Have you ever read Proverbs 31 and felt like quitting? I get tired when I read about the superwoman pictured in that famous last chapter of Proverbs. What woman can live up to this ideal?

Well, I’m encouraged to realize that this is most likely not the description of a specific woman, but a picture of the characteristics of a godly woman. And if you will focus on verse 30 of that chapter, you will be encouraged:

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

The beauty of this Proverbs 31 woman is that she feared the Lord. Her central focus was not to please people, not to set new records, not to prove she could do anything she wanted to, not to fight for her rights, but it was to fear the Lord. If you and I want to be like this ideal woman, then what we must learn to do is fear the Lord, because then we will be women to be praised by God.

Any woman can be a woman who fears the Lord if she chooses to. There may be many things you cannot do, many avenues that will never be open to you, many mountains you’ll never climb, many awards you’ll never win. You may think you are insignificant compared to other women and what they do. But take heart today; you can be a woman to be praised if you will fear the Lord.

Throughout time women have often been characterized as deceptive and manipulative, and physical beauty has always been the world’s way of measuring a woman. But when I read that charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, it tells me that these shallow and non-durable characteristics—charm and beauty—are not God’s criteria, and we are not bound by them.

Women today are often very focused on being free from stereotypes and traditional roles. This Proverbs 31 woman found her freedom by fearing the Lord, and believe me, that’s where we will find ours. Let me tell you, as one who has tried it both ways, true freedom comes when you commit yourself to be God’s woman and make him the central focus of your life.

What does it mean to be a woman who fears the Lord? Have you given that any thought?