I confess. It’s true. I am a thirty-one. And you may be one too. “Who me?” you ask. “A thirty-one? With all of my bumps, bruises, shortcomings and past?” Definitely.
I remember the first time I read Proverbs 31:10-31. I knew wholeheartedly the woman I was reading about was light years ahead of who I was at that time. I recall thinking, “How in the world did she manage to become all of that?” Her personage seemed distant, unrealistic—too lofty a goal to reach. She embodied a level of success reserved for a select few. She was precious to God and fiercely ambitious. As the years progressed I hadn’t heard much about her. No new insight into her identity, no new perspective. It seemed her honor was reserved for Women’s Day and Mother’s Day celebrations. And pretty soon, I’d have to be honest in saying that the phrase became a bit cliché for me. Yet every time I thumbed through my bible I was drawn to reread the epilogue. I wanted to become a Proverbs 31 woman—no seriously, and I didn’t want to wait until I was an eighty year old woman to hear it applied to me.
I cannot speak for every young woman, but I can say she appeals to me, my values, and the legacy I’d like to leave behind. She is righteous—an exemplar of community service, kind- hearted, compassionate, always prepared, successful in business, a great wife and mother. In order to achieve the level of success contained within those twenty-one verses she had to have a huge heart, tremendous vision for her life, wisdom beyond measure, serious capacity, managerial and work life balance skills. Not an error in her recounted. Wow. So much for me attaining that I thought as I looked over my past decisions and choices.
Yet recently I’ve started mediating on those very same verses each morning. I now understand that these things were not innate, but added to her. She wasn’t a perfect, super human being. On the contrary, she was just like you and I and able to attain all of these things because she walked with the Lord. Proverbs 31:30 states “…but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.” I understand this to mean she loves the Lord, reveres Him and is overwhelmed by the sheer awesomeness of who He is and who He has been to her personally. And because He is first in her life, because she walks with Him, she cannot fail. No matter what things look like, no matter what circumstances she finds herself in or what obstacles besiege her, she remains righteous and unmoved. She glorifies Him and thanks Him for His goodness by her impactful use of her gifts and talents, how she carries herself and handles her affairs. Whether she is attached or single, she is about the one and true living God, her family and her business. She’s a Boss before she starts her day, lands the deal, seizes the opportunity, receives the recognition and the encore—before she lands the godly man, because she started with the critical component. She started with an intimate relationship with the Lord. I am her and she is me. Although there have been times when I’ve forgotten. Although there have been times when I allowed myself to be in situations, circumstances and relationships—romantic and platonic, that did not honor this truth, I AM A THIRTY-ONE. And yes, that makes me a BAE too by default. Believer. Achieving. Excellence. Now tell me something, are you?