Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thirty One Thursdays - Acting in Readiness, Growing In Strength

New to Thirty One Thursdays?  Start by reading the Intro Week and The Value of Virtue.

Proverbs 31:17
She dresses herself with strength and
makes her arms strong.

Verse 17 is represented by the Hebrew letter Chet.

One day, not so long ago, when my son was just a wee little babe, I was carrying him in the infant car seat up the walk of long, shallow steps to my front door.  I must have been a little extra sluggish that day, because around step four I didn't pick up my foot enough to make it onto the next step.  I tripped and dropped the car seat, sending my 3-month-old, still strapped in, into a roll-over accident down our front lawn.  I think it was much more traumatic for me than it was for him.  Nevertheless, I still think about "the incident" every time I walk up my front steps, now two years later.

Have you ever tripped over yourself out in public?  Or maybe slipped down a stair or two with newborn in tote?  Or been the cheerleader on the top of the pyramid to fall flat on your back in front of the entire high school at the homecoming pep assembly? (This happened to a friend of mine, not me... thankfully.)  Falling is not fun.  In the moment you realize you're going down, everything turns to slow motion and you feel your stomach hurdle upwards into your throat and you think, "Oh poo... this is not how I planned it."

The literal translation of our verse this week is, "She girds her loins with strength..." 
"To gird" simply means to bind up with a belt.  In Bible times, everybody ran around in tunics. The tunic, if left ungirded, would inhibit agility and freedom of movement.  So it was important that the wearer bound that tunic up into his or her belt in order to accomplish the tasks of the day.

Biblically, the loins are representative of the seat of strength and procreation.  (See Job 40:16, Genesis 35:11, 2 Samuel 20:8, and Ephesians 6:14 for a few examples.)  And girded loins were a sign of readiness.  Exodus 12:11, describing how the Israelites were to eat the Passover, says, "And thus shall ye eat it; [with] your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it [is] the LORD'S passover."

So when we read that our Virtuous woman dresses herself with strength, we are reading about a woman who makes herself ready, In God's strength, to accomplish the task that He has given her.  And she does it without tripping up the front steps sending the baby rolling down the lawn!  She takes care to remove the things from in front of her that might weaken her. 

We have to remember that there are going to be days (or weeks or months) when, as mothers, we feel weak.  We feel like we can't pull it together to do what we need to do for our families.  This is normal.  No, I think you should read that again...


We are not ever-strong.  We are not super heroes.  We are not God Almighty.  I think it's important to accept this about ourselves.  Because when we see how weak we really are, we can begin really turning to God for His strength, which He offers to us.  And as the second part of verse 17 goes on to teach us, as we continue to ready ourselves in strength (by God's strength), we will grow stronger and stronger.  We are only enabled to "make ourselves strong" when we first make ourselves ready, clearing out weaknesses and stumbling blocks, in the places where strength is meant to be carried.  We have to take small steps to make ourselves ready, and then we will become strong.

So this week, let's hike up those tunics!  Let's clear out some things in our lives that are holding us back from freedom and strength.  Let's take one small step toward making ourselves strong, and let the cyclical work of growing in strength begin!

Read Colossians 3:1-10 at least once every day.
Consider how "setting your heart" and "setting your mind" on the things of God can help prepare you to better face those moments of weakness that the day will inevitably bring. 
Then take off one "practice" of the old self.  Bind it up, out of the way.  Get one thing out from in front of you that you know is holding you back.  And enjoy the new freedom that this brings!

"She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night."
Proverbs 31:18

Blue Letter Bible. "The Proverbs of Solomon 31 - (KJV - King James Version)." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 17 Feb 2011. < >

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...