The Proverbs 31 woman knows how to make a profit. She knows how to gain from the work that she does. Her trading is successful. Her business is going well.

Why because she has learnt the skills that she needs. We look at celebrity business owners, like Richard Branson. We think they must be something special to have achieved all that they have in business. Well maybe they are but the truth is that they have also had a few failures along the way. Some of the lessons they have learnt have been learnt in the school of hard knocks.

One of the encouragements in the earlier chapters of Proverbs is that if things knock you down then pick yourself up again. One place it says this is Proverbs 24 verse 6 but it is not the only one. It is normal to be knocked down. The issue is how well do you pick yourself up afterwards.

How do you pick yourself up?

First thing is to remember who you are and whose you are. The two things go together. We are all children of the King of the Universe who created us for a particular purpose. He designed us so that we are the perfect person to do certain tasks. He gives us the free will to carry out those tasks. We can say yes and do them. Or say no and run away from them.

I must admit that standing up to be all I have been designed to do has been a challenge. I have faced opposition many times. Sometimes I have allowed this to train me to do the wrong things. It is hard sometimes accepting that you are exactly what God says you are and that you are designed to do this rather than that. Yet part of the strength of the Proverbs 31 woman comes from knowing that she is good at what she does.

She keeps on going

Her lamp stays on and she keeps going well into the night. Past the time when it is easy to see clearly what you are doing. She might not be able to see but she keeps going.

The Amplified version suggests that the night symbolises trouble privation and sorrow. It also suggests that the light warns away fear, doubt and distrust. My mind is doing a jump here. John talks about Jesus being the light of the world (John chapter 8 verse 12). Imagine that kind of light shining in a situation where people are troubled or sorrowful or are deprived of what they need. Or imagine what would happen when there is darkness because of fear, doubt or distrust and a light is switched on.

What does perfection mean for us?

The Proverbs 31 woman just keeps on going and finds a way to overcome the challenges. No wonder her attitude is such that we struggle to reach her standards, or at least to appear to reach her standards. The truth is we don’t need to reach the standards set for her. We need to reach the standards set for us!

I am not her. I can knit and crochet but I have never tried to spin yarn. I have a set of skills I can use to achieve what I am designed to achieve but I am not her. I cannot achieve what she is designed to achieve. Do you know why she is so perfect? She is doing what God wants her to do.

Perfection does not mean doing everything right. I cannot play the cello and I have no memory of ever even touching the sort of bow that is needed to play one. I am perfect despite not being able to play the cello. The same is true for you. You may not have been designed to start or run a business. God might have designed you to do something completely different.

If reading this book has filled you with dread as you think I can never be like the virtuous woman described in this passage because I cannot do what she did then stop and think a moment. Yes, she did run a home-based business and there are people reading this book who could also run a home-based business. But despite what some so-called experts tell you not everyone can.

I must admit I fall in the camp that everyone at least needs to have a go starting and running a business. Even if it is just a tiny prototype to prove to themselves that it is something that does not suit them.

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