About a year ago, my pastor did a sermon series through the book of Titus, which really began my search for what it means to be a Titus 2 woman. Prior to that time, I found myself struggling to live up to the infamous Proverbs 31 woman. As I’ve spent the past year reflecting on these two woman, I’ve come to wonder how they apply in modern times, to women who work outside the home, to women who aren’t married or don’t have children. Certainly the scripture is relevant to all of us, and certainly there are things that I can take away from both passages.
Behind this search is a deep desire to be the woman Christ has called me to be, with my own unique set of gifts and abilities, my own mixture of training and trials, my own pleasures and pursuits. Whoever this woman is, she has a very specific role in the church and in society. In the wake of loosing my son, and having myself redefined so quickly in a short period of time, from wife, to expectant mother, to mother, to…. whatever I am now… I’m looking to discover who God is calling me to be.
As an aside, did you know the English language doesn’t have a word for a childless mother? A woman who looses her husband is a widow. A child who looses his parents is an orphan. A mother who looses her child… perhaps it is so unspeakable we’ve never named it.
As I’m searching out who I am in the face of the journey God is bringing me along, I returned to Proverbs 31 and Titus 2. I made a quick list of the attributes of each woman.
For an older woman:
- She must be reverent
- Not a slanderer
- Not a drunk (not a slave to too much wine)
- A teacher of good things, particularly in mentoring younger women
For a younger woman:
- She must love her husband
- Love her children
- Be self-controlled
- Working at home
- Submissive to her husband
- Bring honor to God’s word
- She must be trustworthy
- Does good to her husband
- Works with her hands
- Looks for opportunity
- Feeds those who are dependent upon her well
- Rises early to prepare for the day
- Makes wise purchases
- Plants a vineyard (some note that this means she’s actually running her own business)
- Strong – both physically and spiritually
- Able to assess herself honestly (no false modesty or pride)
- Works late
- Earns a profit by her hands
- Teaches kindness
- Works hard (not idle)
- Fears the Lord
I don’t know how you feel, but I think the Proverbs 31 woman is still terribly intimidating. She’s like superwoman – she does it all! And the Titus 2 calling doesn’t sound much easier.
So what do I do with these two pictures of incredible archetype women?
I think the short answer is to look to Christ instead of focusing on a list of attributes. By becoming more like Christ, I will develop the fruit of the Spirit that will lead toward being like these incredible women. God cannot contradict himself, so by searching out Christlikeness, I will be molded into a Godly woman.
I think as women we are often driven toward the check-list approach. I remember as a teenager, praying through the fruit of the Spirit hoping to develop all of those qualities. I was so distracted by being loving, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled, I lost touch with the fact that apart from the Spirit I cannot develop those qualities on my own.
I feel safe with checklists, rules and regulations. Christ, however, isn’t about rules and regulations, nor is He particularly interested in my checklist toward becoming a godly woman. Christ is interested in developing me into a woman that reflects His glory and performs His ministry, which is never safe.
How are you searching out God’s calling on your life?