Starting my morning with intentionality has been key to structuring the rest of my day and when that one little habit gets out of whack, I weave and bobble throughout my entire day.
Building these habits took years of trial and error and finding out what works best for me. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I realized that the Proverbs 31 woman, in scripture, had the answers all along. The book or Proverbs can have many women rolling their eyes in disillusionment that ‘no one could ever meet the standards of this kind of woman’. But, hold that eye roll for just a hot second.
The book of Proverbs can be used as a guidebook of sorts to help in our formation, never as a checklist or judgment over us that we haven’t met the mark. As a matter of fact, Proverbs 31 was actually being directed towards men – NOT women. It was a mother’s teaching to her son on how to find a virtuous woman. In Jewish tradition, men actually pray or sing this passage as a blessing over the life of Jewish women. A blessing, according to Jewish tradition is a public prophetic proclamation about a person’s life, their future success and prosperity, and their birthright of inheritance, as it relates to their covenant relationship with God.
Proverbs 31 points out the virtues found in every woman and how they should use those qualities to bless those placed in her life’s path. The word virtue in Hebrew is Chyil. Just look at what that means:
|valor, strength, might, efficiency, wealth, health, army, strength, ability, efficiency, |
Those aren’t words of a wimpy, weaker sex here folks. These are strong attributes to our gift of femininity. So let’s see how we can start our day fighting like the warriors we were called to be with five simple habits.
1 The Proverbs 31 woman is a faithful bride – Despite our calling to the vocation of marriage or the single life, being called to be the bride of Christ means, submitting our very being to God every morning for whatever He has in store for us. Starting our day with gratitude and in conversation with God sets the pace for the rest of the day.
2 The Proverbs 31 woman rises early – Getting a jump on the day before the rest of your household awakens gives us a clear mind to speak to God in prayer, but more importantly, to listen to Him before the noise of the world invades that sacred space. (Making a point not to bring in distractions and time killers like tv and cell phones.) It also gives us the time to set intentions for our day and help our families prepare for what they need as well.
3 The Proverbs 31 woman needs a plan – This, to me, isn’t just about writing a list and asking God to help us get it all done, but looking at that list and being decisive in what God is calling us to do. Asking the question – is this task meant to honor God, serve my family, or a way to use my gifts for His work? It’s about using our time wisely and asking God to order our day according to His will. Having a plan is the key to successful productivity. The Proverbs 31 woman has great courage, she is equipped to face whatever the day brings because she knows God is with her.
3 The Proverbs 31 woman takes care of her physical, mental, and spiritual health – Taking care of ourselves isn’t selfish, it is honoring the Spirit of God that dwells within us. Honoring your physical body: start by having a plan for your evening meal and prepared snacks so you’re not grabbing things on the run that are going to run you down. Do some simple stretches in the morning and if you are afforded time, add in a short walk or 20-minute workout just to get your blood flowing. Honoring your mental health: take breaks throughout the day to just be. Pray, breathe, read scripture or simply sit and rest – a 5-10 minute break won’t throw your day off, but will help increase your energy. Taking a break to play is another way to reenergize you. I’ve taken to keeping a scriptural coloring book on my desk with some color pencils. It’s amazing what 10 minutes of mindless coloring can do.
4 The Proverbs 31 Woman makes herself available for service to those less fortunate – This is not an afterthought but something that is grounded within her. Leaving space throughout our day for a call to someone who needs encouragement, a friendly smile to the mom juggling a fussy child in the grocery store, or a helping hand for an elderly or homebound neighbor. This list is always endless and God always places opportunities in our path for service. Be attentive to them.
5 The Proverbs 31 woman is a good steward of what she’s been given – We are reminded in 1 Peter 5-7 “Cast your cares upon him for he cares for you”. The proverbs 31 woman can laugh without fear of tomorrow, because she believes this truth in the depths of her soul. She uses her gifts to help provide for her family. That can come in the form of being resourceful with what she’s been given (cutting coupons, shopping for sales, being a minimalist, being a DIYer), investing wisely (both with your finances as well as your time), and making purchases that bless her family’s future. Placing your financial needs before the Father each and every day and asking God to bless your work gives complete control over to Him, casting all your cares upon the Giver of all gifts.
As you create these simple tasks in the morning, you’ll be forming habits that will eventually become second nature. In time, you’ll even begin to see a pattern of how God is working in and through you. Pay close attention to this pattern as it is unique to you in this season of life. With your unique gifts and skills, you’ll find the calling that God has for you and those feelings of being rushed and without purpose will dissipate.
I hope you enjoyed your garden visit. If you did, would you please consider sharing your thoughts in the comments below or share this post on social media using the hashtag #gardenerstouch.