SUBMISSION: A GIFT & A CURSE

Friday, October 19, 2012

I couldn't stop tossing and turning in my sleep early this morning--partly due to the fact that my legs are aching from my recent work out craze, and the other part of me pondering over the beauty & struggle of biblical submission.

I'll admit: the term "submit" made me cringe when I first heard of it in a women's studies course on religion back in my college days. Alike many of my fellow female classmates, coming to college and discovering feminism caused me to jump ship from those childhood dreams of being a wife with a husband who treated me like a queen, having two kids, a dog & the white picket fence to now being a woman who will make the revolutionary switch of spending her life pursuing a career, wealth & even having children, all without the help of a man. Yes, I was a Christian. But in all honesty, I wasn't too fond of God telling me my wifely duties had anything to do with being some man's doormat.

Now that I'm actually engaged and am fairly close to making my way down the aisle, I took it upon myself to look at the Bible and see what it really says about marriage and the roles of husbands and wives. I felt like all of the books I read about the Bible and the interpretations of other people clouded my ability to really hear and know what God had to say about it--by Himself. I've heard it once said that, "If you take the text out of context, you will get conned." And in my studying of who God created me to be as a woman and future wife, I can definitely say that I've been bamboozled.

As women, we naturally want to take the lead, but then get mad at men who don't "step up." But how can they step into the position that was designed for them if we're standing in it? We need to move out of the way and let men be men by playing our role to help, encourage, support and uplift them, not take their spot and complain that they're not doing their job when we're doing it for them. Granted, many women are forced to take on the role that wasn't intended for them. But whether you have a baby daddy or a husband, that's still no excuse for you not to positively motivate him to be who he's called to be. Many men won't or can't step up because we as women are unwilling to step down.

Many women simply refuse or will put up one heck of a fight when it comes to submission. But why? I think it mainly boils down to two words: no trust. No woman is going to willingly and happily submit to a man that she can't trust. I say willingly because there are in fact many women who submit to untrustworthy men because of emotion--loneliness, fear, lust, and so on--which is why a woman who is being mistreated, cheated on or even abused in some way is willing to stay in the relationship and ride it out. But submission God's way gives us the freedom to be the strong yet loving women that God created us to be, not ties us in chains to be someone's slave.

I struggled with this, and it wasn't until Kevin and I started seriously talking about marriage that I realized there was part of me that was fearful of letting him lead as my future husband. God had told Kevin repeatedly that I was going to be his wife, and to cover up my trust issues, I'd stall by telling Kevin that I needed to hear from God in order to move forward. And sure enough, God let me know Kevin and I had the green light to get married, but He also showed me that I was trying to be married and still be an "independent woman." I needed to "let go and let God" as they say, allowing God take care of shaping Kevin to be the man He wanted him to be rather than me forcing him, nagging him, and stepping into his role. Growing up, the only example I could look to was my mom's relationship with my step dad. Though she was in a committed relationship, she had to be mom and dad. I didn't realize that this had taken a toll on my own approach to marriage. But God's design for marriage is that the "two become one," not the two stay two. Independence is meant to change to unity and dependance upon one another, which can really only happen through trust. And I didn't fully trust my fiancĂ© to lead our marriage because I was so busy trying to "wear the pants" that weren't fit for me. 

Finally, I made up in my mind that I was going to focus on learning how to be a godly wife rather than consuming myself with who Kevin ought to be as a husband. And whenever I had a complaint or concern, I'd encourage Kevin instead of nagging him and poured out my heart to God to change him, because I realized I couldn't. And right before my eyes, God was--and still is--transforming Kevin to be an even stronger, wiser, loving man of God! I could do nothing but laugh and smile when I'd see Kevin getting ready to make a not-so-smart move and after I would zip my lip from nagging & prayed, he'd come to me and would say he realized that he made a wrong decision, and God showed him what he needed to do. It was then that I was finally able to give over the reigns and trust Kevin with my heart, life and future because I knew he was willing to submit to God's instruction and correction.

Trust is one of the components of a relationship that most men and women agree is essential to have. But as a woman, if you can't trust him to take the lead in marriage, why date him? If we as women are afraid to let go of the reigns because we're afraid that if we hand them over to a man, he'll lead us off a cliff....something's wrong, and that something may not have anything to do with him, but starts with us. Although the definition of marriage and submission according to the Bible is something that I won't unpack now, I challenge you to seek what God has to say for yourself, and see if what you think about marriage lines up with the way it ought to be. Ephesians 5 & 1 Peter 3 are awesome places to start. Beyond these, I have been studying every wife mentioned in the Bible--the good & bad--and journal letters to myself about what they're lives have taught me. 

With all that said, how do you feel about submission?

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