“Excellent” Wife–Fighting Words?

Ever gotten hung up on the idea of submission? I hope you don’t feel I’m beating a raw topic, because I know we’ve discussed it here before on Going Beyond Belief. But I’m forever surprised by the infinite and multi-layered ways that God reveals Himself to us, and consequently, made in His image, the multi-layered ways He wants us to reveal Him to the world through our lives. 

Proverbs 12:4 says, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.”

An excellent wife. 

Who doesn’t desire to be one? What does that mean to you? In what ways do you fall short of this or how are you succeeding?

But what if the original meaning of the word “excellent” got lost in translation? 

The Hebrew word for excellent in this instance is chayil, meaning: “might, efficiency, wealth, army, strength, ability, efficiency, force … “

Probably not what you were expecting, right? Not the quiet submissive type we often imagine the excellent wife to be. In fact, this is the word God used to describe Gideon when He was commissioning him to go into battle against the Midianites with a measly army of 300 men. In Psalm 8:32, it’s translated strength: ” … the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless.”

In Psalm 60:12, we are reminded it’s a God-given power and excellence: “With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.”

It’s a fighting word. It’s a battle-ready, fully equipped, clearly-thinking, humbled, powerfully-dependent word that, ironically, does not contradict God’s upon a wife to submit to her own husband.

Excellence, in the sense of strength, ability and might, is another way that God desires for women to express His complete nature first in our homes and marriages and second to the world at large.

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How to Have A Happy Heart

love-tree-1077047-mI’d been at my new editing job for less than a week, and already I’d offended someone. No matter that I’d prayed over every single article, prayed for my attitude, humility, comments and thoughts–still, somehow I’d allowed an author to feel as if her work wasn’t good enough. It was an accident! I want so much to honor the writers I edit.

A brief email. She wasn’t rude, but I could read between the lines. I’d hurt her feelings, maybe overstepped my bounds with the changes I’d made to her article.

It took a few hours, a few emails; finally we seemed to resolve the issue. Surely, I could carry on with my evening–just let it go. But my heart was still stuck in my feet. I hate to let someone down. I hate to hurt someone’s feelings. Back to the computer, I kept reading, kept typing, kept working.

Ding! A new email, but I was hesitant to check it. Bravely, I clicked through to a message from another author. She wrote, “Hi Abby, Rough day? Feel free to do anything you want [when you edit my articles]. (They are His articles-not mine!) Rewrite, edit, change, etc.”

My spirits rose. As I whispered a prayer of thanks. Proverbs 12:25 came to mind, “Anxiety in the heart weighs a man down, but a good word makes him glad.”

Whose heart can you buoy with a good word today?

Reputable Fame

“Quantitative analysis revealed that fame was the number one value, selected as the most important value for participants’ future goals,” according to a study done by psychology professors at the University of California at Los Angeles.

In C.S. Lewis’ book, The Screwtape Letters, it becomes obvious on a practical level that Satan’s most fatal weapon is subtlety. Literally, all that God created is good. ALL. Evil does not manufacture itself and is only observable relative to its opposite: Good. So it makes sense then, that to trip up a generally good person, someone mostly moral, someone rightly motivated, someone who would see right through blatant evil, Satan’s tack must be almost good.

In the Garden of Eden, Satan walked Eve up to a tree that probably looked just like the others. It looked good. It was almost OK.

Last month, in my town, three teenage boys were arrested for making sex tapes with six, unsuspecting teenage girls. Their goal? Fame.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be recognized. Proverbs, the Book of Wisdom, tells us that a good reputation is desirable over  great riches (Prov. 22:1). And in Prov. 31:23, a man is honored to be known among the leadership of his city. It is a God given desire to be loved by others, to have something to offer society and to leave our heel print in the clay of time. So Satan takes this righteous quality and pushes it just a little too far, just slightly over the edge. As we over indulge in our good reputation, it becomes self admiration and suddenly our hearts are warped. Warped just enough to mar the beauty of God’s reflection in us.

Left to ourselves in a broken world, we cannot help but pervert the complete goodness of all God’s gifts. Sex into promiscuity. Beauty into idolatry. Reputation into fame. Honor into pride. Hope into fantasy. Food into gluttony. Drink into drunkenness. Hobby into addiction.

Besides the redemption of our souls, maybe that’s another reason that Jesus had to come. More than to die and rise again, perhaps this is why He came and lived 30+ years on earth. To show us how to use all God’s good gifts for His glory.

His and Hers Languages

5000 – 15000.

I wish that were a score. I WIN! Statistically, women use about 3x as many words each day as men do. So, when Patrick comes home having used 4500 words at work, it’s a dangerous situation if we miss-use those remaining 500 words. This post is about 500 words. That’s it, he’s done. As a woman, I have a role in drawing those words out of him. I’m chatting through a minefield if I chose to start a fight with 500 words to go.

That got me thinking about different interpretations of words. Marriage. To men, marriage generally means sexual fulfillment, admiration and an ego boost when they are seen with a beautiful woman on their arm. To a woman, marriage is a promise of affection, companionship and conversation. I am hard pressed to see how 500 words can untangle his misconception!

I checked out a men’s/women’s dictionary:

3. COMMUNICATION (ko-myoo-ni-kay-shon) n.
a. female…The open sharing of thoughts and feelings with one’s partner.
b. male…Scratching out a note before suddenly taking off for a weekend with the boys.

7. FLATULENCE (flach-u-lens) n.
a. female…An embarrassing by-product of digestion.
b. male…An endless source of entertainment, self-expression, and male bonding.

9. REMOTE CONTROL (ri-moht kon-trohl) n.
a. female…A device for changing from one TV channel to another.
b. male…A device for scanning through all 175 channels every 2 1/2 minutes.

A few of my own:

1. Called my folks:

a. female…At least a 15 minute conversation with my mom and solid recollection of the conversation

b. male…I called when I knew they wouldn’t be available, didn’t leave a message, but trusted caller ID

2. A Date:

a. female…somewhere, anywhere, outside of the house, preferably involving conversation

b. male…ordering take-out

3. Clean up:

a. female…involves a vacuum, a sponge, disinfectant and results in an obvious change of appearance

b. male…move some item from one place to another, perhaps the trashcan

I hope you didn’t detect too much bias in my definitions.

I don’t think there’s much we can do to integrate these two languages. Even professional linguists don’t try to consolidate languages, but instead, painstakingly translate one into another. Slowly, if we’re lucky, our common phrases will seep into the other’s vernacular and we’ll develop our own, “marriage slang,” a hybrid form of communication that the two of us can use at home.

Special care must be taken when talking to or about our spouses in public. Occasions when we are in the presence of others require an extra measure of patience, attentiveness and understanding.

Since we cannot hope to reconcile our language differences, the simple and only solution is to be aware of them and make accommodations for them.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:21

August

It’s time to plot another month of lies. Oh that sounds bad!

Honestly, in real-life, I’m a wanna-be organized individual. The queen of sticky notes, legal pad lists, spiral notebooks, white boards and owner of multiple calendars – and I’m still confused. Thanks for keeping me accountable here.

I like the variety of posts that pepper the week when the topic changes each day. To that end, I’m going to do another month of one topic each for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Also, I’m stepping up my goals again of writing more purposefully. I love writing here. I love sharing the truth of Jesus Christ. I love proclaiming the truth that counters body image issues and eating disorders. I love writing my way through the ponderings of my spirit as I wrestle with a new question. And I love the feedback, wisdom and advice you all share with me.

Blog writing, however, is really sheltered writing. No gremlin is going to pop up on my screen and write “rejected” across the page in blood red ink. Blog writing involves very little leg work. I don’t have to meet a deadline, apply a topic, or follow writer’s guidelines. As I amp up my publication efforts, may I share some of my articles, contest entries and short stories here with you for feedback?

OK, on to the schedule:

Mondays we’re going to continue to counter the lies about pain. Is privilege afforded to those who avoid pain most of their lives? Or does the privilege belong to the ones who suffer, learn, stretch, grow and share from their pain?

Wednesdays we will look at the very pith of a lie: words. We use words to weave our lies and words to unravel deception with truth. Jesus was called the Word in the first chapter of John. How valuable are our words – are they dispensable and insignificant? Do we want them to be that way?

From a wise mind comes wise speech;
the words of the wise are persuasive.
Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:23-24

Fridays I will share poetry with you. No promises on the content, but poetry is the native language of my journal and prayers. So these poems will share the truths that I am learning through prayer and quiet time with my Father.

Thank you so much for following and reading Predatory Lies. I treasure your friendship.