The Heart of Women and Work
This month in our cultural value series we are sharing thoughts on different issues women face. Last week, Janelle discussed the issue of women and image. This week I want to touch on the topic of women and work. When you think about women and work there is SO much that has already been said and written on the subject. I am not going to attempt to address the question on whether or not a woman should work outside the home. What I want to touch on and dialogue about today is how we are making the decision about whether or not to work inside or outside the home.
Proverbs 31 gives us a pretty clear example of the Excellent Wife “working.”
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself5 with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle....
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
At this point in our history the amount of work a woman can do is enormous. It is culturally acceptable and often encouraged for a woman to work outside the home. And if you don’t want to leave your home there are myriads of “work at home” opportunities.
The important thing, I think, is not necessarily our what, but our why, the inner motives of our hearts and not the outer workings of what we end up deciding to do. We all really need to look into our own hearts and be honest. I will be the first to admit that I am really good at making any point when I want to get my way. I “should” be doing this to make more money for my family. Or I “should not” be doing that because I need to make my children and husband a priority. It is so easy to base these decisions on our feelings or what others say on the subject. It is easy to have guilt play a part in your decision. It is easy to be led by our capacity or drive or even laziness.
Just because you are capable to do something doesn’t mean you should do something.
Just because something is hard, does not mean you should not do it.
Independence does not equate strength. We are not meant to have to try and figure this all out on our own! When walking through a decision of whether a work opportunity is best for our family, first and foremost, we need to pray. Then we need to have a conversation with our husbands. (If you are not married your parents would be good to talk to, or if you live outside the home a trusted friend) It needs to be a two-sided conversation. One that asks a lot of questions and tries to seek out their opinions instead of trying to prove our points. A conversation that listens and is humble, trying to seek out godly counsel as opposed to persuading. Dialogue together on what is best before we have it set in our hearts what is best.
Everyone is different…and what one person’s calling is not another’s. Don’t compare. We need to trust the Lord and His plan for us. I know for me there are some seasons where my boundary lines are a tight fence, and other seasons I feel like I am living on a 100-acre ranch. No matter where those boundary lines fall, they are promised to be in pleasant places.