Portrait of a Good Woman: How Do You Measure Up?
The Mother Teresa Model
How do you measure up to the following portrait of a good woman?
- A good woman recognizes, appreciates and maximizes the character assets within her.
- She enjoys being the best she can be, while inspiring other women to be the best of who they are.
- She believes that she is valuable, and capable of making a valuable contribution to the image of womanhood.
- She respects men and learns how to work alongside them without feeling like a competitor or a minor. (Consider Mother Teresa's quote below.)
"Why did God make some of us men and others women?
Because a woman's love is one image of the love of God, and a man's love is another image of God's love."— Mother Teresa
In the Song of Songs, also known as Song of Solomon, the male lover refers to his beloved as a private garden comprised of “all the finest spices” (4:14) symbolizing among other virtues:
Each woman is an exclusive mix, accentuating the flavors and fragrances which are most appropriate for her purpose. It is her responsibility to protect and preserving her unique flavor.
The Song offers some helpful views for our consideration.
(1) Recognize Your Fragrance
Maintain it at all times.
Appreciate Your Own Fragrance
The woman in the Song makes a self-assessment; “My perfume spread its fragrance” (1:12).
In response to her lover’s compliment she declares with confidence, “Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere." (4:16).
How do you discover your strengths—spiritual, moral, academic, social?
- Listen to people who compliment you on your kindness, humor, inspiration, leadership. intelligence or any other virtue.
- Make note of what you list when you interview for a job, or when you consider yourself as deserving of a good relationship.
- Be aware of the qualities which surface when you engage passionately in projects.
When you’re asked, don’t be shy about the skills and habits that make you likeable. They make up your flavor and fragrance. Recognizing your attributes will prevent you from depending on other people for acceptance and discourage you from imitating someone else. It will help you find your niche in your community and empower you to be the woman God designed you to be.
(2) Find Complement Flavors
Don't let yours be overpowered.
More Wise Womanly Advice
- A Woman's Guide To Finding Self-Esteem
Remember there is always some-one to love you for who you are, you don't have to mould yourself to some-one's ideal. If you believe in yourself by building up your self esteem then those around you will believe in you too.
In the Song of Songs, the man and the woman share mutual respect. She tells him, “My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms” (1:14). Henna is a fragrant shrub popular for marking garden boundaries. They appreciate moral strength and beauty in each other.
If someone does not appreciate your qualities, and does not give you the respect you deserve, step back and wait for a happier blend.
Know what you deserve within your relationships.
- Do you have zero tolerance for control and abuse(physical, mental,sexual) from a friend or lover?
- Will you refuse to compromise your standards in exchange for acceptance?
- Does the other person recognize your individuality as necessary for balance within the relationship?
- Does the friendship provide peer support instead of peer pressure?
True friendship includes accentuating the good in each other. Relationships which stifle you will rob you of your zest for life and make you bitter. Bitterness will overpower your sweetness, and give you reason to hate yourself. Find friends who accept you and your flavor. When you have mutual respect, you have a pleasant blend.
Remember that in your space, the fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2: 15) and the taste of His flavor (Matthew 5:13) are to be noticeable, never overpowered.
(3) Be the Best You Can Be
You're one of a kind.
Helen Steiner Rice (1900-1981) lost her father to an influenza epidemic when she was 18, and her husband to suicide after three years of marriage. Instead of allowing her virtuous faith to diminish, she forced herself to express it in verse. Today, some of the best lines quoted to comfort grief come from her pen. Her flavor and fragrance still permeate the world.
- Maintain your essence despite negative situations like heartbreak, ill-health, financial deals gone bad. Get help, if necessary.
- Let your sense of purpose inspire you to keep positive no matter how the struggles of life threaten to make you bitter.
- Resist self-defeating attitudes. They can lead to moral detours. They can turn you into a grouchy old woman who make young women fearful to live past forty.
Women who persevere at maintaining their virtues age with the charm that folks admire. Their sugar content keeps them sweet-natured, loving and loveable. Their spice content keeps them spirited, focused, determined to pursue and fulfill their purpose. They are referred to as charming old ladies in their later years. Or as the man says of the woman in the Song, "The young women saw her and called her blessed . . . praised her" (6:9).
(4) Do Personal Evaluations
Check your progress regularly.
Rate Your Self
What do you most appreciate about your womanhood?
- Can you list your primary virtues? Or do you find it easier to mention your vices?
- Do you have a sense of purpose? Or are you still wondering why you were born?
- Do you repeat affirmations for your personal empowerment? Or do you measure your worth by compliments from others, especially from men?
- Do you encourage mutual respect in your relationships? Or do you tolerate ill-treatment in an effort to keep the peace?
God made you a woman intentionally. He made you with the potential to demonstrate His flavor and fragrance in your roles as daughter, sister, wife and mother. Your feminine characteristics are an asset to your productivity and progress. You can be soft and strong, gentle and godly, womanly and wise.
“Woman was the crowning act of God’s creation.” writes E. G. White. “She was the most beautiful creature that God made.”
The world watches as you go through your struggles and challenges, and if they see you remaining true to who you are, true to the womanhood principles in the Song of Songs, you will be the best example of a good woman that some people know.
© 2012 Dora Isaac Weithers