Happy weekend, dear gal! Thanks for dropping in for a little inner beauty inspiration. Today I’m opening the conversation about something that many of us don’t really care to do: work! But I’ve discovered that the most beautiful women are those who aren’t afraid of putting in the hard work. Let’s talk about it.
Sometimes I grow frustrated when I don’t see results from my investments. Whether it’s my African violets that aren’t blooming, my children who don’t seem to “get it,” my business that isn’t booming or my muscles that aren’t yet bulging, I sometimes want to just throw the towel in because I’m not seeing the fruit of my labor.
I like results!
But results require work. Sometimes I forget that. Or I underestimate the amount of work required. Maybe I even make the mistake of looking around and surmising that other people seem to be getting the results I crave but with little or no effort.
What are you working at right now that seems to be bearing little to no fruit? Maybe you’re…
- exercising but not feeling stronger
- spending extra time with your students but not seeing test scores improve
- giving of yourself to a new friend but feeling like the relationship is one-sided
- re-investing in your marriage but not yet turning the corner
- squirreling away every last dime but not getting ahead
- trying to get to know your daughter-in-law but not yet connecting
- curbing your diet but not losing weight
- putting in extra time at the office but not being acknowledged
- reading your Bible every day but not understanding what you’re reading
Sometimes I forget that hard work is not a curse; it’s a blessing. If I’m focused on only the results, I may miss the pleasure of the process.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”Genesis 2:15
God gave Adam work to do, not as a punishment or result of his sin (Adam had not yet sinned!), but as a blessing. Adam would have the opportunity to partner with God in reaping the benefits of his labor.
And we have been given that same blessing. We get to labor at things, not because God wants to punish us, but because He wants us to enjoy the process and the fruit.
Let’s take a cue from the Proverbs 31 woman
Remember, the Proverbs 31 woman is an ideal. She’s a strong, brave woman who is beautiful in character. And one of her most beautiful characteristics is she’s not afraid of a little hard work.
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.”Proverbs 31:16
This woman is PRETTY special. Here’s what I mean.
- P – She saw the Potential. This woman looked out on a barren field and saw the possibilities. Evidently no one else had planted here before, but she saw the harvest in her mind’s eye.
Have you seen potential in a person, relationship, project, business venture or other goal? Look, don’t expect everyone else to see what you see. But if God has given you a glimpse of the potential, go for it!
- R – She Risked something to get the results she wants. This woman invested something up front. She laid her money on the table and bought in.
Every worthwhile investment requires an outlay of resources. It costs something to be all in.
- E – She put in the Effort. Planting a vineyard sounds romantic enough, but in reality it’s just plain, hard work. Planting takes muscle, monotony and motion. You gotta sweat it out!
Are you expecting to reap the results before you’ve put in the hard labor? Roll up your sleeves and get back in there! You’ve got more work to do. In fact, farmers (or vintners) know that the work never really stops.
- T – She cultivated her Talents. Maybe this woman already had a knack for gardening, but she’d probably never grown grapes before. She had to hone the skills she already had and learn some new ones, too.
People who see results are life-long students. Determine to keep learning how to do this thing better, more efficiently, more effectively.
- T – She put in the Time. Notice this woman didn’t buy a vineyard; she planted one. Planting a vineyard is not a one-day venture. It takes at least two years for a vineyard to produce viable grapes and another two years before the vintner gets the first bottle of wine.
Time alone accomplishes nothing. But hard work multiplied by time produces results. So when you are tempted to throw your hands up in the air and just sit down and wait it out…don’t. Keep going.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”Galatians 6:9
- Y – She waited on God for the Yield of her labor. She had no choice! She could plant and water and tend and cultivate and dress and prune, but only God can grow a seed into a fruit. When it comes to investing in the good works God has called us to, we are ultimately dependent on Him for the yield.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”John 15:5
So let me ask you a few of the questions I’ve asked myself this week as I’ve mulled over the PRETTY woman in Proverbs 31:16.
- Is God calling you to do something that feels risky, hard or out of your comfort zone? While you may have duly noted the risks and the work involved, have you also considered the potential? Is it time to change your perspective?
- Is there something you’ve said “yes” to but you haven’t yet risked your own resources? (I don’t mean to keep beating the same drum, but it wasn’t until I finally invested my financial resources in a fitness program that I began to see real results. But the same principle applies to any goal really.) Risk nothing, gain nothing.
- Are you tired of working at something that God has called you to? Are you frustrated from seeing no results? Instead of looking for results, could you gain encouragement and renewed vigor from simply taking pleasure in the process? Could this be a good time to roll up your sleeves and work a little harder, a little smarter? Or maybe it’s time to take a class, read a book, attend a conference or get a mentor so you can learn a little more about what you’re attempting.
- That thing you’re weary from working so long? Let me ask you, has it really been that long? Healthy growth takes time. Positive change takes time. Changes that are going to really stick take time.
- Finally, are you sure you haven’t missed some of the yield? Could it be that you actually have already reaped some of what you’ve sown? Has God even blessed you with fruit that you didn’t expect? Maybe you could thank God for these “first fruits” while you anticipate the rest of the harvest to come.
Beautiful women are women who are not afraid of a little hard work. No matter what it costs, how hard it gets or how long it takes, beautiful women persevere and enjoy the process.
How do I know? Think about the beautiful women who invested in you somewhere along the way. The women who taught you, raised you, mentored you, invested in your education, encouraged you, held your hand through difficult times. Aren’t you glad they didn’t throw in the towel?
Do you have thoughts you’d like to share about today’s topic? I’d love to hear from you today! I tend to take as much time off from work as I can during the weekends, so I may not reply to your comments unless you ask me a direct question. But I’d love for you to carry on this conversation in the comment section below. And you can know for certain that I read and value each and every comment. Please remember that I try to keep this space free from controversy, so let’s stay away from the topic of politics or other divisive issues.