“She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.”
Strong women are not a rarity in our clan. I believe my younger sister may be wanted in three States for murder by volleyball spike. (Or at least for obliterating the eyeglasses of unsuspecting victims with a lethal swing.) And let’s just say that it’s an unofficial rite of passage for the young males in our clan to finally be able to beat Gramma Hartlen at an arm wrestle.
Strength is the subject of our verse for today, or more specifically, the choice to be so. You see, this strength is not simply a passive or genetic attribute. If that were the case, the verse would have read something like, “She was born with strength and her arms are strong.” To that, the jiggly-armed among us would snarl and get away with muttering “Lucky girl”.
Instead we can clearly see that the strength this woman possesses was something she brought about.
She dresses herself with strength.
She makes her arms strong.
Sure there are those among us whose frame and genetic make-up speed the process along, but the truth is that most of us can choose to manage our bodies in such a way that we are physically strong. The obvious exception to this would be the ladies who are battling physical illnesses and limitations that are entirely beyond their control. If that is you friend, then please read all of this with the caveat, “As far as you are able.” But for the rest of us, and we know who we are, we have to ask whether we are considering our long-term ability to live out these Proverbs 31 qualities and then managing our physical strength with that aim in mind.
As we add “strong” to the collection of qualities that mark the Super Wife, it’s important to understand that physical strength actually enables many of the other qualities we have, and will, discuss. Without physical strength and endurance, there is a lot of Proverbs 31 action we’re simply not going to see.
I’m no health and fitness expert and since there are a bazillion resources available on those topics, I won’t venture into specifics. But we’re smart girls. We’d have to have lived under a rock for decades to not know that there is a direct correlation between physical strength and our food & exercise choices.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: As much as I love sports & yard-work, I don’t like exercise. But as I age (That felt gross to type), I’ve recognized that this needs to be a part of my portfolio because I want to bless my family and others around me by serving and caring for them. I don’t want to render myself unable to do that because I’ve let my body weaken to the point of being vulnerable to preventable injury. And though I’ve trained my tastes over the years to love what is healthy, that doesn’t mean I don’t love cake & french fries as much as the next girl. But to habitually indulge is to choose weakness and disease over future strength and service.
I get that this is not as easy as it used to be. In bygone eras, a woman’s physical strength came as a convenient by-product of the physical exertion required for most daily tasks. However, in our culture and generation, it needs to be a conscious choice because, relatively speaking:
Our tasks are easy.
Our leisure is ample.
Our work is sedentary.
Our conveniences are many.
And our food is dangerous.
The choice to be strong is prompted by wisdom, fueled by a desire to live God’s priorities and accomplished with healthy doses of prayer & self-control. We don’t need to be she-hulks, but as far as we can, we should be caring for these super suits that God has fearfully and wonderfully crafted for us. They are a primary means of important service but can be greatly hampered by self-inflicted malfunction. There’s a lot of important stuff to do in this life.
Let’s choose strength.