Looking for Improvers in the women of the Bible can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. We know that there are fewer Improvers in the population compared to Stabilizers, and since they are a behind-the-scenes type of personality there not all up in your face, but it still seems too hard. In heaven we will get to meet many of these women face-to-face and it will become crystal clear, but for now we just have to guess.
One of the first Improver women we see in scripture, isn’t even a real person. Wisdom, who’s personified as a woman in the book of Proverbs, displays all of the best qualities of an Improver, which may be why God chose “her” be with Him in the beginning. Proverbs 8:30 tells us that Lady Wisdom stood as the “the craftsman at his side,” during the greatest act of creativity ever known, the formation of the world. What a perfect use of her artistic and imaginative mind. Having stood the test of time, like all things of supreme quality, Lady Wisdom is still active today, teaching us what is right, inspiring lawfulness, and keeping us out of trouble. Listen to what she says. It’s soooo beautifully Improver-ish.
- I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice.(Proverbs 8:20)
- Whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.(Proverbs 1:33)
- If you accept my words…you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. (Proverbs 2: 1, 9)
- I open my lips to speak what is right. My mouth speaks what is true…All the words of my mouth are just;…they are faultless to those who have knowledge. (Proverbs 6-9)
Lady Wisdom’s description, just like her character, is beautiful and poetic, calling forth a more excellent way as she displays God’s moral authority to those who have eyes to see.
I believe Ester was an Improver too. Ester, a Jewish girl who became queen of Persia, lived a beyond-ordinary life due to her respect for rules and compassion for her people. She was highly disciplined, enduring an entire year of beauty treatments with grace and poise, not because she liked it but because it was expected of her. Her longstanding respect for authority (“for she continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up” Ester 2:20), prepared Ester to be able to adhere to palace protocol, winning the favor of the king, protecting her from danger, and moving her to fight injustice for her people. She planned it well, as all good Improvers do. First, she fasted for the three days, careful to seek God’s guidance in order to do the right thing. Next, she prepared a banquet for the king remaining cautious and taking her time. Instead of rushing into her request, she asked the king to return a second time to make sure everything was perfect. And when it was, she spoke with integrity and forthrightness, compassionately pleading for her life and the lives of her people.
I suspect that the apostle Peter’s wife was an Improver simply because of her husband. We first learn that Peter had a wife in Matthew 8:14 when Jesus came to Peter’s house and saw his mother-in-law, lying there sick with fever. You don’t get a mother-in-law unless you have a wife. We learn in 1 Corinthians 9:5 that she as “a believing wife” accompanied him on some of his missionary journeys. And I wonder too if Peter was thinking of her when he described women in his epistle (see 1 Peter 3).
The reason I’m inclined to think that Peter’s wife is an Improver is because she is married to a Connecter. We are most naturally attracted to differences in personality, and Improvers and Connecters are personality opposites. One is light the other is deep, one is serious the other is silly, one is cautious the other throws caution to the wind. I do wonder if Peter’s wife was the yin to balance his yang.
MARY OF BETHANY
In the three different encounters she has with Jesus, Mary of Bethany demonstrates several Improver qualities. While her Doer sister, Martha, flies around the house working and striving, Mary sits at Jesus’ feet, “choosing what is better” so that she could learn from her Lord and make knowledge of Him her top priority. Later when her brother Lazarus had died, her deep sorrow affected Jesus and drew Him deeper into His emotions (“He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” John 11:33) as they wept together and meeting her Improver needs for compassion and understanding. Finally, in one of the most beautiful scenes of sacrificial love, Mary, described as “a woman with insight who chose the best,” takes her most prized possession of highest quality and great value, and anoints Jesus head and feet with an expensive jar of perfume. Her contemplative nature allowed her to develop what Gien Karssen, in her book Her Name is Woman, calls “a spiritual insight and understanding of things which other people didn’t see.” In the most perfect way she could, Mary honored her Lord, and He said for all of us to hear, “She has done a beautiful thing to me” (Mark 14:6).
These women represent the best that Improvers have to offer. Qualities like discipline, compassion, and creativity mixed with a love of truth, justice, and God’s way show us an aspect of God’s character that we all need to see.
For more information on an Improver’s strengths, weaknesses, leadership style, anger trigger, and self care needs check out the Improver ebook.