannot deny the confidence that could come from entertaining the idea that we are more valuable than rubies or diamonds; our stocks are high. If we could grasp that revelation, this can turn out to be a life-transforming moment! Finally, we can selflessly love ourselves. We can deeply appreciate who we are. We can jealously guard our bodies, minds, and souls.
Regardless of how we grew up, being this woman of high moral standards who is trustworthy and all-around caring sounds unrealistic. There is first a major work to be done within us. Being honest, truthful, and kind to ourselves ought to be equally important as being it unto others. And this can take a lifetime. To love others without appreciating the very essence of our individuality and humanity is futility.
Second, our past can be hefty baggage. This baggage can also be burdensome, intimidating, threatening, vicious, judgmental, condemning, or oppressive. And life so far may not have yet presented us with opportunities to make wise decisions. We live in constant uncertainty and emotional turmoil. So, we ask ourselves, do we measure up? Can we measure up? It is not simply hard to find her; it is also hard to become her.
What if we desire marriage, however, we are tormented by past or even present sexual regrets? What do we do? What would God say?
He calmly says, “neither do I condemn you. From now on go and do not sin.” (John 8:11) Sin means much. Here, we will define “do not sin” as ceasing to do wrong, ending a life of wrong ways – one day at a time - one small, good decision at the time. If He, the voice of God, instructed us to do something, then we can do it. We should not judge ourselves harder than the creator would.
You are a young lady who just turned 18, 25, 30, or better yet 40, you alone can look back at your life and gauge what must change – what must go – so that you can live differently – you can live in your next level. Only you have the power to decide who you want to become. That power was granted to you a long time ago by the One who created you. Hence, acknowledge your wrongdoings, surrender yourself to rectitude - learn and improve. Aspire to better your inner being and your relationships. Apply yourself to live in the truth of your existence, not defined by worldly standards and mundane passions. Embrace the challenge of becoming hard to find. Of course, expect to miss it at times but then anticipate more overcoming moments.
And you become her – the virtuous woman - not to impress, not to score points with the community or get promotions. Not even to validate your existence. You do not need to validate your humanness. You were meant to be here at this time, whether your environment agrees with it. You want to become her, to live your life in full - to meet the best version of you.
So, if you know what the right thing is, do it. If you do not know how to do the right thing, ask for help. No person ever built a house alone. Today is always a chance to start over – a chance to build yourself to become a virtuous woman.
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