She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.(Proverbs 31:13)
“Back in the day” women had a lot of work to do, and they were trained from an early age to do it. I remember going to one of those “living history” museums as a kid and watching as wool was carded, spun into yarn, and then used to knit with or woven into a coarse fabric to sew into blankets or clothing. It was fascinating, but seemed like a lot of work when we can today buy balls of yarn or fabric by the bolt. The book Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder details much of this same process. It was time-consuming, yes, but it must have immensely satisfying to see your family’s needs met by your own hands. Even now, there are women who are reclaiming this (not quite) lost art– right from the sheep.
But, this post isn’t entirely about spinning and weaving, or knitting and sewing. Many of us today do not have the skills neccessary, nor do we have to start with raw materials (although some do, and enjoy it). This verse speaks of industriousness and the willingness to work with our hands. It doesn’t specify whether it is for our family’s needs, or as a commodity to sell to others, just that we actively search out practical ways to serve others, and to do it with a willing heart.
I have 2 plastic totes with sewing stuff in them. Several projects I have all the needed materials for, and have had them for 3 years now– 3 dresses, 2 pairs of pj’s– fabric, patterns, notions– but have honestly been too lazy to do it. I can make excuses– big family, homeschooling, moving 3 times– but I’ve had plenty of time. I’ve just been lazy. “Industrious” is definitely not my middle name. Laziness trumps willingness almost every time for me.
So, what can I take away from this? If I’m to move from being my lazy Proverbs 32 self, to a more industrious Proverbs 31 woman, I’m going to need help doing it. It’s going to involve prayer and determination (although most lazy people are a little short in the determination area). I need to take another look at the Fruits of the Spirit, to remind myself what is already in me. And I’ll look at what my gifts are, and how they apply to industriousness.
Maybe… I’ll get those projects done after all!