Friday, November 11, 2011

A New Resolve

It was one of those days.

The Coach knew it as soon as he walked in the door. And as soon as he sat down, I grabbed the opportunity to say, “Would now be a good time for me to run upstairs and take a shower?” and then, without waiting for an answer, ran upstairs as fast as I could, just to be alone with my self-pity.

It wasn’t any one thing that happened, just a thousand little things. Just life. Especially life with a 2 year old, in a new town, without a church family or close friends, five and a half months pregnant…the list could go on and on.

The next morning I woke up with a new resolve…to be a better mom. To be a better wife. To be a better homemaker. To find new ways to save money. And as I sipped my hot tea and contemplated my new determination, I already knew that it wasn’t going to work. Because that determination was not new after all. I’ve had it a hundred times before, and it just never works.

I want to be the woman in Proverbs 31. She does her husband good all the days of her life; she provides for everyone in her household; she makes, invests, and saves money; she gives to the poor and lives a life of ministry; she has a positive outlook on life; she opens her mouth in wisdom; her children rise up and bless her. But the thing is, I can try to achieve that list all day long and I will fail all day long. Why? Because that list is just a record of symptoms.

I usually think of symptoms as indications of something bad, like sickness, but in this case the woman’s symptoms are of something very good. They are symptoms of the fear of the Lord. It’s no accident that Proverbs 31 is placed at the end of a book on wisdom, which starts out by telling us in the very first chapter that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And Proverbs 31 itself ends with the insight that the woman who fears the Lord will be praised.

It’s not about being a better mom or wife or homemaker or financial expert or gourmet cook. It’s not about making a checklist of all the ways I can improve myself. It’s about learning to walk in the fear of the Lord. Because that list of things that I want to be, that I want to accomplish, are symptoms that can’t precede their cause, or else they are worthless. I have tried to do it backward my whole life, starting with the outcomes and hoping that if I accomplish them, they will change my heart. But the best thing I can do for my husband, my kids, my ministry, is to fear the Lord. And the only way to do that is to abide in Him, to spend time with Him, to seek to know Him more and more.

So, the best new resolve for me is not to be better. It is to look to the One who can change me from the inside, to walk humbly with Him, and to trust that He will take care of the outcomes that I so desire to see in my life.