So you want to be God’s Super Woman? You’re so busy with all your church, work, family commitments, you don’t have time to breathe. Overwhelm seems to follow you like a black cloud threatening to unleash its wrath. And still you are determined, do or die to get everything done you are sure God wants YOU to do.
You feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, days in the month, months in the years and years in your life to get done everything you want or have to do.
You want to be God’s Super Woman, but it feels like you are just super inundated and stressed with overwhelming responsibility. You want to do everything and do it perfectly. After all if the woman in Proverbs 31 could do it all, you should be able to, right?
If that’s what you want let’s examine it. The description in Proverbs 31 was probably not a description of an actual woman. Matthew Henry’s Commentary points out this was an instruction to Lemuel, who probably was Solomon, regarding what kind of wife he should choose.
The end of the chapter is a 22-line poem beginning with each letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order. Henry postulates that the poem was included in the chapter because it could have been a commonly repeated poem among Jews. It would be easy to repeat because of the alphabetical beginning of each line.
In other words, this describes the traits that would be good for a Jewish wife to have. It was not expected that a woman would have every one of these.
In addition, if this was a writing to a young Solomon from his mother, she would be telling him what traits to look for in a queen who would be managing the household of a king.
Many times there is a difference between what we think we ought to be doing and what God wants us to be. We won’t all be a queen or Super Woman, but we should aspire to have some superior qualities.
With the long list of things the future queen is and does, though, any woman would be exhausted. One piece of advice my grandma gave me when I got married was to always make my husband breakfast.
I failed at that the first month of marriage. And then in this great chapter of what a virtuous Super Woman does, it says, “She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household.”2
You know what this means, don’t you? My grandma was Lemuel’s mother! Actually, I think it means times change. This was one example not to be taken literally, just like “she finds wool and flax and busily spins it.”3 Or planting a vineyard or spinning thread, making her own bedspreads and linen garments.
Several years ago I thought it would be fun to take a quilting class with my daughter. My great-grandmothers were all quilters so maybe it was in my genes. I failed at that, too. I call myself “sewing challenged.”
What we as women have to focus on in this description, though, are the qualities of committed love, strength, energy, hard work, ingenuity, kindness, management, parenting and capability.
The most important quality is listed towards the end of the chapter. “Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”4
That phrase “fears the Lord” intimidates some. It doesn’t mean that God is a big, angry ogre. It means I must listen to Him as who He is—God of the universe, almighty King, victorious warrior, triumphant Savior.
Fearing the Lord is actually giving honor and worship to Him. I don’t fear, honor or worship the Lord when I don’t do what I know He has instructed me to do.
If you know my story, you know in 1977, I wrote in my journal a prayer conversation where I asked God how I could move “this mountain of flesh” that had become my body.
He gave me clear instructions. “Stop eating sugar. Eat more meat, fruits and vegetables. Stop eating so much bread.”
I felt that was impossible and dismissed it as such. In reality it is impossible without God’s strength enabling me. For His strength to activate in me, I first have to lay down my stubborn, willful pride and effort.
I do that not by working harder, but by admitting I am not Super Woman. I have weaknesses. I have failures.
When I do that, His strength will enable me to do what I couldn’t hope to do on my own. “For when I am weak in human strength, then I am truly strong, able, powerful in divine strength.”5
I can be God’s Super Woman, but only when I am fully submitted to Him. Until I fear, revere, honor and worship God and understand my place in regard to His place, I will only become exhausted woman.
An older and wiser Peter advises women, “You should clothe yourselves with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”6
The cure for the overwhelm of the Super Woman Syndrome is to quit trying so hard to be perfect. Quiet yourself and connect to the God of the universe.
Don’t try to be Super Woman in your own strength. Stop being Martha and choose the better thing7 that Mary chose. Choose to be in His presence. Long for it. Eagerly anticipate it. Get your marching orders there in that special place with your Bridegroom.
Maintain that connection every minute, in every situation and you will be energized to face your day doing only what God has for you to do because you are running on divine effort instead of self-effort.
I guarantee if you do this, the impossible will become possible. You will be “self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.”8 You will be God’s Super Woman!
What overwhelms you the most?
1 Proverbs 31:3 NLT
2 Proverbs 31:15 NLT
3 Proverbs 31:13 NLT
4 Proverbs 31:30 NLT
5 2 Corinthians 12:10 AMP
6 1 Peter 3:4 NLT
7 Luke 10:42 NIV
8 Philippians 4:13 AMP
Teresa Shields Parker is a wife, mother, business owner, life group leader, speaker and author of Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor and Sweet Grace Study Guide: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Overcome Sugar Addiction. Get a free chapter of her memoir on her blog at Teresa Shields Parker.com. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page.