I remember the first time that I vacuumed after my son was born. It was two or three weeks after he was born, right about the time that the meals from friends and family stop and you have to be a big girl-mommy. I was new to motherhood, new to stay at home motherhood. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by my lack of accomplishment in the domestic area of my job description. When I had envisioned being home with my son, I had pictured him napping most of the day and myself as little miss home maker, cooking, cleaning, and pinning new ways to organize my closets. That couldn’t have been farther from the truth. He rarely napped for long stretches those first few weeks, wanted to nurse or be held constantly and I was too exhausted from sleep deprivation to do much else.
I felt guilty and worthless that I couldn’t manage to take care of one baby and a house and every speck of dust I saw mocked me and my postpartum stretchy pants. So, back to the day that I vacuumed. I had finally discovered the miracle of baby wearing so I bundled Judah up in my sling and went to town on my floors.
And I cried tears of joy.
It might sound funny now but for me, that moment was the best validation I had felt since he had been born. Until then, I felt like I had been floundering in uselessness as I struggled to get him on a schedule, master breast feeding, colic, and a house that had suddenly become more than I could handle. At the end of each day, I felt like I had accomplished absolutely nothing and I felt like my value was slipping away.
It’s easy to attach our worth to our accomplishments. The more I accomplish each day, the more valuable I feel to my family, friends, and community. The only problem with that is there are times where our accomplishments aren’t as grand or as visible or even as obvious as we would like.
And maybe like me, you feel like your worth, the worth that you assigned to yourself through those accomplishments is dwindling.
Ladies, we’re wrong.
I came across this scripture tonight and new realization struck me. It’s referring to wives but I think it could apply to women in general.
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Proverbs 31:10 (NIV)
Proverbs 31:10-31 is famous for the way that it outlines the perfect, Godly woman. It describes a woman who is confident in her abilities, works hard, accomplishes much, and earns the trust and respect of those she loves. She is everything I wanted to be that day with my infant strapped around me and the vacuum gliding across my floor. I have tried to be like her for as long as I can remember, striving to feel significant by working to accomplish as much as that super woman did in a day. But I’ve had it all wrong.
Proverbs 31’s assessment of a woman of value outlines all of these accomplishments for this woman but the beautiful thing is the way it starts and finishes.
Proverbs 31:10 says that a wife of noble character is worth far more than rubies. Proverbs 31:30 says that “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
So, no matter how much money you earn or don’t earn, no matter if your business card says “CEO” or doesn’t even exist, no matter what your report card or performance review says, it’s your character that makes you worth far more than rubies. Your heart, and the refinement of the gifts therein, that’s what your worth is tied to.
Beauty fades as fast as a flower in a vase, and that charm that seems so admirable is fake. The thing that makes you praiseworthy at the end of the day is your love for the Lord.
Living a day full of character; that’s what your value is tied to. That’s where your accomplishments are measured. Yes all of those things on your to-do list are important to get done and yes it’s great to strive to achieve more but hear this; all of those things will never increase your true worth.
In those few weeks (and months) after my son was born my house wasn’t always the cleanest and the meals I made weren’t very fancy and because of that, I felt less than. The real value I was adding to my household though was somewhere else. I was loving another with all of me, giving my heart, body, and soul up for someone else’s good. I was building my character and beginning to shape his in the process and that’s worth more than a clean house any day.
Your character and integrity adds treasure to the lives of those around you at work, at home, anywhere you go. You are worth far more than precious jewels with or without that vacuum cleaner running, the perfectly behaved kids, the top job in the company, a bigger paycheck, or that degree you’ve been working on.
Like the woman in Proverbs 31, strive to do all that you can but guard your heart and mind from attaching your value to your accomplishments. Your character, your heart, your love for the Lord and the wisdom that flows out of that, that’s where your true worth is revealed. That’s what you bring to the table and like rubies on a necklace, you are to be admired and valued for that.