Monthly Archives: June 2010

Do Clothes Define You?

This is one of a series of posts illustrating a beautiful portrait of humanity; of men and women who without even realizing it, strive to embody qualities Proverbs 31 embraces in all life areas – personally, with their family, professionally, spiritually, and in their love life too. Whether you’re a “Proverbs 31” man or a woman, you stand out from the rest; you’re a red rose among a field of yellow roses. You’re a man or woman of and for all ages, a role model of timeless strength and beauty, virtue and responsibility; a cherished life partner and a powerful entrepreneur too!

Proverbs 31:25
Strength and honor are her clothing;
and she shall rejoice in time to come

Life in the 21st century is not easy; in seeking acceptance we are often self-conscious about our image and our appearance. So much so that many of us allow our clothes to define who we are. If our clothes REALLY do define us, then perhaps we are all overdue for an extreme makeover. The makeover starts with knowing what not to wear. Like the show on the TLC network, perhaps we should all throw out our existing wardrobe in favor of finer fabrics; fabrics that our Creator provides to all believers… STRENGTH, HONOR, and BEAUTY!

STRENGTH. We often think strength is found in an individual who always speaks their mind and never asks anyone for help. Or that strength is found in a man or woman who runs their household like a tight ship, fearing that all will come undone if left in their partner’s care. Still there are others who believe strength is found in the corporate CEO who did not give into the need for children and family in favor of climbing the corporate ladder. Rest assured physical, emotional, and mental strength all come into play on these as well as a host of other occasions. True strength, however, is spiritual in nature. It can be worn in many different ways … as seeking out faithfulness in prayer; holding steadfast to one’s beliefs against the grain of the secular world; not giving into social pressure or secular standards; or standing up for what is right in the face of opposition. Spiritual strength is also worn by spending quality time “in the moment” with the ones you love. Case in point…how many times have you heard a friend or co-worker complain that their partner spends so much time at work trying to provide for them that they have little to no time to spend with the family?  Even though their loved one works long hours to provide for them, they say they would rather have more alone time with them. God actually feels the same way as you do about this. While the work you may be doing is for Him, He would much rather have you spend more quality time with Him reflecting on the moment so He can clothe you in all the virtues you need to be the person He designed you to be. When we wear clothing our Creator provides; ones that flatter our physical, mental, emotional, AND spiritual well being, everything in our life fits perfectly. Or, at the very least, we are well-dressed to handle our life when it doesn’t.

DIGNITY. As ambassadors of the Gospel, we wear clothing that advertises how we feel about God and our faith. Scrutinized by others for all that we do, we are asked to dress and behave with dignity and honor at all times. If for some reason our manners, dress, or speech are undignified, then it is God who is insulted. We are not meant to live life entirely for our own selves; rather, we are meant to live our life for Him. More importantly, we are asked to be aware of our behavior and to wear openness, honesty, reliability, integrity, and trustworthiness in all our relationships with others.

BEAUTY. The attire befitting our beauty is not the shallow variety driving much of our society today. Nor is it about spending huge amounts of time and money on cosmetic products to enhance the skin and designer clothing to accentuate the figure. In fact, having wrinkle-free skin and wearing fashionable clothes does not guarantee inner beauty of an individual! True beauty begins in the heart, and is a “gentle and quiet spirit”. As St. Peter so aptly phrased it:

“Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel ~  rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4).

Finally, the wardrobe the Proverb 31 individual wears is not available at your nearby marketplace or shopping mall. Rather, the garments of strength, dignity, and beauty are found in individuals who have a believing heart in the Lord. When looking to Him for unconditional acceptance, walk with Him wearing your finest attire and radiating strength. Speak to others in a voice of quiet confidence to exemplify dignity. Most of all… rejoice in your future. It is bright, beautiful, eternal, and secure as your industry and planning have provided you with the finest.  Then savor your past with a smile!

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others. Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my community, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at http://www.tothewhitelight.com.

~ Theresa

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Work and have a home life too

This is one of a series of posts illustrating a beautiful portrait of humanity; of men and women who without even realizing it, strive to embody qualities Proverbs 31 embraces in all life areas – personally, with their family, professionally, spiritually, and in their love life too. Whether you’re a “Proverbs 31” man or a woman, you stand out from the rest; you’re a red rose among a field of yellow roses. You’re a man or woman of and for all ages, a role model of timeless strength and beauty, virtue and responsibility; a cherished life partner and a powerful entrepreneur too!

Proverbs 31:24
She makes fine linen garments,
sells them, and
supplies the merchants with sashes

As I mentioned in my last post, I had preconceived notions about Proverbs 31; specifically, that the verses were most likely written by male chauvinists whose fondest wishes were to confine women.  As I learned more about Proverbs 31 and about myself,  I was pleasantly surprised to experience first hand the true wisdom residing in these words. I was even more surprised to discover these words have been misrepresented by many over time – especially clergy – with unenlightened theology.  Rather than holding individuals back, these words actually empower both men and woman to take on greater responsibility within the world; many of which can be tackled from home!

Take for instance, Proverbs 31:24. In the first line, the Proverbs 31 individual is industrious, “making fine linen garments” from home. Doing their best to serve the LORD, s/he not only creates textiles from the finest wool and flax, but s/he also creates fine garments from them for family to wear.  Then in the second line, the resulting merchandise is so much in demand due to the quality of workmanship that s/he “sells them”, leading others to purchase and wear them.  The third and final line has the Proverbs 31 individual “supplying merchants with sashes” from home rather than from outside the home, freeing him or her to build and maintain a warm, nurturing home for loved ones!  As independent as I am, I have to tell you that this arrangement is far more peaceful than the hectic pace many experience nowadays. What’s more, the income generated from a home-based business may be put towards not only improving the home, but quality of life too.

Like many of you, I realize the economy is in a shamble with many out of work or underemployed. Now more than ever, the need to work outside the home is a necessity, not a luxury. If like me, this is your reality, then pray and ask our Creator to show you how to use your talents to generate as much income as you are currently making outside the home — or more — at home. While not easy by any stretch of the imagination, anything is possible with the help of our Creator. I’ve learned that all you have to do is ask.  In fact, some of the most successful businesses started from home and from a hobby or activity an individual was good at and really enjoyed, but never realized was marketable. For example, an acquaintance of mine sells custom-scented candles on the Internet. I know of another creative individual who designs and repackages fine chocolates for business events and special occasions. There are so many possibilities, such as those who give clarinet lessons; grow organic vegetables; tutor high school students in English or Math; sell homemade cupcakes; make quilts; or perform custom sewing and alterations — all from home.

On a personal level… when my sister married her long-time love a few years back, her flowers were arranged and her cake was made by women who worked from home.  I am another example with a home-based business promoting the community where I live along with area businesses.  I do this by developing a full array of marketing materials; everything from flyers, ads, and brochures to newsletters, booklets, and websites. Regardless of your talent or passion in life,  IT IS possible to create a marketable product or service from a hobby or talent you are passionate about. Once perfected with your signature touch, any product or service can be performed from home, sold from home, and even delivered to others for purchase or to “merchants” for resale from home just as the Proverbs 31 woman did. The goal always is to live life as a Proverbs 31 individual would…rather than leaving home to work elsewhere, allowing work to come to you from where you live… home. To achieve this is to experience a slice of heaven on earth. You not only have a more peaceful, more balanced lifestyle, but work and home are a pleasure rather than a chore.

Regardless of what you choose to pursue… be sure to touch base with our LORD regularly about your plans. He knows better than we do about what is best for us. Also, be sure to take time to study Proverbs 31. These verses are filled with so many hidden treasures on how to live a richer, more fulfilling life with your loved ones.  Finally… when you need to find a way to bring more money home, remember to ask yourself, “Is this challenge requiring me to supply the merchants, or to be a merchant?” The answer to this question provides much-needed direction.

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others. Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my community, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at http://www.tothewhitelight.com.

~ Theresa

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