When you think of what it means to be a ready woman, what images immediately come to mind? Like me, do you imagine a woman who prioritizes her time, talents, relationships and resources well while smiling at the future simply because she is prepared? Is she ready for any change or challenge, taking charge of a situation and getting the job done now and never later? Is she fearless and flexible enough to adjust her life when bombarded with interruptions or emergencies? Is she a practical person, a realist, ready to count the cost and do the necessary hard work despite the oppositions? What makes a woman truly a ready woman? And is it even attainable?
When I think of the one person in all of recorded history who embodies the perfect, well-rounded ready woman, I cannot help but to think of the biblical woman described in the 31st chapter Proverbs. No doubt this lady takes the cake when it comes to readiness! Though she had to have human flaws that beset her, nowhere is it noteworthy enough to record. Interestingly, her name is not even mentioned. Though nameless, she certainly was not fameless. This lady was and still remains highly regarded by many as the ultimate woman – for more reasons than one. If you want to be a ready woman, here is one stellar role model to emulate.
My vision for Ready Woman was mainly inspired by this amazing woman and the desire to see change in my own life by simply following in her footsteps. For many years, I aspired to be the perfect, ready woman – and continually failed to measure up. Through much turmoil, frustration and falling flat on my face, I discovered that I cannot be an effective ready woman without first aligning my life with these four essential truths:
Truth #1: Readiness begins and ends with the heart. What we cultivate there will be ultimately seen in our daily lives. One of the first admirable traits we see in the Proverbs 31 woman is noble character (v. 10). Character is not something to be acquired like a college degree or achievement award, it is the outward manifestation of an inward life. It is a life faithfully nurturing first and foremost a relationship with God and then branching outward to the lives of others. Character comes from within. This is not a trait we often see in humanity, but is essential if we aspire to be a ready woman. You cannot be ready, in the true essence of the word, with the baggage of deceit and selfish living.
Truth #2: Readiness results from eager, hardworking hands. Here’s another nugget of truth we see embedded in character of the Proverbs 31 woman. “[She] works with eager hands. . . . She sets about her work vigorously: her arms are strong for her tasks.” (vs. 13 & 17) You cannot be lax and lazy if you want to be ready in this ever-changing, uncertain world; nor can your life be productive and meaningful while you merely sit back and enjoy the ride. The truth is you’ll be miserable, confused and frustrated. God made us to be like Himself – not only to be in communion with Him, but to exercise our God-given destinies while here on earth. And that takes hard work, but the end result yields a lifetime of soul-satisfying reward!
Truth #3: Readiness means making wise choices and prudent decisions. Here again we see our role model choosing right and reaping well: “She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. . . . She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.” (Vs. 16 & 18) Do you see a pattern developing here: This woman is not the passive, lazy type, she “considers” and “sees” the opportunities in sight and makes it happen. These choices, mind you, are also offset with godly wisdom and consideration toward others. You cannot be a ready woman and use others to your advantage. The Proverbs 31 lady was always looking out for the needs of her family first. She knew how and when to make wise choices and prudent decisions that kept her family thriving even through hard times: “When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.” (v. 21) We need not be anxious or afraid if we’ve exercised our God-given minds in making right choices and then trust Him with the outcome.
Truth #4: Readiness is the result of a woman who fears the Lord. Proverbs wraps up this chapter with a final word about his remarkable woman: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate” (vs. 30-31). What does it mean to fear the Lord? This kind of fear is not be mistaken with being frighten or scared about something or someone. The fear of the Lord is a reverential fear. It’s when we have a right view of God and live to please Him out of that reverence. Contrary to our personal beliefs about Him, we filter everything through the lenses of scripture. Rather than an impersonal God uninvolved in human affairs, we see Him as supreme and sovereign over all His creation; holy and righteous in his judgments, yet full of grace and mercy. This is the God of Love demonstrated perfectly through His dying son (John 3:16). A God like this should not only evoke a reverent fear, but our praise and adoration. This is the kind of fear we see in the Proverbs 31 woman. She had a healthy view of God and therefore was ready to live her life to its fullest potential without fear of regrets.
This is what it means to be a ready woman! If we uphold these four simple truths, we will increasingly become that woman. Yes, we can choose our own path in this life and may even see some semblance of readiness, but in the end, it will all be meaningless. We were created by God for a purpose with a God-sized vacuum that only He can fill. No doubt the Proverbs 31 woman discovered this truth early on as her life was a continual reflection of readiness. She can be that gleaming example to all of us through life’s tumultuous trials of what it means to be a ready woman.
Roxanne L. Griswold
An Aspiring Ready Woman