Recently I’ve been preparing to speak to a women’s group about the woman of Proverbs 31, a woman who was clothed with strength and dignity. This passage made me think about common images of women today, with all our rights, demands, opportunities and modern ideals, which have many running around like mad women in a tizz with so much to do and never enough time. This is more often an image of the harried, stressed and busy - not a good look; at best tough and successful in worldly terms, but far from the image of strength and dignity.I believe there’s a danger for us, even as writers, to have such a tight schedule of writing, editing, promoting, selling, speaking, along with all the other commitments of our lives, that we can end up being seen by others as overwrought, frustrated and tired.
The difference between a woman of today and the Proverbs 31 woman; this woman who was so praised, and called blessed and a blessing by children and husband, had nothing to do with being rich, nor with a botoxed face and small waist. And it wasn’t that this ancient woman had little to do. She was incredibly productive, professional and acclaimed.Still, she was not so busy from daylight to dawn that she had no time to stop and speak words of wisdom or kindness, and to pay loving attention to her family. She seemed to go about her days, weeks and years, with poise, elegance, serenity and planned purpose.
This passage again brought home to me the valuable lessons that we can learn from the past, and especially from the stories and images from scripture. It also brought to mind an old version of the 23rd Psalm that I think says it all.
The Lord is my pace-setter, I shall not rush. He makes me to stop and rest for quiet intervals. He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity. He leads me in the way of efficiency through calmness of mind and his guidance is peace. Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day I will not fret, for His presence is here. His timelessness, his all-importance will keep me in balance. He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of activity by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility, my cup of joyous energy overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours and I shall walk in the pace of my Lord and dwell in His house forever.
Toki Miyashina, Psalm 23 for Busy peopleNot that the original isn’t also very beautiful, but what an appropriate message for us in the 21st Century!