Thursday, July 11, 2013

Walk with Dogs- Virtuous Sleep

I am reluctant to fall asleep at night. Cultural Christianity teaches Proverbs 31 as a Godly Woman litmus test.  According to King Lemuel’s Mother, a wife of noble character never sleeps. As a result, we women show up to church or Bible Study with perfect hair, make-up flawless, wearing fashionable yet modest clothes. A smile on our face and a twinkle in our eye we project flawless contentment.

We. Are. All. Liars.

Photo taken by loneangel
The Virtuous Woman starts out the day with the best of intentions. Shegets up while it is still dark for a Quiet Time of scripture and prayer. Family stirs and breakfast is cooked with a smile as ordered in Proverbs 31:15. She begins checking off the Virtuous Woman boxes.

The business of the day: house, work, kids, husband’s needs, community. The sun sets with the dawn of reality.  Over a sink full of dinner dishes, she pants with exhaustion.
Toys and clutter fill the living room. Laundry covers the bed, overwhelmed she musters her last bit of strength. In a sweet siren voice she sounds the call for bedtime.  

Kids’ shenanigans are the final strike. Pushed beyond her limit, her image of perfection slips away and she turns into a drill sergeant harpy. 

There is no fun in Mudville.

With the kids are tucked in she turns on her overdrive. The day is not over until she falls asleep. There is still time to complete the missed household chores while husband sleeps. When he wakes up, he will be amazed. She will hear the praises of her husband just like Proverbs 31 says. Dinner dishes neatly placed in the dishwasher. A whirlwind pick up in the living room. Fueled by a feeling of victory she walks through the bedroom door to attack the laundry monster. 

Photo taken by Alvimann

Husband is laying in repose upon the laundry. The dulcet sounds of a show waft from the laptop.

Does she wake him? Does she ask him for help?


A deep sense of failure, with a chaser of shame, sets in as each piece of laundry is brought into submission, Husband’s comfy bed shifts. He awakens. Unaware of her Virtuous Woman burden, he turns off the computer.

“That can be finished tomorrow. Come to bed.” He moves to push the rest of the laundry onto the floor.

That wife looks into the eyes of her lover.

Her defeated reply, “You go ahead. I’ll be there as soon as I finish this.”

Proverbs 31 has been twisted into a burden of legalism. Within this Cultural Christianity application there is no room for grace, love or laughter. God does give us tasks to keep us occupied; but they are never to become a litmus test of worth. Ecclesiastes tells us that we are to eat, drink and enjoy the good that results from those tasks; it is a gift from God. Part of that good is rest and sleep. The Psalmist says that unless God is our center focus, we get up early and put off going to bed in vain, for God “provides for his beloved, even when they sleep.”  
Photo taken by hotblack
When I trust in divine rest, my soul is renewed. I am no longer weary; God clothes me with strength and dignity. I am able to be patient in the face of a determined child. My arms are strengthened for the day's tasks. I have energy to serve my won family along with attending Divine Appointments that interrupt my plans. I am able to laugh at the days to come.

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