“She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.” (Proverbs 31:15)
I am a planner! I like to plan my meals, our budget, outfits for the next day, schedules…pretty much anything that can be planned ahead of time, I like to do. Defined by Webster, a plan is “a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something.” Achievement. Most of us like the sound of that word. All of us want to achieve in some way every day, and I think that’s why I like plans so much. It gives me a sense of measured achievement.
But plans can go awry. And plans can be made with the wrong heart and attitude and for the wrong reasons. You see, it’s often not the plan itself that is most important but the heart behind it. Proverbs 31 was written as a beautiful Hebrew acrostic poem to celebrate valor, strength, and dignity in women. It’s not meant to be taken absolutely literally in that every woman in the world should spin flax and sell real estate; but it is meant to show us how we, as women, can walk out daily life, serve those around us, be diligent, be industrious, and, most importantly, do it all with the right heart.
In the New Living Translation, Proverbs 31:15 says, “She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.” I don’t know too many of us (okay, probably none of us) who have servant girls, but this scripture is speaking to far more than that.
This is talking about being a planner for those under and within your care but doing it with the right heart. How special to prepare the first meal of the day for those in your home—both physically and spiritually—to set them up for success in their days. As I have had kids of my own, the Lord has always given me strategy to be mentally, physically, and spiritually prepared to serve and care for those in my household first thing in the morning. For me, that does mean rising before the rest of my home is awake in order to spend time with Jesus and get a Spirit-led plan for the day. It does look like preparing an actual meal for my children, and often, my husband. It means me setting the stage for my children to model spending time with Jesus in the Word and prayer.
Planning is good, but Spirit-led planning that seeks to serve those within our care is life-giving and has eternal value. I believe this is the meaning of Proverbs 31:15 and can be walked out in each of our lives every day.
When you search for “planning tips” on Pinterest, the results are as varied as Disney vacations to weddings to meal prep. While there are a variety of resources for becoming a better planner in these various categories, how do we ensure we are focusing on the heart behind the plans?
- Pray – Ask the Lord to reveal areas of our hearts where we may be bitter toward things or people in our care, such as housework or whiny children! Ask Him to reveal wrong attitudes and forgive us of acting with wrong intentions.
- Take Personal Inventory – In what areas can we grow with regard to our plans and attitudes toward them? Where can I better help my husband accomplish his tasks and make life a little easier for him? Where do I need to ‘step it up’ with cleanliness in our home? Where am I letting hints of laziness in? Ouch, I am convicted even typing these words! As a new mom, I have found myself taking a few moments to reflect on my attitude more frequently in these days. I have realized the power in choosing to not become upset if the day does not go as planned, and instead keeping a sense of enjoyment in my heart and mind no matter what happens during the day. That is challenging, especially for those of us who enjoy planning and want those plans to be accomplished!
- Act – What is a step I can take? Sometimes it’s as simple as setting our hearts in the beginning of the day to remain in peace and joy. Other times, we may need resources to help with the practical things, such as a new planner, budget tool, or meal plan.
The amazing thing about the Proverbs 31 woman is that she not only had the right attitude but also accomplished much. This should give us hope that it is possible for us, too!
By Bethany Roe & Erika Millard