The excellent wife who is like her? It is scary isn’t it? The woman in Proverbs 31 did so many things right. She had a good relationship with her husband. She had children who boasted of her achievements. She cared for the poor and found ways to help the needy. Her family had all they needed when times got tough. She knew a thing or two about how to use money to make more money as she started with a small business and grew it through a series of iterations until she was an internationally known businesswoman.
Well that was the old man’s dream. We don’t really know who wrote that poem but all the evidence points to Solomon. Yes the guy known for his wisdom. He might have been known for his wisdom but he did do a few strange things. One of which was to gather 300 wives and 700 concubines (or half wives). Imagine having 1000 women to chose from when it came to spending a night in with the wife. After having so many wives he was in a good position to have tested his mother’s advice to him.
Could she really be a role model for us?
See what I mean by being scary. It seems too much too steep a learning curve or is it? The problem is we need to grow into being such a woman. After all, you would not expect a five year old to be able to carry out the same tasks as a ten year old.
If you asked a five year old to pick up and carry a shopping bag that contained two packets of flour and three packets of sugar they would not be able to do it would they? Wait five years and give the same child a bag with the same things in it and they will be able to carry the shopping bag. By the time they are ten they will have grown and gained enough strength to do what they could not do when they were five.
I can imagine someone now saying that here you are again raising the bar to an incredible height. I am only human I have the “you can have it all” lifestyle and it is tough I am all but burnt out. I cannot work on my marriage, take good care of the kids, work full-time, and have time to do things for myself like go for a walk.
True I used to beat myself up for not being good enough after all by the time I had done all I could to be a good wife and a good mother and run a home I struggled to find the energy to do very much else.
Could I really achieve that standard?
I was of many women whose experience could be seen as disqualifying us from ever being seen as even approaching the standards set in that passage. After 26 days of marriage, I was wondering what on earth I had done. I stuck it out and tried to make it work for 26 years only for Prince Charming to decide that his life would be better without me in it.
Another way of putting it is that when I got married I found myself in a frying pan. The heat was turned up and up and I would not or could not jump out of the frying pan. I had to stay there to try and make his life better and find a way to help him out of the frying pan only then would my life change. My big problem was that he would not or could not get out of the frying pan.
I put a lot of time and effort into trying to help him. I have never been a fan of fiction but I read all sorts of books about healing and how to improve your life. He would say I spent too much so I dug deep into the world of living frugally. Looking back, that was the opposite of the truth as he acknowledged years later that he was spending far too much at that time. Recently I have heard that called narcissistic abuse.
Despite this, I tried hard to reach the required standards. I can remember my mum commenting one time when we went to see her that I had a lot of new clothes. She asked me where I got them from and I listed one charity shop after another. She was horrified. I was just pleased I had actually had enough spare cash to have taken the bus into the next town so I could walk around the charity shops. I had changed so much in terms of my expectations that it was if I had moved into a very different world to the one I left when I got married.
Looking back giving me the order of the boot was probably the kindest thing that he ever did for me. It gave me a chance to put the past behind me and start again. I could put what was a spectacular failure behind me and create a new life for myself. I might have failed to become an excellent wife but I could have a go at being a savvy woman.
How do we make progress?
The Proverbs 31 woman grew into that role. She did not just dive in and learn to swim. No, she developed her skills and gained experience as she went along. There is no way that she could act like a mature businesswoman when she was a young wife. It was a journey becoming a virtuous and successful woman.
You might not have been as an outstanding a failure as I have been but the standards set by the Proverbs 31 woman seem so high that we wonder if we could ever reach them. She seems to have done everything right yet we find it a struggle to get one thing right. OK, she had some advantages such as a husband who had enough sense to trust her and support her. Then she had some helpers.
She knew a thing or two about hard work. Nothing new there as the Bible says more than once that diligence is a virtue. She had a good relationship with God and was able to seek out His help to do things in the best way. That makes sense as the Bible says that it is those who know their God who will do exploits. The Bible even reminds people not to forget God when they are successful because it was the power God gave them that enable them to succeed.
Maybe it is actually possible to be like the Proverbs 31 woman. But we struggle to believe it. In fact, that is where the real problem is. If we cannot see that something is possible we will struggle to do what we need to do to grow into that role. It seems as though there is nothing that we can do so we give up and stop trying. If we stop trying, how will we ever become like our role model? The chances are if we stop trying to go forwards then we will start going backwards.
How do we go forwards?
One of the questions that I had was not just how do I handle money wisely but how do I explain biblical principles about money to others? The answer to that question came from an unexpected direction. I read Proverbs 31, sort of accidentally, and found idea after idea about how to handle money in that passage.
I was shocked. It was the last place I expected to able to use as a resource for ideas about money. Yet here was idea after idea arranged in a sequence. She was trusted by her husband to start a small business. Well, that fits in well with one of the cornerstone principles of FX Communities. She knew a thing or two about the five dimensions. There was hard work leading to perspiration. Embarking on new ventures again and again. Her relationship with God enabled him to impart good ideas to her. She recognised her abilities as she made clothes for others. In terms of initiation and knowing who she was, she was sure enough of who she was to be able to go out into the marketplace.
That was just the starting point. I realised that some of the other writing that I have done through the years fitted together with these ideas. So I gathered it together and set up a library for those who wanted to journey with me to become a savvy woman. Looking through the library I realised that some things needed to be brought up to date. After all, some of the stuff I put in this library had been written or even just updated 6 or 7 years earlier and times had changed.
The oldest items that were put in the library were the Food Storage and the Surviving a Household Emergency materials. They were first prepared for websites that were created in 2001 or was it 2002. Whatever the actual date, they were first written a long time ago but the basic ideas are the same. It was just a case of reading through them and checking that any essential revisions were made.
The materials that were once called Developing a Spending Plan have become Your Money Plan as they were updated and adapted to fit in with the changes in my own attitudes towards money. I have been on quite a journey since I was a financial anorexic. So worried about spending a single penny so much I would not buy vegetables like broccoli. It was always carrots and swede, i.e. the cheapest basics rather than anything fancy. These days I will even buy sweet potatoes. I use the built in programme for jacket potatoes to bake them in my microwave mmm.
Blossom with Lily is a bit more up to date and needed a lot less adaption. What was obvious though is that a good part of the original Blossoming materials had been raided and included in the Find your Purpose Love your Life materials. These were first written to help those who were trying to make a new start. Well, that is something that I have learnt a thing or two about. The thing is that the Proverbs 31 woman was successful because she used the skills and opportunities she had. It is the skills and opportunities that we that help us determine our purpose.
It is going to take a bit of time to bring all these resources together and make them into actual online courses. The basic reading materials are there but the extras that make them into online courses will need to be added to them. However, to get the ball rolling FX Communities is offering discounted memberships at £25 a month.
You get the chance to shape and improve what is offered by giving feedback. After the first 20 people, the price for new starters will increase. Your subs will not increase providing you remain part of the first cohort. If you drop out and rejoin you will become part of whatever cohort we are up to when you rejoin.
A bit of tax evasion can be a good idea
The last thing FX Communities wants to do is to get embroiled in collecting VAT on behalf of the taxman. It is complicated, time-consuming and generally a big nuisance being an unpaid tax collector.
There is something that can be done to avoid it and that is to add as much live and interactive content to the programme as possible. There are a variety of methods can be used to do this and in the early stages, there will be tests to find out which ones people are comfortable with. Amongst the ways this can be done are
- making it possible for people to add comments on the course materials
- setting up an email group
- having discussion forums in the membership area
There is one thing that I will definitely do i.e. use a teleseminar system to create live audios. A teleseminar, for the uninitiated, is a cross between a telephone conference call and an online seminar. You can join in by making a phone call or by going to the right webpage. The end result is that you will be able to hear me talking. Depending on the ability of the system used it should be possible to answer your questiosn live.
Years of experience with listening to teleseminars has made it obvious that it is important to record these live audio sessions. It is quite possible that those who want to listen could be doing something else at the same time as the call, possibly even sleep. Yes, sleep as this type of call has been used by Americans who make calls during the evening, their time. Not so bad if they are using eastern time because 7 pm their time becomes midnight UK time. The problem becomes when they use Pacific time and 7 pm their time becomes 3 am UK time. Listening to a live call at that time of the night takes some commitment. Understandably many from different time zones prefer to listen to recordings rather than live calls.
This is a learning curve so it will take some time to get into a routine. However, some of the things that work well on teleseminars are
- training sessions that add to or clarify the online courses
- question and answer sessions
- case studies or testimonies from other members
One thing I know is that there is the opportunity to listen in live as well as the chance to participate. Even if this means sending emails rather than asking questions on the call itself.
It is going to take some time to work out what is best for this programme. FX Communities needs people to join in and help improve what is on offer. To be honest, FX Communities is practising what it preaches i.e. start small and test what works then build on what works.
As you probably guessed when you heard the idea of avoiding tax this programme is not free. However, the first few people who join the programme will only be charged £25 a month for as long as they are part of the programme. If for some reason they decide to leave and come back again they will be expected to pay whatever the new level of subscription is.
If this interests you then sign up below to join me on this journey.