By Michelle S. Lazurek, Crosswalk.com
When I first became a Christian, I had a friend who had a license plate that said, “Proverbs 31 woman.” Intrigued, I asked her what that meant. She told me that Christian women aspired to become a Proverbs 31 woman.
As I opened my Bible to read about her, all my insecurities and inadequacies were exposed. She seemed to have characteristics and a personality unattainable to me. She worked hard all day, took care of her family, and still had time to be a great wife.
She seemed like she had it all together, perfect in every way. She took care of her family and still had time to be the perfect wife to her husband. As I read, one verse stood out to me: “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come” (v. 25).
As someone who struggles with anxiety, this seemed particularly unrealistic. Could I really laugh at the days to come? As a “type A “personality, I worry about everything. For me to “laugh at the days to come” would mean I would never fear again.
As I studied this verse, however, it means something different than I originally thought. According to commentaries, to laugh at the days to come means to look upon the future with joy. When she is old, she will have no fear that she wasted her life because she worked hard when she was young.
When she reflects upon her life, she will look upon it with joy, knowing she lived out her greater purpose. This didn't mean she would have no trials or difficulties in life, but rather it was how she handled them that counted.
Now that was something I could attain after all.
Every godly woman can laugh at the days to come and live without fear. If we claim to love God and trust him for his will, we will always live out our godly purpose.
When we are old, we can look back at our lives with joy, knowing that we lived them with meaning and purpose. But how can we discover that purpose if we have difficulty discerning God's will?
How Do I Live Out My Purpose?
In society, however, it is more difficult than ever to live a godly life. Temptations surround us, as well as the ridicule of being Christians who believe the Bible and want to live it out in their daily lives.
As Christians, however, we can take comfort in knowing that God has a perfect plan for our lives. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
If God has numbered the hairs on our heads, he has a plan for our careers, our families, and our day-to-day tasks (as menial as they may seem.) If you are someone who wants to discover God's purpose for her life, here are five steps to discovering it:
1. Pray about It
We bring our prayer requests to God: our spouses, our children, and our friends’ salvation, among other things. But often, we choose jobs based on income or prestige. Work is an important part of our ultimate destiny.
In fact, God wants us to work as though we are working for him, even if we're at a job we dislike. Ask God what he wants for our job. Have you chosen a job based on income or the appearance of importance?
Our work not only brings a paycheck but allows us to be light to an unbelieving world. Approach your job every day, asking God for you to see it from his perspective. Who would he like you to talk to today? Is there someone at work who feels alone? Can you strike up a conversation during lunch?
Perhaps he wants you to be a light by taking on another person's extra workload. This may take sacrifice on your part, but being willing to help a co-worker when they're heavily burdened may bode well for you in the future. Ask God to help you complete the extra work during your regular office hours.
2. Trust Him
It may sound simplistic, but we often choose our job based on availability, proximity to home, or other factors. A Christian's life is not always one of comfort. God may ask us to choose a job that's outside of our comfort zones.
God has a calling for our lives, and our job is just a small part of that. If you are feeling drawn to a particular career, take the job even if the income is not up to your standards.
Ask God to provide for your needs. If you are following God's will for your life, you may be surprised how generously God provides for your every need.
3. Consider Your Field
The Proverbs 31 woman bought land because it would be to her family's advantage. She used her money wisely to invest in assets that would secure their financial future.
You may need to take an entry-level position now, but later may be able to move up within your organization with some hard work and dedication.
The Lord asks that we would be good stewards of what he has given us. If we are good stewards of the little things, he may offer us something bigger in the future.
4. Invest Wisely
Just as the Proverbs 31 woman worked hard and used her money wisely, we should do the same. Try hard not to squander your money frivolously. Save as much as you can and prepare for the future. Invest in retirement funds and put away extra money when you can.
In this tumultuous economy, it is difficult to know when a good-paying job might be gone. The Proverbs 31 woman was able to look at the future without fear because she worked hard when she was young.
She saved and made investments that benefited her in the future. By saving and working hard now, you may also be someone who can laugh at the days to come.
5. Focus on the Present
According to this passage, the Proverbs 31 woman worked hard and was a good mother and wife. Although a hard day at work may leave you exhausted at the end of the day, do what you can to spend time with your children while they're still at home.
Take time to invest in your marriage by having quality conversations and investing in your relationship.
When you were old, you will be able to look back on your life with contentment because you did everything you could to be the best wife and mother possible. Don't chase the career ladder; you may find it's lonely at the top.
Although the Proverbs 31 woman is a depiction, it is a good model upon which to build your life. Don't beat yourself up if you feel you don't measure up. Focus on the present, don't squander your time, and be a good steward of what God has given you.
Even if you don't reap financial blessings now, you will be happy with your life because you will have given God glory by remaining obedient to his will for your life.
Life will have its share of trials. We may work hard and find we never get the recognition or compensation we deserve. But knowing we have lived out each day in obedience to God's will for our lives will bring us an eternal paycheck that pays dividends in heaven.
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Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/jacoblund
Michelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.