"She girds herself with strength and strengthens her arms." Proverbs 31:17
I have felt led to do a series of posts on here that takes a much closer look at the Proverbs 31 woman. I have had a slight case of writer's block however. I could not see where to start. Was it with organzing and cleaning the home? Should I start with respecting our husbands? As I read the verses that I had read so often, the Lord worked as only he can and illuminated time and time again verse 17.
My flesh recoiled. Read the second part of the verse listed above. The first part I can deal with, sure,us moms and wives have to be strong. But,she did what? She "strengthened" her arms. She had time to EXCERCISE! She did everything she did and still took care of herself.
This was a new concept to me. I have never noticed before where this amazing woman did anything but work and sacrifice for others. She certainly did not appear in other verses to give much thought to her needs. She didn't even sleep for crying out loud! The word tells us nothing about he eating habits, but I think there is enough in verse 17 to tell us she did, in fact, take care of herself. It would take a miracle of God for her body to hold up to all she had to accomplish if she did not.
But why? If she had no weight or other health problems, why bother to excercise? This is the trap I had fallen into and where my sin was revealed. I am blessed to not have a weight problem. Now sisters, please do not hate me if you do struggle with weight. TRUST me I have my own issues to deal with, but weight has never been one of them. So I never worried about eating whatever I wanted, drinking my beloved Dr. Pepper, or working out. Who has time and why bother if I do not need to lose weight? I have too many other things to worry about.
Wow was I wrong. First, let's look at why the lady in Proverbs 31 may have cared to care for herself. She loved the Lord and His word and wanted to do what it said. So consider these verses.
"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" 1 Corinthians 6:19
" But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
It was easy for me to look past the first one. That was the standard growing up when it came to why we shouldn't smoke or drink in excess. I mean, I was healthy, so no special care is needed, right? I do not do things that are intentionally harmful to my body, so that is good enough. It was not, however. And it was also not so easy for me to looking past the issue of self-control noted in Galatians 5. The benefits of and DEMAND to practice self-control is noted throughout the Bible. I always thought about it in the context of things that were "bad" or had an immediate negative effect. Such as, I knew I needed to practice self-control to stay off of Facebook if there was work that needed to be done. But what the Lord revealed to me was that if taking care of myself for the simple fact that I am His was not enough, there was more. I was lacking self-control.
In 1 Corinthians Paul says "But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." (vs 27) We are to make self-control a practice in our lives, and what we eat and how we care for ourselves is as much of an area to practice as any other. We are to be doers and not hearers only, and as I heard from a wonderful speaker recently, the opposite of doing is disobedience. I had not only sinned, I was (gasp) living a LIFESTYLE of sin!
Indulging whenever I wanted was not practicing or strengthening my self-control. However, intentionally denying myself my fleshly desires when offered the chance for fast food or sweets would give those self-control "muscles" quite a workout.
Sweet sisters, I am writing this not to make you feel bad or to discourage. Caring for yourself may not be the issue with you. This sin was mine for the Lord to deal with me personally about. However, I wanted to show you how digging into His word can reveal not only sin, but motivation to do better when you haven't been able to find it anywhere else.
There are two books out currently by some very smart, believing women that address the subjects. The first is "Made to Crave" by Lysa Terkeurst and is written to more specifically address the issue of food. I had the priviledge of getting to read it before it hit store shelves and it is amazing. Check it out here. The other is by Candace Cameron Bure (yes, that is the one and only D.J. Tanner, lol!) Find out more about "Reshaping it All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness" here. Candace addresses a lot of what I mentioned in this post, and it is a fantastic read so far.
I do not know how often I will post, but do hope and pray the Lord will continue to reveal to me how he wants me to address each aspect of this section of His word. Won't you join me as I do?