(Winner of last weeks' giveaway is announced following this post.)
Welcome to Ruby Tuesdays. Every Tuesday I'll blog something based on an excerpt of Proverbs 31. My theory is she's in the Bible to encourage, not discourage us. As the world around me becomes more uncertain and I strive to do the best in the areas that I can influence (the people and space within our four walls), she's an inspiration to me. I hope she will be to you too.
"She has no fear for her household...
...she can laugh at the days to come."
Can you say you have no fear for your household--or that you "can laugh at the days to come"? I know I feel more uncertain of the future now than I ever have before. Paycuts, lack of side work for me, plummeting home value, uncertain health and well-being of family members...it can be hard not to entertain a little fear here and there, and it's certainly not easy to laugh about it!
Under the circumstances, I have to say that I'm looking more closely at the Proverbs 31 woman than ever before. Why did she have no fear? What did she know that can help me?
From what I can see, she wasn't Wonderwoman. She was prepared. I think she can laugh at the future because whatever may come, she's ready for it.
There's enough warm blankets for a cold winter, enough food put away for a bad harvest. She's got skills she can fall back on if needed. She's strong and capable and confident.
I have to say, the more I watch the news, the less of all of those things I feel. Our house value has tumbled like everyone's and we bought near the peak of the market. There hasn't been any recruiting work for me in over a year, and no one goes into ministry for the money.
And that's just the stuff at my door. The further out I look, the more things I see to be concerned about. But, all of that makes me want to focus on the things that I can control/influence.
These days I find myself drawing closer to home--cooking good food that costs less and feels like more; trying to make our environment more comfortable and attractive so its the place we want to be. I look a season ahead and shop for the boys when things are inexpensive so I know they'll be well dressed as they grow and the seasons change and budgets become more uncertain. I have a decidedly brown thumb, but I'm even slightly tempted to plant a vegetable garden this summer (of course, that's only if they decide not to ration our water).
And even though it's tempting to want to keep everything we have for ourselves, I'm actually finding ways to give more than I have in previous seasons. Somehow having something that can be shared makes this time seem less fearful. If I have more than we need, we're not doing too badly after all.
In these days of rising unemployment and falling stock prices, businesses closing and tent cities opening, it isn't always easy to say, "I have no fear for my household." But by keeping my focus close to home and looking for my confidence in the Lord, I can take each day as it comes and not let fear overtake me. After all, we've got promises like this to rest on:
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD,
plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
What do you fear? The literal storms that rage outside? The figurative storms that blow inside? Economic hardship? What are you doing to combat the creeping concern that things may get worse before they get better? I'd love to hear verses that comfort you, or steps that you are taking to keep fear at bay when so much of what we're hearing seems to imply we should "be afraid, be very afraid."
I know many of you blog from a P-31 perspective too; if you make a Proverbs 31-related post sometime during the week, you're welcome to use Mr Linky so others can see your post (please use the URL from the post itself, not just your blog URL). You can also grab the Ruby Tuesdays code and place the button in your sidebar so more of your bloggy friends can come along. I hope you'll join me on Tuesdays to discover more ways we can become the 'gems' God intends us to be.