I Can Do Proverbs 31 In The Summer

31 08 2010

Did a quick scan of the News feed on Facebook today and there it is in print, the bemoaning of the end of summer, the anticipation of buying things suitable for a lunch, and all the “don’t-tell-anyone-but-I-am-secretly-glad-school-is-around-the-corner” posts by moms.

It has been a quiet summer for me, quiet in that really enjoyable sense with the whole “schedule thing” dropping out of sight; I wasn’t sorry to see it go. It was also quiet because everyone had something to do this summer. I did miss seeing my crew every day, but I loved hearing how much fun everyone was having; it was a great summer. Still great if you count the Red-haven peaches which are ripe right now; pleasure in a bowl.

I don’t know how one would describe the other months of the year, but September looms. It is like this big thing around the corner; I will admit, the word that comes to mind is, “yikes!” So, it is almost annoying to me that, on the Bible reading guide I am following, Proverbs 31 falls on the last day of August. Sigh.

She has no fear, this Proverbs 31 woman. She laughs at the days to come. There is not a hint of dread in these verses (maybe they were written at the end of June). She makes things with her hands. She is clothed with strength and dignity. She speaks with wisdom, and her instructions are good. She shows good leadership, manages the house well and is never idle. She has outstanding, praiseworthy qualities. It makes me wonder, “Is this woman even real? And why isn’t there a Proverbs 31 man?” I digress…

Did all of this come naturally to her, or did she sit on the edge of her bed in the morning and say, “You can do it!” I mean, how much self-talk went into this woman’s routines? I can do Proverbs 31 in the summer when I feel well rested, but add a kazillion things to the list and I’m not feelin’ it so much.

If I could pick one quality that I would like to own today it would be the ability to laugh at the days to come.  I over-think; I take things too seriously; and I internalize too much. But how do I not do this?  I already know the answer to this, it is to continually own what Jesus is saying to me.  He wants to show me how to live freely and lightly, but I keep putting weight onto the day.

This morning I was listening to my iPod in bed, listening to the book of Acts in preparation for the Fall. It really struck me how many times I heard “…and the Holy Spirit said…” and then the people responded.  I lay there thinking about how many times the Holy Spirit has said something directly to me, and I responded (fewer times than I would like). The Holy Spirit is always right.  Funny how great you feel when you know you are doing what is right (there are exceptions, like when the Holy Spirit asks you to do something really hard, that doesn’t feel great in the moment).

Every year (probably about this time) I find myself asking, “Why don’t you listen more?” I am a race-ahead kind of person and hope God blesses, rather than the reverse. It is no wonder I sometimes dread the days to come; I could be racing headlong into a wall.

The real key to the whole Proverbs 31 thing comes at the end when it says, “a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” A woman who fears the Lord can laugh at the days to come because, though not all the days are known to her, they are all known to Jesus. A woman who fears the Lord has inside information which allows her to to set her burdens down and have peace in the moment. Isn’t that what we are all after, I mean if you really boil it all down to one thing? Peace.

I am not much for resolutions, but I don’t want to walk around with a concerned look on my face this year. The truth is, though, 5 minutes from now something could happen that could put a knot in my stomach. Isn’t that true? How am I going to laugh then?

Well, it won’t happen on its own. It won’t happen by avoiding signs of conflict. It won’t be by isolation. It won’t even be by simplifying my schedule. People think that; people think if only they can get their life down to the very basics, and handle the most minimal of responsibilities only, they will have a sense of peace.

The absence of community does mean fewer people to argue with, but then I have decided to live outside of God’s plan. God wants us to work in circles, so what about that?  And busy and not busy is not the ballgame either. I have been incredibly busy and have experienced heaps of joy; and I have had nothing on my plate and in the quietness been almost strangled by fear or sadness or worry.

C.S. Lewis said it best and this is what I need to return to minute by minute, in the middle of the quiet and in the middle of the whirlwind of life: “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

God I just have to pray that you would be before me and behind me and beside me as I walk into this new season. Don’t let me get ahead and don’t let me disappear, but to look at you first and then stare down the day — just one day — and live it well.

— Teresa Klassen




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