FOCUS VERSES FOR THIS WEEK: PROVERBS 31: 14, 18, 20, 26
You’ve made it! The final week of the Rising Up Challenge is here and I pray God is moving you in big ways. This week’s challenge is a little…well, challenging. To me, it was the most fun, but time consuming. I think that this part of the challenge, however, has several aspects within it that need to really be focused on (hence the four focus verses for the week).
In the previous weeks, we discussed different characteristics that are described in Proverbs 31 that explain sort of what the “perfect” woman is. Obviously, we aren’t going to reach perfection until we are with the Lord, but I think that striving to do our best in discovering the woman God created us to be is significant in our relationship with Christ, as wives, as mothers, and as women of God in general. I listened to a podcast from Proverbs 31 Ministries recently that really focuses on becoming a Proverbs 31 woman more and I’d highly suggest you take the time to listen by following this link here.
Let’s look at the chapter again from biblegateway.com with the focus verses for this week bolded for your reference:
[d] An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself[e] with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[f]
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
There’s a lot of verses to focus on this week and I know at a first glance they sort of seem to not really go together. Stay with me here! It all flows together in an organized fashion like the rest of the chapter.
Doing things that are easier instead of better is a touchy subject in a lot of different areas, especially with pressures of social media. So your kid had Goldfish crackers for lunch and has mismatched shoes on (yes…this has been a true scenario of my life in the middle of our favorite place, Target). Does this make you a bad mom? To some people, yep. Sure does. To others, they’re throwing up high fives because every tiny human has their clothes on still and none of them are licking the cart today.
Doing things for yourself AND other people is hard when you’re a busy person. How can it be possible to serve others with a busy schedule? It seems like it simply won’t happen and if you neglect taking care of yourself…well, we won’t even go there. The thing is, quality over quantity is something incredibly important when it comes to the wisdom given from Proverbs 31.
My final part of the Rising Up Challenge for you is about more than buying organic fruit or doing a random act of kindness every day. When you first read the focus verses, that can kind of seem like what is being suggested in some ways. It’s not. It’s about quality over quantity in how we serve others and glorifying the Lord with our actions and words always.
WEEK 4 CHALLENGE: QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
FOCUS VERSES: PROVERBS 31: 14, 18, 20, 26
Here’s why I chose these verses:
- Investing yourself rather than just being present for somethings creates a closeness with those you are serving that is rich. You can understand others on a better level.
- It can take more time, but doing what is best always feels better in the end.
- Verse 20 explicitly says that she opens her hands to the needy. When we are able to help someone and in the position to do it, DO IT.
For some, serving with a full heart is easy. For others, it’s hard to think about adding just a little more to your plate. It doesn’t have to involve doing more, however. It just has to involve doing things differently. For example, I had been volunteering at our church in the children’s ministry for about 5 years and recently stepped down because I could feel that it wasn’t something my entire heart was in anymore.
Did I feel guilty for not serving at our church in this way? Sure…at first. As I focused more on the reasons why I stepped away, it became more clear to me that it wasn’t what was best for anyone. I wasn’t able to serve my family best because I was unhappy doing something that was starting to feel like an obligation rather than something I enjoyed after doing it for so long. I wasn’t able to rest enough. I was stressing myself out making sure I got there and did what I needed to. I wasn’t going to church when I volunteered. There were several factors.
My point is, do something your heart yearns for. Do something that gives you joy and fills your cup while also filling others. My mom, brother, and I did a service project at Feed My Starving Children and I can’t even begin to express how full my heart was. THAT is the kind of thing I needed to do to serve the Lord and others. Quality over quantity.
Serving better rather than more helps with:
- recognizing your spiritual gifts
- others AND you
- spread and demonstrate the love of Christ
Just a reminder, these are things that helped me personally. If you want to try something a little different to help you get things done in a way that glorifies God better, do it!
- LISTENING PRAYER!
- write down a few things that you are passionate about and ask the Lord to speak to you on what you can do to help serve Him and others with this passion
- Research different ways you can serve and commit to ONE day a month (at first) on how you can serve others in a way that brings you joy and demonstrates the love of Christ
- Choose better verses easier at least once a week.
- This can include something as small as not eating out more than once a week. It is still serving your family and the Lord if you are choosing better and working with willing hands.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- Get a group together to serve with! It’s much less intimidating and helps to get others to discover the woman/person God created them to be.
- Think about what areas you can serve your family even just a little bit more in and do it without hesitation just once. See how it goes. Then try again the next time. I chose to take my kiddos to the park at least twice in one week and it helped my patience, their energy, and more!
- Pray before serving (family or others) about demonstrating the love of Christ as best as you can with willing hands and a joyful heart.
- Have compassion for those who need the Lord and extend His love towards them by helping when the opportunity presents itself. That’s what we are called to do as Christians, after all, isn’t it?
Go demonstrate Christ’s love by serving as best as you can! Remember, quality over quantity. Thank you so much for those who have joined us through this challenge that God put on my heart to share. I’m so incredibly grateful you chose to participate in the Rising Up Challenge! Don’t forget to share your experiences with your friends and family. Get ready for a new challenge coming your way next week!