In my speaking topic; Turning Hopelessness into Hope, there is a section that I talk about having a balance of healthy pride and self esteem. An example of this is the woman in Proverbs 31. While we should strive to be like her, at times it will be impossible, and I am sure if this woman really existed, it would have been impossible for her to be this perfect all the time as well. This chapter actually serves as a reminder to the integrity, strength, and heart motives that wives and mothers should strive towards.
A side note that I also share with this topic is that my husband has tried for years to get me to believe there is a Proverbs 32 woman who likes to rub her husbands feet and massage his back every night. I have yet to find proof of this chapter, and if I ever do, I am sure there will also be a Proverbs 33 husband chapter that is filled with how much this husband loves to hand over his credit cards and never questions his wife's purchases, and wants her to get her hair and nails done regularly, along with providing a maid service, and personal chef for his busy wife. :)
On a more serious note, as I consider the Proverbs 31 woman, I will break it down verse by verse (italic words are my interpretation)
The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life (she is trust worthy and dependable).
She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar. She rises also while it is still night and gives food to her household and portions to her maidens (she takes care of her family's needs).
She considers a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard (she is wise with her money).
She senses that her gain is good; her lamp does not go out at night (she is confident).
She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hands grasp the spindle (she uses her time wisely).
She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches out her hands to the needy (she has compassion).
She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet (she makes sure she and her family are prepared for each season).
She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple (she is not frumpy or sloppy).
Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land (her husband is respected within the community -he is not intimidating- he is a man of integrity).
She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies belts to the tradesmen (she uses her skills and talents).
Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future (she has confidence in who she is as a woman and is not afraid of growing old gracefully).
She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue (she is wise and speaks to others with kindness and truth).
She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness (she takes pride in taking care of her family and has found the balance of taking care of herself, her family, and her home).
Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: "Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all" (her husband and children love and respect her).
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised (she is a woman who puts God first in all she does).
Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates (the way she lives her life speaks to her character, she is a woman of honor and integrity. Her life is centered on God and her family).
I encourage you if you do not measure up consistently to the Proverbs 31 woman, do not be discouraged, take it one day at a time and focus on one attribute, beginning with centering your life on God's will and be willing to make your relationship with Christ a priority.
There is always HOPE!