I know this won’t be the last of it… only because I limp along using it every day. But, I had so many comments (most via email or in person, but there is a “comment” button that welcomes any and all ideas :) about last week’s “submission” admission, I’m cratering to requests to share our story (this is just our – incredibly imperfect attempt at marriage… I’d (we’d) LOVE to hear how y’all do it.)
About nine years ago, I realized I was completely running our house. I don’t think it was some power play for me. It’s just that Jon and I are both super laid back and I’m pretty comfortable running things. I’m not a women’s libber. But whether we are or we aren’t, we’ve all been taught that women can and should be running things. We have brains just like men. We are more than capable to function as well, if not better, in academia, the workplace, so many arenas.
All that is true. At least society certainly preaches it. But, what about he Bible? I like to filter issues through Scripture. If something is true, you can rest assured it will be included in the ultimate Truth. So, let’s briefly research women leadership. In the first half of the book, I find Deborah in Judges, a powerful and great woman, ordained by God, who led the Israelites through some major difficulties. Moving right on to the New Testament and I see Lydia who ran her own company and hosted a church in her home.
Okay… women leading isn’t bad. So what’s the big deal, me leading our home? And that “submission” word sounds horrible. Wrong. Akin to slavery. Whey should I be under my husband? ..who, by the way, really doesn’t get it. I do a much better job seeing the things going on around us and stepping in to handle them in a timely fashion. My word… things would never get done if I didn’t do it.
Step 1. Park my baggage outside my front door. Just the word alone brings some major issues to head in my mind. Slavery being the biggest. Well, probably slavery and pride .. if I’m being honest… pride along the lines of “Who does he think he is telling me what to do?!”
Step 2. Realize and sink my teeth into the truth that God just might know what He’s talking about. In Isaiah, He very clearly states:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
In Ephesians, He tells me, “Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord” … which leads to the next super biggie step that makes it all doable.
Step 3. Realize this submission thing has absolutely nothing, yes nothing, to do with my husband. But it has everything to do with serving, obeying, resting in God. God, who is the one constant in this crazy life. The only One in whom I can fully trust, who has my back, who loves me always… even when I dis Him day in and day out, He never gives up on me. He genuinely wants the best for me – no ulterior motive – no putting Himself first – just love for me.
“Obey my commands … so that all will go well with you.” Deuteronomy. God doesn’t have it out for me (you). He has it in for me.
Step 4. JDI … just do it. Swallow (okay, choke down) my massive pride and let my husband lead – not for him, but so I can in some small way obey and serve God as He directs me to. There really aren’t many black and white, clear directives in Scripture … but this is one (as is “Children obey your parents.”). Oh, and I don’t have to go it alone. There’s a little bit about God giving me the strength and that He is with me wherever I go.
So, knowing my propensity to lead, I actually went to Jon and said, “By the way, I’m going to try this submission thing. Hope you don’t mind me running everything by you.” Which I did… everything! Jon tired of that quickly and told me, “You have complete authority over …” and he set clearly on my plate several of the things I had already been doing. This time, though, the rule of order had been established.
The benefits? Wow… there are SO many. Not to mention the major boost it gave (and gives) my husband. Similar to the benefits the kids get from working, his self esteem is bolstered. And, again just like with kids and work, when I step in and do everything – the unspoken message is loud and clear, “I’m leading because you aren’t capable”(probably a self-fulfilling prophesy). Yuck. I don’t really believe that, I just like to be in control.
Biggest benefit (warning … you might be shocked) FREEDOM. George Michael, singing from the rooftops freedom. The buck doesn’t stop with me! I don’t have to do it all! I pass it by my guy, take what he puts on my plate, procrastinate on doing what’s on my plate (…working on that :), and head to the park to genuinely enjoy the day, unencumbered by the heavy weight of responsibility that never should have been on my plate to begin with.
Ooohh, wait. If I let it sink in one layer further, I just might realize that my relationship with that word (submission) provides hands on experience that I can daily apply to my relationship with God. I hadn’t really thought about that until recently (I’m sure on a day when I was fighting with every ounce of my strong stubborn will something that Jon told me we couldn’t do). Walking through the motions of submitting to my husband is like training for an athletic event. Since I’ve been struggling though the miles day after day (some workouts better than others) I could, if called today, swim a mile without being distracted by the pain that would certainly accompany use of non-toned muscles.
Not to avoid a potential HUGE issues: What if I don’t believe in God? What if my husband is absent? What if my husband is abusive? There might be even heavier stuff. I can’t begin to imagine what might be going on in people’s homes. There are much better resources than me to address hard questions and issues. But, whether I believe in God or not, I can’t deny the proven life principals peppered throughout the Bible. In fact, my belief has absolutely no bearing on the veracity of its words.
So, in the end, I get a glimpse of the truth. This submission thing has nothing to do with a prison sentence, a punishment, a “lesson” … but everything to do with building me up so I live in peace and, in some small way, better serve God.
And… as you saw the other day… I’m not so good at it. I struggle all the time, especially when Jon doesn’t agree with me regarding some issue on which I’m right (not in a prideful way, but actually right). Having to submit to that almost takes my breath away. But since we’ve been hobbling down this road the last few years, we’ve both started to trust each other much more. He knows that when I press on an issue, I’m really not trying to manipulate. And I know that he is listening, not trying to undermine my insight. We’re getting better at working together, rather than alone or even against each other.
So, “submission”… it’s not an easy pill to swallow, but it’s better than any vitamin you might find at the health food store. A sure-fire restoration to an institution ordained from the beginning… literally :)
Thanks for walking the humble road with me.
On a lighter note :) … Here’s the latest from the hoarding front:
ting in the car.