Proverbs 31:10-31 is a well-known and perhaps overwhelming and potentially self-defeating passage on how to be a valuable wife. No doubt this woman was the Martha Stewart of her time! Most of us can’t possibly live up to her perfection, unless of course we, like both these women, have household staff!

I’ve heard it explained that this woman really didn’t exist but is profiled as an ideal. She is the perfect woman we love to hate and can’t possibly emulate. But, as I shared Thursday (see Take Note, Not Offense), she demonstrates values and characteristics we can all adopt and apply; standards we can attempt by God’s grace, not measuring sticks with which to beat ourselves over the head when we fall short.

Yes, it's home made. But it illustrates the point, right?

Yes, it’s home made. But it illustrates the point, right?

It’s like playing darts. If you’re like me, hitting the board ANYWHERE is a major accomplishment. The bull’s eye is a lofty goal, but sometimes, by pure chance, when all the planets align just right, the feathers reverberate from smack in the middle of the center dot. The more I practice, though, the more accurate my aim.

The Proverbs 31 woman is our dart board. She represents twelve targets or rungs on our dart board.  And yes, sometimes we actually want to put her face on it and take aim!!! But if we shoot for what she represents, we have hope of hitting our mark. The more we practice, the more we will hit our target with increasing success.

Seeing the Proverbs 31 woman as ideal but not real gives me great hope. I hope it does you, as well, as we look at the first two targets today.

TARGET ONE: Being courageous.

Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies (10).

The word virtuous in the Hebrew paints a picture of strength, of a woman who is not easily intimidated and is prepared to go to battle. For me, this means deepening my relationship with the Lord so my faith and trust are so anchored in Him that my emotions aren’t easily shaken, and my neediness or fears don’t place extra strain on my husband.

A few years ago, I became obsessed with our fragile economy and its potential collapse. Consumed with fear, I persistently nagged James to pay off our house, stockpile freeze-dried food, buy silver, and…, and…, and…

When he finally acquiesced to a few of my requests, I simply obsessed with some other insecurity. Finally, he confronted me as the problem. He was firm, not mean, and he was right. My faith had faltered. I was trying to create my own sense of security instead of trusting God, and it was putting a lot of extra pressure on James.

When I got right with the Lord, I got right for James, and he no longer had to come home to a fearful, trembling wife.

Maybe courageous for you is trusting God with inadequate income, terminal illness, foreclosure, schooling for your kids, or provision for food and necessities. One of the greatest ways we can be courageous in all things is to know God alone is our rock and salvation; to simply trust Him and love our husbands, no matter what is happening around us.

TARGET TWO: Being trustworthy.

The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain (11).

I want James to know I’m trustworthy in all things, but it’s especially important to him to know I am diligently watching over our girls’ character and spiritual and physical safety and our finances.

Recently, I had a driving child take our youngest to the barn to ride. At dusk, James and I left for a Sunday school dinner, and he wanted to know where they were and when they’d be home. While on the phone ascertaining their ETA, he commented that this is the type of thing he’d like me to talk to him about first.

He wasn’t being mean or demanding; rather, he was communicating his desire to be informed about certain decisions about our girls. He wants to trust me to know which decisions I don’t need to involve him and which ones I do. Many times I learn those things by not doing it the way he’d rather the first time, but I become more trustworthy when I make sure I don’t repeat the same things twice.

With our finances, James likes to know I’m making good choices and not over spending. What this means for me is discernment. Some purchases, I know he doesn’t care about. Other times, he wants to know every detail. If there’s any doubt, though, being trustworthy means bringing it to him BEFORE I make a decision. I’m not always great at this, but I’m working on it.

What does being trustworthy mean to your husband? If you don’t know, ask him. And then be prepared to become what he needs. And remember: integrity is what we do when no one is looking.

This week, as the Lord shows you ways you can be courageous and trustworthy, take aim! If you miss, that’s okay. Keep practicing, and celebrate getting on the board!

Lord, thank you for the standards You set before us in Your word and for enabling us by Your grace and the power of the Holy Spirit. Empower us to be courageous and trustworthy as we become more wholly Yours today.