“As I sat on the floor one day, leafing through the pages of Remedial Recipes, Kooking with Konfidence, and101 Ways to Fool Your Family into Thinking Spam Is Really Meat, it occurred to me that Scripture didn’t say the VW [Virtuous Woman] provided gourmet, delicious, or even edible food for her family. It just said she provided food.
“‘I do that now!’ I shouted. ‘Cheerios count! Toaster waffles qualifiy! Technically, canned spaghetti sauce on toast is considered food!'” ~ Nancy Kennedy *
Are you a perfectionist? If so, I (Dawn) highly recommend Nancy Kennedy’s book, When Perfect Isn’t Enough. The book is recommended by Linda Evans Shepherd, founder of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) and comedienne/songwriter Anita Renfroe.
In the book, Nancy Kennedy uses humor and insight to help women understand that authentic Christian women can still be imperfect and used by God. I, for one, am so glad.
While I aim for the life of the Proverbs 31 role model, there are just days that I cook toaster waffles. There are days that I need a cup of coffee to stay sane (and you have to understand that I hate coffee, so I usually reach for the dish of Dove dark chocolates instead).
But seriously, sometimes my eyes glaze over when I read the story of this nearly-perfect woman in Proverbs 31:10-31. [Now is a good time to review her resume’, if you haven’t for a while.] I mean, she was a woman extraordinaire! I, on the other hand, have always been somewhat “burned out, stressed out, and just plain worn out” (to quote Nancy). Part of that is my temperament; but part of it is getting caught up in that silly perfectionism syndrome.
When I read Proverbs 31, I sometimes feel like this standard of perfection is beyond me ~ that I’ll never be able to achieve all that God wants me to be. But then God draws me aside in a quiet moment and reminds me that He loves me the way He has created me, and He has gifted me and given me grace to fit right into His plans. I don’t have to strive; I simply must rest in Him.
That doesn’t mean that I give up thinking through characteristics and activities of the Proverbs 31 role model; but it does mean that I look to God alone to help me live for Him and apply His Word to my calling as a woman, wife, and mother. God gives me permission to relax in His grace and rely on the Holy Spirit for wisdom and strength. The Lord will show me (and you) exactly how we should live if we seek Him in the Word.
God might point out some area of weakness. He might even suggest a strength in the Proverbs 31 Woman that we need to incorporate into our lives with His power. But He will not expect us to be perfect. That comes later, in heaven. For now, Jesus’ perfection is credited to me, and in Christ, I please the Father (Matthew 3:17).
How about you? Are you struggling under the expectations of others ~ perhaps even unreasonable expectations you have for yourself ~ instead of discovering God’s personal marching orders for your life?
Your Father God knows all about you, and He is calling you to simply follow and obey.
* When Perfect Isn’t Enough: How I Conquered My Fear of the Proverbs 31 Woman by Nancy Kennedy (Waterbrook Press, 2003), p. 56