by Yvonne Gray Biswokarma
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Proverbs 31:30, The Message.
Having a bit of a tomboy reputation, I long ago gave up on ever being a “lady.” Oh, I read Cosmopolitan a few times and even tried out their makeup application tips. Results: smoky eyes like a raccoon and glossy red lips like a mime.
Still, the elusive art of being a woman continued to haunt me. It’s not easy to be the perfect, ideal woman whilst juggling multiple life roles and coping with wily hormones.
What does it take to master womanhood in this century? We have more equality, more potential and more opportunities than our grandmothers ever imagined. We are reinventing womanhood. Or are we? Some of the same virtues and characteristics of the liberated woman that we seek today are found in an ancient biblical passage. Proverbs 31 describes a woman who enjoys a life that is anything but subservient. She manages her home; keeps the local soup kitchen going; designs and manufactures clothing for an international market; dabbles in real estate; and is accomplished in agriculture. Apparently, she is also super fit. This scenario wouldn’t seem so surprising if she didn’t also have a happy home, kids who love her and a marriage that is not on the rocks!
At first I placed her with my other mental goddesses—on a pedestal, way out of my reach, somewhere next to Mother Teresa and Florence Nightingale. I felt guilty just reading about her and comparing my life with hers. But then it occurred to me that perhaps this “ideal” woman had the sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that God wants all women to have. So I went back to Proverbs 31 to research it some more. It was written as an acronym for the 22 letters of the Jewish alphabet. Sort of a pneumonic device, it was meant to be memorized and recited by generation after generation of young women. It was meant to instill in them the intrinsic value of a godly woman.
Today, we’ve crowded out most of these virtues with our focus on being sexy, having a hot career and staying afloat in the information age. I humbly submit that while balancing our lives between home, community and career, we could use a little of this old world wisdom. We could focus on being physically and mentally strong; maintaining positive relationships; planning ahead; avoiding time wasters; and being gentle with our words. After all, these traits still get positive results in life and relationships. And we might just be on our way to living like the divas we deserve to be.