I can’t remember exactly when I discovered her tribute, tucked away in the center of my Bible, but from that day forward I knew I wanted to be just like her. I made my to-do list and set out to be the best Christian wife and mom I could be. But all my efforts seemed to produce was a life that was far from “abundant” (John 10:10). It was completely exhausting.
Being like Ms. P was a noble goal, but the truth is that I had missed the point completely.
In the same way, the day I visited Angel Oak, I had overlooked a key fact. Underneath the soil I stood on were miles upon miles of root systems. The existence of those unseen roots made everything that was seen so exquisite and awe-inspiring.
In the same way, if we read to the end of Proverbs 31, we find the not-so-secret secret to her admirable qualities: “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.”
Underneath the strong, successful, secure, smart, and sympathetic woman everyone could see was something greater— a root system which fueled her every word and deed: fear of the Lord. This “fear” the author writes about is not the feeling of terror. When the Bible talks about “fear of the Lord,” it’s referring to an awe-filled reverence in response to who God is.
Ms. P rooted her life in Him. The Amplified version elaborates, “reverently worshipping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him...” As a result, her good works were not manufactured at the cost of her own exhaustion— they were simply the natural product of God’s work within.
Good works are meant to be the fruit of our relationship with God, not the root of it.
Friend, God wants to bless you, and make you a blessing to others. He wants the world to stand in awe “for the display of his splendor” (Isaiah 61:3). God never intended for us to strive. He longs for us to rest in Him. This doesn’t mean we quit trying. It means we put our effort into the right thing: shifting from the shaky soil of self-reliance to fully trusting in Him.
Are you thriving in Christ, or striving in exhaustion? Are you positioning yourself to experience God, or are you focused on production?
There is freedom when we remain in Him. We don’t have to have to have all the answers. We don’t have to will ourselves to be better. We don’t have to put on a happy-Christian-mom “mask” and pretend like we have it all together. When we couldn’t do anything for ourselves, Jesus came with a rescue plan. He is the Author and He will be the Perfecter of our faith.
Find rest in that truth, today, friend, and “let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on him.” (Colossians 2:7)