Strength and dignity are her clothing. She laughs at the time to come. -Proverbs 31:25
She laughs without fear of the future…
I have to admit, one of my biggest fears is the stomach bug. Like the kind of fear that leaves me feeling sick and wanting to crawl into a hole until the summer rolls around!
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t let it get the better of me. I force myself to bring my kids places and life goes on. But each day, the creeping dread begins to take over. Especially as I hear about family after family who have been overtaken by it!
I find myself praying that the Lord would keep us free from sickness. I find myself asking way too many questions when a friend says their kid isn’t feeling well. And I find myself up at night worrying about the belly ache my kiddo had after dinner. This then leads me back to praying that the Lord would keep us free from sickness.
Now, if what seems like such a trivial fear can overtake my mind, what about the scarier things to fear? What about loss? What about broken relationships? What about serious illness?
In the midst of the latest bout of “stomach bug going around”, we were dealing with some serious health complications with my son. The kind that leaves you staring at the monitor and checking in all night long. The kind that sends you bouncing from specialist to specialist to find out the best options moving forward.
Now, this is most definitely not something to laugh about. And yet in both of these instances, God calls me not to worry.
He reminds us in this verse that we can laugh without fear of the future – not just when times are bright and shiny, but also when things seem abundantly fear-worthy.
What does it look like to laugh without fear of the future? What does it mean to be clothed in strength and dignity? And how, in spite of all the trivial and not-so-trivial struggles we face, can we not only not fear, but find abundant joy without fear at the days to come?
What Attitude Clothes Me?
This verse starts by saying this woman is clothed in strength and dignity.
Clothes have so many purposes. To cover us. To protect us from outside elements. To make a statement for others.
What kind of statement am I making if worry is my clothing as a Christian? How will my heart be protected from Satan’s schemes if I’m covered in fear? How can God offer His peace to me if I choose stress as my protection?
As I dive into some definitions of these words, I gain a deeper understanding of what this truly means.
Dignity: honor, splendor, magnificent (Strongs Concordance)
Strength: strength of mind, courage and resolution (Matthew Poole’s Commentary)
Honor: her prudent, pious and amiable behavior. The good name and honorable esteem which she gained amongst all who know her by her virtuous disposition (Matthew Poole’s Commentary)
So how do we develop this strength of mind and honorable esteem? How do we let these be what overtake our mind and our life in place of worry and fear?
Allow the Spirit to Work
Slowly, through the sanctification by the Holy Spirit, you will see your mind strengthen. I have to surrender my heart, my mind and my desires daily to the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to shape me and mold me in this way.
As I do this, I see His Spirit at work within me. I see my clothing shift from that of fear and worry to that of strength and honor.
Choosing to allow the Holy Spirit to clothe us in this way is something we must do daily.
Imagine having literally no fear of the future. No fear because our minds are strongly set on the things of the Lord. Our attitudes are clothed by the Holy Spirit. Our hearts are guarded by His love. We don’t have to fear for our future and worry about tomorrow because we know the Almighty God holds it in His hands.
Even Jesus reminds us of this in Matthew 6. He tells us “do not worry”. This is a reminder He knew we’d need. And for someone like me, I need this reminder daily.
The Antidote to Worry
The antidote to worry? Surrender and trust.
Christ will strengthen our minds through sanctification and the Holy Spirit as we surrender to Him and choose to trust Him in all things.
Sometimes this surrender is a one-time thing. But for most things, the ones that cause worry deep in my bones, I have to surrender daily or even hourly.
So what does this look like in the face of worry and fear? (Both the not-so-serious kind and the serious kind.)
- Stop anxious thoughts as they come up and replace them with Scripture and prayer
- Be in the Word daily so you can saturate your mind with truth
- Pray against spiritual warfare and any lies or schemes of the enemy (Satan would love nothing more than for us to live in fear)
- Invite truth & godly mentors into your anxious thoughts or worries
- Consider counseling or therapy to work through some of the ways in which your mind gets stuck in fear or anxiety
Will you take some time with me today to reflect on what can lead you to worry, stress and fear? As you surrender these things to the Lord, the Holy Spirit will grow in you true strength and true dignity.
As you do this, you can become one who truly laughs without fear of the future.