When You Don’t Measure Up


While scrolling through my Facebook feed, I ran across this t-shirt ad:


As soon as I saw it, I couldn’t help but exclaim,


You see, I’ve been reflecting on twenty years of marriage the past couple of weeks. My reminiscing has been wonderful except for the few brief moments when my mind turned to Proverbs 31. I do my best to avoid this chapter of Proverbs but no matter how hard I try, my mind always drifts to the advice of King Solomon’s good ol’ mom when I think about my role as a wife and a mother.

The last two-thirds of Proverbs 31 is essentially a poem about the ideal wife and was most likely passed down for generations by Jewish moms to their daughters as instructions on how to be an honorable wife worthy of her place in her husband’s household. Apparently, though, one Jewish mom thought it important enough to pass down to a King. Maybe she was like many moms believing no one could be good enough for her precious boy so she shared this ode to the perfect woman thinking her son would never find such a creature, thus his heart would remain hers forever. Or maybe she was fully aware of her son’s weakness for the ladies (He did end up with 700 wives and 300 concubines!) and passed it on as a chastisement of his wandering ways. Whatever the reason, the Queen mother taught this poem to her son who later documented it for us all.

(I must note here that many scholars believe the verses in Proverbs 31 about the Virtuous Woman have nothing to do with the advice of the King’s mom found in Verses 1 – 9 of the same chapter. Additionally, many scholars aren’t even sure the King being given the advice was Solomon. He’s called “Lemuel” in the Scriptures. Could’ve been a nickname. Could’ve been some other king. Could’ve been a fictional character. No one is certain but to me, the identity of the King and whether the poem was part of his mother’s advice makes no difference. The value of the message is the same!)

As a teen, I would read of the Proverbs 31 Woman and think, “Yeah. That’s the kind of woman I want to be.” Now, I read about this perfect woman and I pretty much want to smack her. <Gasp!> Sacrilege – I know! (I’ll have to repent after I finish this post!) But she’s so perfect. There’s absolutely no way that I can measure up to this chic. Have you checked her out, yet? Well, let me introduce you.

This lady is:

  • A successful entrepreneur
  • A skilled seamstress
  • A prudent business manager
  • An early riser
  • A midnight oil burner
  • A diligent worker
  • An incomparable multi-tasker
  • A philanthropist and charity worker
  • A dutiful housekeeper
  • A supportive and loving wife
  • An attentive mother and
  • A skilled gardener!

She stays in shape and is well-dressed. She spends her time wisely and is always prepared. She is known in her community for her wisdom, strength and dignity and is respected by her husband and children. She is not only a woman whose reputation cannot be faulted but a woman whose character strengthens her husband’s reputation, as well.

Amazing, isn’t she?

Yep. She bugs me.

Now, let’s take a look at me: My house is always a mess, which I’ve learned to embrace. My clothes are more comfortable than fashionable and they certainly aren’t hand-made. I never see the sun rise unless… Nope, no exceptions for that one! And though I’m often up late, you can bet it’s because I’m watching the next episode of my latest Netflix binge. I use the grocery pickup service because I hate to do the shopping and although it may be a healthier choice, I do not have a garden. I am a plant killer. I am proficient at multi-tasking but I’m also great at procrastinating. I love my husband with all of me but there are many times I secretly desire to wring his neck. And as for my parenting skills, I’d feel much better about myself if I could just get my kid to brush his teeth every day.

Ugh! On the measuring tape of perfection, you’ll find me somewhere near the metal hook at the end.


I’m so glad God doesn’t use a measuring tape. No, God looks at me through the eyes of GRACE. That certainly doesn’t mean I can ignore Proverbs 31. It’s in God’s Word for a reason. It also doesn’t mean that I should be satisfied with my shortcomings, either. I should always be striving to be a better wife, a better mother, a better me. It does mean that I can stop comparing. I don’t have to kill myself trying to check off every item on the list. In fact, I believe the essence of the Virtuous Woman and the message of her age-old tribute is summarized in one verse (v. 30):

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

If my goal is to be a woman who fears the Lord, everything else that matters will fall right into place.


2 thoughts on “When You Don’t Measure Up

  1. You are so not alone in feeling this way. I did my first Proverbs 31 bible study about 20 years ago with women that I thought embodied these verses but even they were feeling like the bar was too high. May God watch over all of us and help us to be worthy of Him alone. God bless you, Karen.

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