I've been reading many books lately on the Proverbs 31 woman, because that is most decidedly what I strive for - and it is a daily striving. My latest re-read is The Gentle Ways of a Beautiful Woman (Anne Ortlund).
In her short chapter on looks (outward appearance) she goes to say that out of 22 verses in P31 - only one of them is about her looks. But, when you total the whole thing - she looks great! :) So, the inner qualities enhance the outer qualities - but the outer qualities definitely have their place of importance!
This is how she signs off the chapter:
The heart of her husband trusts her: Trust is something that is very important to me. It is something that I find hard to give, but once gotten, hard to lose. Odd, I know. But, in a day where there is so much room in marriages for mistrust - I want a marriage or any relationship that is built on trust. I don't want my friends/husband to worry about what I say about them, how I treat them, what I think about them, what I do, who I'm with, etc.
Strength and dignity are her clothing: What does it mean to be a Strong Woman, to be dignified? I'm not talking about "I am woman, hear me roar" - I'm talking about a strong woman. This would definitely not be strength in and of herself but in her Lord.
She smiles at the future: This speaks of a godly woman's theology. She doesn't mind what the future will hold because she knows that God's got it all in control anyway - so there is nothing to worry about (like Sarah in the OT).
She opens her mouth in wisdom: As I've gotten older and continued to pour my life into younger women, this is what I want them to hear. I want them to hear words of truth and grace and wisdom come out of my mouth. Not only in words - but also that they can see wisdom in my life.
The teaching of kindness is on her tongue: Wow - that one is tough - it has to do with mercy - Lord, continue to grow me in your mercy.
She looks well to the ways of her husband: I do not know how working women do it? I do love my job - but I pray one day that if I am given the grace of marriage - that I won't have to work a full-time demanding job. Of course, if possible, I would love to stay home and do what this portion says: looks well to the ways of her husband. In marriage: after submitting to God first and foremost - I want this to be my job description. This entails everything - without room for holes.
She does not eat the bread of idleness: Two people I know: Patty Crum and Angela Sims. Patty has demonstrated this over and over with her two kids and work and household and ministry. Angela has demonstrated it with her 3 girls, ministry, and her house. Another tough one for me - always being busy?
Charm is deceitful: Charming people know how to say the right things at the right time. I don't want to be a woman who just knows how to say the right things - but I want to daily strive to be a woman of the right thing!
Beauty is vain: An issue in my life - more so when I'm at a weight I want to be.
Woman who fears the Lord, shall be praised: - That fear has to be there - for God not men.
Just something to think about!