How a Woman Girds Herself with Strength – 3 Areas to Focus on: Tracking the Proverbs 31 Woman Series 23

“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” (Proverbs 31:17)

There was a season in my life when I was perpetually tired. I didn’t know the effect of this on those around me until my husband and children told me I kept saying these words over and over again, “I’m so tired.”

As a woman, and especially a wife and mother of young children, you might already be nodding your head knowingly.

You might even be having some helpful tips for a woman who is at the place where I was.

On the other hand, you might be a single woman who’s also in that season where you are also constantly tired. Could be because it’s that busy season in your workplace, or you are taking care of an aging parent, or you just have a lot on your plate.

Whatever season you might be in at the moment, you and I might just be in much need of a word of encouragement and strength from the Lord; a solution to our unending tiredness; a desire for a more fulfilling life.

The Proverbs 31 verse above tells us that this woman sets about her work vigorously and that her arms are strong for her tasks.

Just reading through the entire passage reveals the fact that this woman had the same realities as you and I; a husband to mind, children to care for, a household to oversee, entrepreneurial enterprises she was involved in, the needy that she’d not turn away from… the list looks endless.

I am thankful to God that like I’ve kept saying in this series, the Proverbs 31 woman is a prototype; a model; an example set for us by God, encouraging us that as women, wives, and mothers, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Phil.4:13)

But exactly how can we as women gird ourselves with strength so that our arms are strong for our tasks?

I want to look at 3 areas or faculties through which a woman girds herself with strength and how she can practically do that.

Reading the Amplified Version of this verse helped shed light further for me as I reflected on this chapter:

“She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.”

Keep in mind the words in parenthesis. They will guide our reflection.

Disclaimer

Before I share the areas and how; I must give a disclaimer here.

We are living in a fallen world. However much we try our best to gird ourselves with strength for our God-given task, we will never experience the full expression of rest here on earth until we rest in eternity as we’ve been promised in God’s Word.

However, as we follow God’s principles, God will strengthen us. The effects of our tiredness, marred by the fallenness around us, will be much less. We won’t experience them as much as we would have if we were not following God’s way in this matter.

Keep in mind the fact that when we are clear that it is God’s task that we are seeking to fulfill, God promises us rest.

For instance, as a young mother seeking to raise a godly offspring, you are already right in the center of God’s will; of raising a godly offspring. (Mal.2:15) God’s grace abounds in abundance despite the enormity of the task. He will enable you by his strength.

This brings me to this question: Where does our strength come from? Who is the source of this strength we are seeking as women?

The Bible, through the words of David and the prophet Isaiah, gives us a clue. David begins the words of Psalm 18 with these words:

“I love you, O LORD, my strength.”

He continues to say:

“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” (Vs 32)

The prophet says:

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Is.40:31)

These 3 references, and many others we may not get to in this post, answer our question; it is God who is not only our strength, he is the source of the strength we need to do his will.

Let’s now get into the 3 areas of how to tap into this strength, together with acquiring the wisdom we need to strengthen our arms.

  1. The Spiritual Faculty

From the scriptures, we understand that man is made up of spirit, soul, and body. (1Thess.5:23) Our spiritual faculty is that part of us that connects with God very deeply and personally. Jesus reminded us that God is Spirit and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth. (Jn.4:24)

Because God is the source of our strength, we will get access to his strength when we connect with him.

How do we connect with God?

When we are already in a relationship with him through his Son Jesus Christ in that we have repented of our sins toward him and put our faith in his Son as our Lord and savior, we have access to God. Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. (Jn.14:6)

We have access to him through prayer and as we interact with him through his Word, the Bible. We get to know his will through his Word, and we then respond to him in prayer.

I find it very practical to wake up a little earlier. I then take time to commune with God by reading and reflecting on his Word. I then pray to him.

This custom has been so helpful because I find that I have the inner strength and peace to go about my tasks as well as in relating with those around me aright.

Fasting is also another way we get strengthened spiritually.

By saying no to the flesh and its intense desire for food, we can concentrate more on God. Through reading his Word, we get to know that it is as we fast that God brings about his purposes in and through our lives in a deeper greater way; including helping us do our tasks with his blessing and hand upon us. We find we are accomplishing a lot more, for his glory.

I have found myself, for instance, accomplishing a task such as a writing project, faster and with more clarity than if I had done it without seeking his help and connecting with God in his Word, in prayer, and as I fast, as a custom.

(By the way, in case you’d like more insight into the Proverbs 31 passage,  you can buy our book based on this passage right here on Amazon.)

  1. The Mental Faculty

The mental faculty is that part of us that relates to the mind. (Google)That which relates to the mind covers our will, intellect, and emotions. I want to believe it is that part that points to the ‘me’; the soul.

For me to experience strength mentally, I must be growing my mental capacity as a woman. Building my mental capacity will help you and me grow the mental muscle to handle issues that need the mind.

The internet abounds with knowledge about how to build your mental muscle. Covering all that may be the subject of a full blog post!

I want to focus on an aspect that I feel would be helpful for us. I get it from Mark.12:30, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. My focus, therefore, is loving the Lord my God with all my mind.

How do I love the Lord with all my mind? I love him by exercising my mind unto godliness. I do this by feeding my mind with that which will equip it unto godliness.

Just reading God’s Word daily and meditating on it, trains my mind to exercise godliness in real life.

Taking time to capture what God is saying to me in his Word in a way to journal, prepares my mind to get exercised unto godliness.

Journaling those most important people, places, and events in my life in light of what God is doing around me helps me exercise my mind unto godliness.

What of reading a good book that helps me learn something new as well as in helping me stretch my mind to think and reflect on what I’m reading? I’ll talk more about this in the next blog post. This exercise helps me build my mental capacity for the glory of God.

The Ecclesiastes writer rightly said that of making many books there is no end; (12:12) implying that, to much learning, there is no end. We keep learning and hence glorifying God in this.

Only, ensure that what you’re reading is edifying to the soul and spirit; not filling you with junk and unnecessary stuff.

What of listening to edifying teaching and or preaching as you do your chores around the house, then pausing to reflect on what you’ve heard and learned?

What of being part of a training or course that equips you and helps you to better serve the purposes of God?

I believe these are all activities that will help you love the Lord your God with all your mind.

  1. The Physical Faculty

Our physical faculty is sometimes the most neglected faculty of them all, especially by your usual godly woman, especially the SAHM like me.

You might though have read this post thus far and you’re thinking, I’m not doing so badly in this one; for me, it is the first one!

Whichever area presents more need for you, I’m hoping God will help you make the necessary changes to your life so you can live a fuller more meaningful life.

Only in the recent past have I found a rhythm that works to help me build my physical muscle to handle life and its issues.

I’m not fully there though, I’m probably at 60% if I were to rate myself.

You see, the physical faculty is so important. The Proverbs 31 woman girds herself with strength. She sets about her work vigorously, her arms being strong for her tasks.

She needs to be physically strong continually to be able to accomplish this.

Under this faculty, we’re asking: What does she do to ensure that she is strong physically, to handle the tasks ahead?

I think of exercise, this overrated activity that deludes many of us, especially regarding consistency.

I’m not sure I know of a woman who doesn’t know the importance of exercise. We do know. The struggle comes in knowing how to and the rhythm that would work for us.

I found a rhythm that has worked for me for several months now; taking a walk up and down a fairly steep quiet hillside as I pray, for a total of twenty to thirty minutes each day.

The secret for me was combining this with prayer. That helped me to be consistent, to date.

What rhythm would work for you?

Together with exercise, settling on a nutritious diet that would help you get the nutrients you need while maintaining a healthy lifestyle, would be a worthy rhythm. This is not an easy one for me but I’m working on this.

The internet abounds with advice for us as women, wives, and mothers on suitable diets. I’m certain God will lead you. Establishing the right diet for you and your household will be critical in helping you experience wholeness in your body. This will help you to have the strength to carry out your tasks without always feeling demotivated and sluggish.

I mustn’t end this one by adding that rest will be critical to this whole rhythm of girding ourselves with strength.

Work…work…work without rest makes an unproductive stressed-out woman.

God has designed our bodies to work as well as to rest. We could learn a principle or two from the fact that God instituted the Sabbath for his people in the Old Testament. They had to rest on the sabbath.

I learn from this that it is God’s will for me to rest after working hard. In resting, I’m giving my body time to rejuvenate. I come back to work with renewed vigor after resting. That means I will accomplish more by simply taking time off to rest, at least one day each week.

For a mother with small children and a busy household, it may simply mean taking a few hours off each week; or perhaps an hour each day just to rest and reflect.

Taking time to rest will be critical for you if you want to experience the strength to do the tasks ahead.

I’m hopeful this has been helpful for you as you seek to pattern your life after God’s will in being the woman, and or wife, and or mother, that God wants you to be!

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