To Be Used or Appreciated?

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Chances are that if you are a woman you’ve probably, at one point or another, heard about the “Proverbs 31” woman.  If you haven’t, read it here before you read on (specifically verses 10-31).  In some translations of the Bible this passage is referred to as “Poem on the Woman of Worth” and in others it is simply referred to as “The Ideal Wife”.  Shouldn’t all women be reading such a passage?  Don’t we long to know what Scripture tells us about what it means to be a woman?  Surely the answer is yes, and yet I read this passage and I almost want to throw my Bible at the wall.

The Proverbs 31 woman is tired.  She does so many things: she brings her husband profits, she seeks out wool and flax, she weaves with skillful hands, she secures her provisions from afar, she rises in the middle of the night and distributes food to her household, she picks out a field and buys it and from her earnings she plants a vineyard.  I’m only a few verses in and I’m already tired and this chapter goes on and on about what the “Woman of Worth” does.  Yes, she does all of these things, but who is she?  What about her character?  What about her heart?  Of these, Proverbs 31 mentions precious little – its focus is far more on what she does rather than who she is.

I wouldn’t dare to say that Scripture has it wrong, but there is still something lacking in this passage.  I want more about what a woman should be, not so much about the epic list of things she should do.  Then comes verse 25, “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and laughs at the days to come.”  Finally, something about her character, her heart, who she is as a woman.

In that one verse, the author of Proverbs sums up essential characteristic of the woman of worth, beginning with the fact that she is clothed.  There’s something about a woman when she is covered up.  I’m not saying you need to dump your whole wardrobe, buy a habit and only wear that, but women need to be clothed.  We, as women, single or not, have power over men by the way we dress.  Put on a tiny skirt, regardless of your own marital status, go out in public and you will be tempting other men to see you as an object rather than a person.  Pretty women inspire men.  I read an article called “The Death of Pretty” and it sums up this whole notion quite well,

“That special combination of beauty and innocence, the pretty inspires men to protect and defend it.  Young women today do not seem to aspire to pretty, they prefer to be regarded as hot. Hotness is something altogether different.  When women want to be hot instead of pretty, they must view themselves in a certain way and consequently men view them differently as well.  As I said, pretty inspires men’s nobler instincts to protect and defend.  Pretty is cherished. Hotness, on the other hand, is a commodity.  Its value is temporary and must be used.”

Would you rather be a commodity or cherished?  Would you rather be cared for tenderly or used?  Isn’t that somewhat like asking, “Would you rather live in a palace and feast, or live in a box in the streets and starve?”  Isn’t the answer obvious?  Heat is fleeting, it can turn cold over time, but beauty is eternal.  So what makes a girl hot?  (Thanks to The Bachelor for providing the examples below.)

Apparently, low-cut dresses that allow “the girls” room to breathe, and be seen.  By everyone.

Also, a silly laugh at all of his lame jokes makes you “hot” too.
Or, perhaps, just a short dress to show off those legs of yours.
So here’s my advice: if you want to be a real woman, a godly woman, clothe yourself.  If you want to attract a guy (or perhaps more accurately a boy), then by all means, dress “hot” or even “hott”.  But I can almost guarantee you that in his eyes, your hotness will fade and he’ll quickly move on to some other hot thing (thing, not person).  Chances are that if he sees your beauty, a beauty that comes from the self-confidence that allows you to say (more with your choice of clothes than your mouth), “There is a beauty that comes from within me, there is something mysterious and intriguing about me and I don’t need to lower my standards just to attract your superficial and fleeting attention,” then he’ll stick around, and his attraction to you will be deeper than your looks.  Clothing yourself, covering yourself up doesn’t say “I’m ugly” or “I don’t think I’m hot” it says, “I’m something worth fighting for – I’m a rarity in the world today and I actually value myself as a person, not just a thing to be used and thrown away.”  Think of what is rare and precious in the world: diamonds, gold, silver, rubies, sapphires – beautiful things.  Think of what is commonplace in the world: plastic, paper, yarn, string.  The rare things, the precious things hold the world together – they are sought after and adored.  The commonplace things are fleeting and are thrown away with yesterday’s news.  Which would you rather be?  Ask yourself honestly, would you rather a guy call you hot or beautiful?  I’d rather be deemed as “full of beauty” and I pray you do too.
Amanda Sloan

Amanda Sloan

Amanda Sloan is a woman after the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. Amanda is a Colorado native, who graduated from Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina with a B.A. in Theology, as well as minors in Psychology and Philosophy. Amanda, a director of faith formation, is the author of Worthy: See Yourself as God Does, available now on Amazon, Kindle, and CreateSpace. Signed copies can be ordered through her website. She lives in Colorado with her husband, and her blog can be found at worthy of Agape.

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6 thoughts on “To Be Used or Appreciated?”

  1. Avatar

    I think you exposed the girls by showing the pictures on your blog. We don’t anything about their characters. You ended up judging them by claiming, even implictily, they’re not a model to follow and, on contrary, they’re just bad exemple for other girls.

    1. Avatar

      You make a good point. It was not at all my intention to judge these girls – implicitly or explicitly. I tend to be a visual learner which is why I chose to include the pictures of the less than modest clothing choices. Either way, I believe girls expose themselves when they choose to dress in a way that attracts attention more to their bodies than their hearts and personalities.

  2. Avatar

    “Likewise you wives, be submissive to your husbands, so that some, though they do not obey the word, may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, when they see your reverent and chaste behavior.” From the Ignatius Study Bible commentary–“Peter envisions this as a dignified submission that earns a husband’s respect rather than a degrading servitude…The social order of the day is not directly criticized…Instead, existing norms are infused with Gospel charity.” Women of today can also challenge existing norms using Gospel charity and therefore win over those who do not believe in Christ. “Let not yours be the outward adorning with braiding of hair, decoration of gold, and wearing of robes, but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” Yes, you can wear make-up, clothes that are stylish and flattering (yet modest), jewelry–but your greater concern should be for your inner self. Find how beautiful you are before God without any of that outward stuff, and no matter what you wear, your true beauty will shine through. From 1 Peter 3:3 and following.

  3. Avatar

    It would be nice to know how you interpret the strength and dignity and laughing-at-the-future part of the verse, as this was your starting point. There’s a lot out there about clothing choice for women, not as much (that I’ve read) about strength and dignity and laughing at the future. Although I guess you were saying that dressing in a certain way exhibits your strength and dignity.

  4. Pingback: Proverbs 31: Woman of Action : IgnitumToday

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