"So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law had commanded her. When Boaz had eaten and drunk and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came secretly, and uncovered his feet and lay down. It happened in the middle of the night that the man was startled and bent forward; and behold, a woman was lying at his feet. He said, "Who are you?" And she answered, "I am Ruth your maid. So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative." Then he said, "May you be blessed of the Lord, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich. Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence."
Woman of Excellence - that's what my focus is for this year, 2017. So what does it mean to be a "woman of excellence" anyways? I think that being a woman of excellence means that whatever you do, do it with excellence. That is a motto that my husband and I have lived by for many years. We try to put our all into everything that we do. We try to do everything with excellence. Does this mean that everything we do is perfect? No way! But we do try to do our best at everything.
Let's look at one of my favorite Bible heroines in the Old Testament, Ruth.
devoted to family
listened to wise council
Devoted to Family:
I want to tell you a little about Ruth. Ruth lived in Moab. A man named Elimilech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons moved to Moab from Bethlehem because there was a famine in Bethlehem. Elimilech's son married Ruth while they were living there in Moab. Elimilech and his two sons all died and Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah (the other son's wife) were left. Naomi decided to go back to Bethlehem, so Ruth and Orpah were going to go to Bethlehem with her. While they were on their way, Naomi told Ruth and Orpah to go back to their families in Moab so maybe they can marry again. Orpah went back. Ruth did not. She wanted to stay with Naomi.
But Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me."
Ruth was devoted to her family. I want to be that devoted to my family. Not just to my husband and children, though they are where my primary devotion goes to, but also to my other family: mom, dad, sister, brothers, nieces, nephews, in-laws, etc. Family is so important and I want to make sure they all know where they stand with me.
Ruth was such a hard worker. Women couldn't get jobs in Biblical times, so Ruth did what she could in order to provide food for her and Naomi - she went and gleaned from the fields.
And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Please let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after one in whose sight I may find favor." And she said to her, "Go, my daughter." 3So she departed and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers; and she happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.
She went out and worked from morning until evening in order to gather enough grain for her and Naomi to eat that day. That is devotion to family as well as being a hard worker. She was a hard worker for her family.
That's it! Working hard for my family is being a woman of excellence. This seems simple and I am doing it already, sometimes. I work hard, don't get me wrong and I am devoted to my family, but I think that I need to take it to the next level.
I need to get focused on both of these. What will help me to stay focused on working hard and devoting myself to my family? Scheduling.
I am a scheduler. I work well when my days are scheduled out on my calendar. I have been taking time each week in order to schedule out my week and I am so much more productive when I have a schedule in mind. I know what I need to be working on, when I need to start dinner, when school is going to start for the boys, when we are going to the library, etc. Putting it down in my calendar gets it out of my head, so I can focus on the things that are truly important.
Listened to Wise Council:
Ruth listened to Naomi. She respected her and obeyed what she told her to do. Ruth trusted that Naomi had her best interests at heart.
Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? Now is not Boaz our kinsman, with whose maids you were? Behold, he winnows barley at the threshing floor tonight. Wash yourself therefore, and anoint yourself and put on your best clothes, and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. It shall be when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies, and you shall go and uncover his feet and lie down; then he will tell you what you shall do." She said to her, "All that you say I will do."
Naomi was Ruth's elder and she trusted her to give her godly advice. Ruth listened to Naomi's wise council and it ended up with Naomi and Boaz getting married, having a son (Obed), and eventually becoming King David's great grandmother.
Now, am I saying that I should listen to every family member who thinks they know what's best for you? No. You know those people that you can trust with your questions. What I need to remember is to ask those questions that I have. I have trouble asking for help when I need it. I feel like I'm bothering others when I ask for help. I know that they feel honored that I am asking for their guidance and help with my life.
So, there it is, in a nutshell - how to be a woman of excellence: be devoted to my family, be a hard worker, and listen to wise council. This is my general focus for the whole year. Throughout the next 11 months, I will be working on a more detailed area of my life in order to fully become the woman that I want to be.
What about you? What will you focus on this year in order to be the person you want to be? Let me know in the comments. I'd love to hear from you!
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