"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come."
Recently, I've been thinking a lot about dignity. Contemplating what exactly it entails, what exactly it means, and how exactly it applies to daily life. And I've drawn some conclusions - albeit my interpretations may be different than what others may believe to be true, but nonetheless here they are.
To be clothed in strength and dignity is to be draped in ability, a heart and soul overflowing with self-worth. The knowledge that you matter and you are valuable. It's the understanding that you are a palpable piece in the puzzle of life and God created you for a purpose much greater than you know. To have dignity, one must also have humility. With a keen sense of self one needs an even keener sense of the Lord. And in so doing, the possibility of arrogance slips away as the focus is no longer on yourself but on God and how he is going to use you, your talents, and your self for his work.
And then there's strength. And of course - that should be the easy one, right? Everyone knows what strength is. To have strength is to be strong - not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. It's the ability to make it through even the toughest of falls and the craziest of swells. Somehow you're able to find your way to the shore and not let the waves break you down. You can make it to land and look back to see the storm subside, knowing you made it through and that's something to be proud of. And you may forget how much strength it took you to get to where you are until the next storm comes and then you do it all over again. But that's the thing - you do it. You don't just sit on the deck and let yourself get tossed around - getting cut and bruised by the broken planks without even thinking to cling to safety or row back to shore.
But more than being strong - strength is being able to be weak. What people don't think about when they think about strength is that in order to be strong - you must be able to be weak. You have to be in tune with your self enough to allow the pain to be felt. And it's after this weakness that the strong part of strength comes in because honestly, there's two options for whatever you're going through.
Option 1: You can let yourself drown in the despair and let the pain wash you clean off the ship, and you can not make it back to shore due to your inability to feel the pain and keep on going anyway.
Option 2: You can take up the rows and lead yourself to solid ground. And yeah - the journey will be hard, but you will eventually reach where stability lies and the rain will go from a downpour to a drizzle, and the waves will calm and you'll be okay.
The biggest difference in people lies in those who get back up when they fall compared to those who choose to stay down. And let me just say that the view's better when you get back on your feet. And no matter how hard it is to keep your head held high, the more you do it, the easier it will get. And you'll be okay.
Which brings me back to Proverbs 31:25 because I don't believe you can truly have strength without dignity or vice versa. They come hand in hand. And together they provide the self worth and respect for yourself and your experiences that is deserved.