God-Defined Success

How does God define success? How can we know that we’re experiencing success in God’s eyes? In today’s episode, I’m sharing some nuggets from Proverbs 31 that businesswomen can start using to define their success – God’s Way!


Resources Mentioned

Sunday Reset
Your Passion His Purpose
Renew180 (formerly 180Confidence)

Is the Proverbs 31 Woman Attainable?

If you’ve been going to women’s Bible study groups for any length of time, you’ve probably heard about the Proverbs 31 woman. She’s the perfect picture of a woman who has it all together.

She knows how to make money, take care of her family, and keep her husband encouraged. And when we read about her, we might think that her life is unattainable. There just doesn’t seem to be any way to measure up.

But the Proverbs 31 woman is an example that is meant to help us live lives full of God-defined success, and every businesswoman can benefit from the wisdom found in Proverbs 31.

Here are 9 lessons that we can learn from the Proverbs 31 woman:

Make Wise Investments

“She considers a field and buys it…” Proverbs 31:16a

The Proverbs 31 woman knew how to invest her money. She considered the field first, found it to be a good investment, and bought it.

How can we invest our money wisely? Pray about it.

You might think, “I don’t have a lot of money to invest right now.” But I want to broaden your view of investment. Investing isn’t just about money. It’s about your time, energy, and every other resource that you have.

Investing your time wisely could mean reading your Bible, taking the time to learn new skills, getting advice from others, etc.

When you invest your time in people, you’ll never be poor. Investing your time in volunteering at church or in your community is another way to wisely invest your time.

How are you investing your talents? Jesus tells a parable about how servants used their talents (a type of currency). One servant received one talent, another two, and the last received five. The master expected the servants to use the talents that they were given.

For us, that might mean money, but it also might mean skills and time.

How are you investing the talents that God has given you? Whatever God has put into your hands, use it!

Build Up Your Strength

“Her arms are strong for her tasks.” Proverbs 31:17b

We have to prioritize health and strength so that we can do the things that God has called us to do.

This does not mean that you have to be a certain size or lose a certain amount of weight. What it does mean is that you need to make sure that your body is in the condition that you need to serve God in the ways that He has called you.

I never want my body to be the reason that I say “no” to something that God has called me to do.

Motivation has a huge impact on the actions we take and our results. The thoughts that you think and the emotions that come from those thoughts are what drive your actions.

When you decide to change your body because you’re motivated to do the things that God wants you to do, you’re going to find that following through with your health goals is easier.

It’s my prayer that even when I’m 80 years old, I’ll still have enough strength to do what He has called me to do in that season of my life.

I understand that there are people reading this who have physical conditions that limit certain activities or keep them from doing certain tasks. In that case, though, I think you should do your best and leave God the rest.

If you have physical impairments, ask God to help you see what you can do with the body that He has given you. He knows your situation, and He will give you the tools and energy to do what He has called you to do.

I love the ending of Proverbs 31:17: “Her arms are strong for her tasks.” Nothing more, nothing less.

Audit Your Success

“She sees that her trading is profitable…” Proverbs 31:18a

When I read this verse, I think of a woman who has some self-reflection in her life. She knows how to audit her success.

She is looking back at the trading she did to see if she made a profit, and she is deciding if it is something that she wants to do again. BONUS: I have another blog post where I talk about using weekly resets to audit your success. Check it out here: Sunday Reset.

When we make time to reflect on our lives, we see better results. Taking action is great, but if you’re not evaluating what you’ve done, you’re missing out on valuable learning experiences.

At the end of every quarter or every month, we can look back at the goals that we set for ourselves and evaluate our actions to see if they lined up with our goals. Ask yourself, “Do my actions show that I am going in the direction of where I want to be?”

When you have your goals at the front of your mind, they will drive your actions and help you get where you want to be.

Don’t forget to infuse grace into the goals that you set. It’s not just about meeting the goal. It’s about the person you will become as you are meeting those goals.

Last, but not least, when something is completed, make sure that you are giving God the glory for your success. On our own, we aren’t capable of much. With God, though, we see the type of God-defined success that doesn’t ebb and flow with our emotions.

Be prepared

“…her lamp does not go out at night.” Proverbs 31:18b

This woman was wise to have enough oil in her lamp so that it didn’t go out at night. As diligent workers, we can make sure that we’re the most prepared person in the room.

When I was a young driver, I would always run out of gas, and either my boyfriend (now husband) or dad would have to stop what they were doing and help me.

Now I’m older and wiser. I almost never let my car get below a quarter of a tank of gas because I want to be prepared.

As you are going after your God-given dreams, make sure that you are prepared. Get the skills and resources that you need.

It’s good to be prepared at home, but we need to be prepared at work, too. That might mean finishing your assignments ahead of time, looking towards the future to find out what your business is going to need, or otherwise preparing to do your best in your career.

Having routines and good habits can help you be prepared for whatever comes up.

Use Tools to Be More Efficient

“In her hands, she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.” Proverbs 31:19

This woman knows what tools she needs and how to use them effectively. What are the tools of your trade? Are you using them efficiently?

As a businesswoman, you want to make sure that your outer world is creating confidence in your inner mind. I really teach this in Renew180 (formerly 180Confidence), a six-month mastermind for building confidence.

In that mastermind, I teach women how to use their tools efficiently. One of the ways I teach that is by helping women get to “inbox zero.” This is a system that I created to make sure that my inbox has very few emails. I’ve worked with women who have thousands of emails in their inboxes, but they are able to use my advice to get down to zero. It’s a definite confidence booster.

The Proverbs 31 woman has a distaff and a spindle, but our tools might be Google Drive, email, task management systems, etc. Once you have the right tools and know how to use them effectively, you’ll have an easier time reaching God-defined success.

Be Generous

“She opens her arms to the poor, and she extends her hands to the needy.” Proverbs 31:20

It is wise in business (and ministry) to be generous.

You can’t outgive a giver, and God values people who are generous with others. When you are generous, God sees that He can trust you with resources.

I always like to give the example of an open hand. When God places something in your hand and you leave your hand open, you’re allowing others to share in what God has given you. Now picture your hand closing over what God has given you and clasping it tightly.

When you hold what God has given you too tightly, you’re not able to be generous. Can you give someone something with a closed hand or an open hand?

Think of your life as an open hand. When your hand is open, it’s easy to share, but it’s also easier for God to add more to your hand.

My husband and I own a small business in a small town, and we think that it is important to be generous with the community. We want people to see God’s generosity through us.

When you have an attitude of generosity, it will come back to you. As the Bible says, we reap what we sow.

Look for ways you can be generous to others!

Accept responsibility

“She makes coverings for her bed.” Proverbs 31:22

A wise woman takes responsibility for the things around her.

The Proverbs 31 woman had a lot of things going on. She was buying fields and taking care of business, but she never forgot to take care of things at home. She took responsibility for everything in her life.

That translates into your work, too. The habits that you build at home spill into your work. If you are in the habit of picking up the house every night before bed, that will translate into you organizing your desk every evening before you leave work.

In the evening, I strive to make sure that my desk isn’t cluttered and is ready to go for the next day.

Taking responsibility for yourself is ultimately about building habits that better you AND the people around you. When you take responsibility instead of casting blame, you are being the best self you can be while allowing those around you to be their best selves, too.

Create Multiple Streams of Income

“She makes linen garments and sells them and supplies the merchants with sashes.” Proverbs 31:24

This woman works at home, buys fields, plants vineyards, and works as a wholesaler for merchants. From this, we can see the wisdom of multiple streams of income.

We don’t always talk about money in Christian circles, but I want you to see that when you have multiple streams of income, you also have multiple streams of impact. Your income is directly related to the impact that you can make.

When you have multiple streams of income, you have more freedom to impact the people around you.

This is especially true for the times we live in because the future can be shaky. Even if you have a good job, there is no guarantee that it will continue. If you diversify your income, you can experience long-term success.

My husband and I have a brick-and-mortar business. It started with selling one line of products, but we have since expanded. Now we have a parts department, a service department, and a wider range of products. If one area of our business has a hard year, other areas can compensate.

On a personal level, we have other ventures. All of these streams insulate us and protect us from financial hardships. We can’t put all of our eggs in one basket.

Clothe Yourself with Strength and Dignity

Proverbs 31:25 “She is clothed with strength and dignity…”

Strength and dignity only come from living out our daily lives with character and integrity. When we are striving to be successful, it can be easy to lose some of that character and integrity. Stay grounded in God’s Word.

Good qualities only come from doing the day-to-day work that we don’t always want to do. Success is about small daily acts of character and integrity.

Having general success is good, but having God-defined success will bring the kind of joy and confidence that only comes from knowing that you are doing what God wants you to do.

Proverbs 31 says that this woman laughs at the days that are to come. She does not worry because she has lived wisely.

Women who are filled with grace and wisdom can look forward to change because change means growth. Change leads to a brighter future.


The ultimate goal of the Proverbs 31 Woman was to please God. She wasn’t doing all these things just to make money or be given accolades. She was doing them because it pleased God.

When you approach life with this mentality, you are saying, “I want to be successful, but most of all, I want to please God.” This is the difference between wanting success for your own sake and wanting it for the sake of God’s glory.

If you are a professional Christian businesswoman, I want you to check out Renew180 (formerly 180Confidence). As I said earlier, it’s a 6-month mastermind to boost your confidence in every area of your life. We’ll be talking about increasing confidence at work, in relationships, with our bodies, and more.

I’ll also show you how you can change your thoughts about confidence. I know that after 180 days in this program, you’ll be a different woman. Join today!

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- Ashley Varner

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