Proverbs 31: 10-11
A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
I've been sharing with some of my friends this desire of mine to study the "Proverbs 31" wife... the "Wife of Noble Character". I get many of the same responses as I had initially - That woman is SUPER WOMAN... I couldn't be her if I tried. After reading it, I know that I am NOT her. Not. even. close! I think that God wants me to consider what I CAN be, based on the description of this "woman" - who again, I don't think is ONE woman, but characteristics of a woman who would make a good wife. The wife of noble character doesn't have to have all of these characteristics - although some I think are required, like the one I am focusing on this week - but not all of them. There are some things that are described that women today just don't do. We don't buy a field and plant it. We don't make our own linens and sell sashes - but we do some equivalent things, and I guess I will consider those as I get to them. But this week, I focused in on the word "confidence". Not just confidence, but FULL confidence. I started just by looking this word up in the dictionary, and I got this definition:
full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliabilityof a person or thing: We have every confidence in their ability to succeed.
I feel like my husband has confidence in me, considers me trustworthy. I just sent him an e-mail to work though, with the definition from above and we'll see if my "feeling" is accurate. I'll let you know what he says - seriously, I will. If I want to be the wife that God wants me to be, I need to be honest with myself, and my opinion of my abilities really doesn't matter. It's a matter of what my husband thinks and if I'm striving to meet God's standard.
When he tells me something, and asks me not to repeat it, I don't. Or, if I feel like I need to tell someone what he has told me, I ask him first if I can. But "full confidence" is much more than that.
"full trust" - does my husband trust me. With EVERYTHING. That, I'm not so sure about. I think that he trusts me to be true to my word. But does he TRUST me with everything - I doubt it. There are a couple areas of life that we have a difference of opinion on - well really, only one. And it's not that we really even have a difference of opinion, we just have a different perspective. I have a hard time talking about this one particular area - why? Because I think I'm right, of-course (I know, it's a pride issue). So, since we have a hard time talking about it, we tend to avoid the subject - which I guess is fine. It's not something that we have to talk about on a regular basis - but when something comes up where he might like to talk about it, I don't think that he feels that he can. In fact, I KNOW he doesn't feel as though he can. We've even talked about that before. Rather than go into the full details about this one area, let's just say, it's a matter of opinion, and my husband should be able to state his feelings / opinion to me, without me getting all defensive. It's an area where I can learn to improve.
Ok, so Tim just responded to my e-mail. He said yes, he has full confidence in me, that I'm reliable and trustworthy. I guess off the top of his head, that is good enough. He is not a man of many words :)
My trustworthiness needs to go beyond my relationship with my husband though - or else it's not my TRUE character. Do my friends consider me trustworthy? Does my husband think I gossip? Do my children trust me with their feelings? When I make a commitment, do I keep it (I think that would be more about reliability, but still the question fits).
I have recently encountered a pretty difficult situation with work. I'm out on medical leave, but still, I'm caught up in the middle of it all. It is a very emotional situation for me, and I get very upset about certain things that have taken place. There are people at the center of the situation that I disagree with. When I'm around people from work, I tend to talk about it. And I don't speak highly of the people who contributed to the situation. I feel as though I gossip. I've felt convicted about it, and I'm working on it. The fact that it's an emotional situation where the stakes are high, a very stressful situation doesn't give me an excuse to gossip - and I have been using it as an excuse to gossip. I truthfully think God used this situation to point this out in me. I've found myself an accountability partner (one from work, who I normally talk about the work situation with - so she would know when I'm falling into this habit) and told her about my struggle and asked her to help me with it. I need to learn to do better. Speaking the truth is one thing, but sharing information above and beyond that is gossip. It, in my mind, would make me not trustworthy to my friends.
Reliable. I think most people you talk to, who know me, will tell you that I'm reliable. If I say I'm going to do something, then I do it. If I make a verbal commitment, then I follow through. If I tell Tim I'll do something, that I'll take care of something, then I do. Sure, there are times that I forget, but that I don't think makes me unreliable.... because I think that is the exception rather than the norm. Everyone forgets at times. I have always considered "reliability" as an important personal characteristic. If you are unreliable - you are not being considerate of others. You are putting yourself before others, being inconsiderate of their time, or their needs. To be unreliable means, in my opinion, that you have turned the focus onto yourself. Reliability is really about others... the expectations you have given others about yourself. It's not just in terms of commitment, but in terms of character. Is my character reliable? Is it consistent. Do I say one thing and then do another? If so, I"m not reliable. Do I make commitments with others and then not follow thru? Do I over commit so I CAN'T follow through? If so, I'm not reliable. I think this is one area where I can say yes, I am doing well in this area. Could I do better? Sure, but I think I've worked hard to have others consider me reliable. My husband considers me reliable, I would guess that my friends and family do as well. Again, things come up, but they are the exception and not the rule when I have to fall back on a commitment.
I think I'm going to enjoy my walk with the Proverbs 31 woman. I think taking apart the verses and then pondering on one area a week is a good thing.... not too much to chew on, and not too much to beat myself up about. What I think I will find is that I'm good at some things, really bad at others, and some areas just need improvement. I guess it's not really "beating yourself up" about it, if you are just discovering the truth of the word and doing an honest assessment against it.