The story of Ruth in the Bible was always a curious story. I wasn't certain what lessons could be learned there. One of the commenters on my Life Giver post mentioned that she finds it difficult to be noticed now that she's toned down her boldness - attempting to be less intimidating.
Is that the right answer? I don't know. But I think, finally, Ruth may have something to say.
Ruth was a woman from a different country going with her mother-in-law to a new land. The book portrays her as a quiet woman, she never seems to have a whole lot to say. She is no Rebekah or Abigail. She lacks the defiance of Michal and Tamar. She almost comes off as...dare I say it? A wallflower. Nothing is said of her beauty (that I know of) and she is described as a widow. Which she is. She doesn't sound like your typical heroine.
She notices a man who is kind to her. I wonder if Boaz took much note of her other than her being Naomi's shadow. She tells Naomi about him and Naomi claims he would be the best husband for Ruth! He is a kinsman and possibly the closest living relative to Naomi's sons. But first, Boaz must NOTICE Ruth.
Quiet, submissive Ruth. She fades into the backdrop of grain fields and sunny afternoons, lost in the hubbub of a threshing floor. No one seems to notice that she shouldn't be there...yet there she is. And lays at Boaz's feet. Such a bold move. And yet in a completely submissive way. What man wouldn't notice a woman boldly offering herself to him? Not boldly claiming him for herself, but boldly offering herself.
At the completely opposite end of the spectrum is Abigail. She is no wallflower. She is described as beautiful, daring. She is highly respected by the household servants, where her husband is not. She isn't described as disrespectful, but she does come off as very bold. When her husband insults David and he raises his army to come against Nabal, Abigail goes out to protect her household. And the first thing she does when she finds herself faced against David's wrath was to fall on her face in the dirt and cry out "My Lord!"
Abigail was not ashamed of her boldness. She never tempered it in any fashion, and yet she submitted her boldness to her King - never sacrificing it.
And what kind of men did these women end up with? Ruth ended up with a gentle, loving husband. Abigail gained the love and respect of the greatest King of Israel.
I think that if we as women make ourselves less than what we are, we will end up with men that don't have the capacity to let us be more than what we are. Be bold. Be brave. Be intelligent. But be willing to submit that boldness, bravery, and intelligence to a man who is capable of handling it.