What does it mean to be a lady?
It no longer means to be dormant, quiet, and obedient. Heck, it no longer entails perfect hair and dinner on the table (thank goodness!).
So what does it mean? How do I live boldy, with my many opinions and my loud mouth (and lately unattractive hair) and still be a lady?!
Proverbs 31 has a lot to say about being a woman of God, and I guess when I use the term “lady” I’m using it synonymously.
And it basically comes down to 2 things…acting and speaking in love & self sacrifice.
The first part, acting and speaking in love, sounds easy. In my experience people are good at the speaking and slow to act. Words mean very, very little. It’s all great and dandy to sit in your small group or meet at starbucks and lament over the troubles of the world and your life. However, that does absolutely nothing.
Love requires actions. (Nothing bothers me more than strong words with little action).
And that’s where the self-sacrifice comes in.
This is the part that confuses people the most. Self sacrifice isn’t about losing pieces of yourself slowly until you no longer know who you are. It is about giving pieces away, so that when you look back you are no longer the same person…but a better one.
Michelangelo explains it beautifully:
‘In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it’
However, we are the marble and God is the sculptor.
And its further complicated by this thing called free-will.
God doesn’t come down and literally carve us into ladies (although sometimes I feel the pressure). He places circumstances and opportunities in our path.
And these…opportunities…are not glamorous or great things. They’re the self-sacrificing mundane daily opportunities to rise above. They are messy and painful and dirty and require a lot of strength (sort of like carving marble).
These moments are our chance to “hew away the rough walls” of our soul and reveal ourselves “shaped and perfect in attitude and action.”
A lady. A woman of God.
And no perfection will ever be achieved. And the self-sacrifice of everyday actions, despite no sleep, limited groceries, pounding headaches, no nap times, absent husbands, emotional crashes…. It will feel heavy. It will feel too great a feat…
“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.”
Ok, it’s not the same thing as carving marble, but harnessing my emotions, giving myself away day after day…I think it’s right up there in difficulty.
A woman who truly knows self-sacrifice knows what love in action is; she can feel the chipping away of her outer shell, some days are even painful. Yet, she continues to give. Not because it’s fun or convenient or people around even notice.
But because she knows her God is making a masterpiece in her and that it requires sacrifice and strength….and will result in soul shine.
Mary is a perfect example of complete self (life) sacrifice. Her world was thrown upside down and inside out when an angel came to her one night… and ok, I wasn’t there…but I can only imagine the lifetime of sacrifice and strength that was required of this simple woman to not only raise the King of Kings, but to also watch him die.
You cannot be a good lady, a good friend, a good mother, wife, a woman of God without self-sacrifice.