While the three homes my family has lived in have all been new construction, only with our first home were we actually involved from the beginning of the building process. We got to watch it from the ground up, choose the finishes and colors, and see each phase as it was finished. It was an exciting day when we actually closed on the house and were able to move in!
While that’s not exactly the work that’s being referred to in Proverbs 14:1, many of the same principles apply.
“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”
I thought it would be appropriate to finish our series on becoming a wise woman with a verse that tells us exactly what a wise woman does!
As women, God has given us an amazing amount of influence in our homes. We often set the mood – for better or worse. It’s a lot of responsibility that can only be properly undertaken as we seek God’s help.
When we look at what it means to build our homes, I liked what Ellicott’s commentary on this verse says. “Each person and each good work throughout the household grows, as it were, under her fostering hand.” I think the perfect commentary on this verse, however, is in Proverbs 31:10-31. Every detail that’s shared about the virtuous woman fits the description of one who is building her house.
For today’s post though, I wanted to think of specific ways we can build our house that are also related to the actual task of building a physical house. Let’s look at what it takes to build a house, and, in contrast, how we might be tearing it down.
Here are a few items we’d need to build a house, in the physical and the spiritual sense.
- A plan to follow. I don’t believe anyone would build a house without first thinking through its overall design. A blueprint makes sure that the dishwasher actually ends up in the kitchen! The best place for us to find a plan for building our homes is in God’s Word. It tells us how to do marriage, parenting, and life in general in a way that will bring glory to Him and fulfill us in each of our roles. In a practical sense, having a plan for your day (a schedule, even if it’s loosely followed!), your money (a budget), and even goals for teaching and training your children often helps things run more smoothly.
- Management skills. There’s a lot of moving parts to be coordinated when a house is being built! Things have to be put into the house in a certain order. And while the husband is the head of the home, the wife is typically the one who actually manages the home. Here’s where the Proverbs 31 woman certainly excelled! To list just a few of her responsibilities – she fed and clothed her family, she bought and sold goods, she oversaw and provided for those who served her family, she reached out to those in need. In our day, this can be as practical as crafting a meal plan, replacing the kids’ outgrown shoes, and making sure your husband has clean clothes to wear.
- Hard work. It would be nice if we could just sit by and let the house build itself 🙂 It won’t happen that way. Building your house is going to take hard work. It’s going to look like disciplining when you just want to ignore that misbehavior. It’s taking time for your husband instead of finishing that novel you wanted to read. It may mean staying up late and/or getting up early in different seasons. It’s being creative in order to save money, and making sure that everyone gets where they need to be at the right time.
- Patience. I know that it often takes much longer to build a house than is originally planned. In the same way, we aren’t going to build our homes in a week, a month, or even a year. It’s a process that takes years to develop – and some of those periods (here’s looking at you toddler and early teen years!) may seem even longer than the actual time that goes by. Yet good will come to our families as we are faithful to God and His Word.
Since we want to be wise and not foolish, let’s look at how we might be tearing down our homes.
- Neglect. This may be the hardest one to recognize. It’s not that you purposely don’t build up your family, you just fail to pay attention to them. You get busy with other things. Before you know it, that particular season has passed, and you haven’t done what you could have to love, encourage and care for those in your house.
- Idleness. Rather than just neglecting your house because you’re busy with other things, this is just like plain laziness. This happens when we put our wants ahead of our families’ needs. Perhaps we waste time doing things that aren’t significant or find ways to avoid doing any work at all. Laziness often comes when we’re not focused on our purpose and the ways God has called us to help those around us.
- Poor management of resources. This could be in a financial sense, when we waste money and/or live beyond our means. It also involves wasting time, especially since we are told in the Bible to redeem our time [Ephesians 5:16]. God has also given each of us talents and abilities that can be used specifically to strengthen our families, if we apply them properly.
- Complacency. Sometimes we may reach a point where we’re just willing to let things drift along the way they are, even though they we know we could do better. Whether it’s in our marriage or in training our children or even in our personal growth, we don’t want to stop learning and improving.
We’ve reached the end of our series of seven steps to becoming a wise woman. There are obviously other steps you can take along this path. If I’d based the series on eight steps, I would have included the principle that a wise woman learns from other wise people. This could be in real life – perhaps from your mom or a mentor or a Godly woman in your church. It can also take place through books and podcasts and other media resources.
Thanks so much for joining me in this study! Can you think of an additional step that would lead us to becoming wise women?
You can find previous posts in this series here.