Submission Is Not A Dirty Word

There–I said it. Really, the statement is for me, but I hope you find solace in it too. It’s taken me a long time to realize this, and it’s taken this storm to realize I wasn’t doing it.

I was listening to one of my Christian podcasts–Journeywomen–this morning. The most recent episode is on submission, and I really felt like God meant for me to hear it today. One of the concepts that stuck out to me was in the midst of the discussion on submitting to husbands: submission does not mean inferiority.

I think it is often the case that when us 21st century, independent Christian women hear “wives, submit to your husbands,” we mistake it for “wives, you are inferior to your husbands.” I hated that verse because of that connotation. But that is not the case. The process of submission involves communication and joint decision-making.

I’ve realized I did not submit to my husband–I fought him tooth and nail on just about everything, including, unfortunately, the calling he felt he had–because if it wasn’t my way, it was wrong. But that isn’t true–just because it’s not how I thought it would be doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

There is nothing wrong with being an independent Christian woman. Independence means not relying on anyone but Christ for your joy, including your spouse. It means knowing who you are in Christ and finding comfort, peace, and meaning in that knowledge. Independence means not being co-dependent.

And the way we do that is through submission. When we submit to God and His will for our lives, we find peace, meaning, and independence. When we submit to our husbands, we find it easier to navigate the ups and downs of life and marriage and our family roles can become more defined and better fit who we are in the Lord.

For me, not submitting to God or my husband meant I felt the need to control everything, and I felt like I was doing everything–from the everyday managing of a household to the spiritual upkeep. I hardly, if ever, allowed my husband the opportunity to lead, let alone figure out what it looked like for us.

The past few days have been a bit emotional for me, and I don’t think it’s coincidence I felt compelled to listen to that episode this morning. So, if allowed the opportunity, I want to submit. Now that I have a better understanding of what submitting to the Lord looks like, I can translate that better to submitting to my husband.

I’m going to try not cringe when I hear the verse about submitting to husbands or when I hear “submission” in general. I’m going to continue to strive to submit everything I am to God.

And I hope that, if you did before, you don’t cringe when you hear “submission.” Because it’s not a bad thing. It is the best thing.

. . . . . .

Do you struggle with submission? What does submission look like for you? How do you work to be in submission to the Lord?

The Thing About Goals

What does reconciliation look like? How long will it take?

I was asked these questions a few weeks ago, but they are questions I don’t have solid answers to. By definition, reconciliation means: (a) agreeing to an amicable truce; (b) resigning to something not desired; and (c) the process of making consistent or compatible. Of course, in the case of which I am speaking, Option C is the definition I am going with.

For the first time in a few months, I had the opportunity to express just that. I had the opportunity to say I have changed and that, basically, it means knowing our individual needs and being able to work through this difficult path together.

I was told it doesn’t seem our goals are compatible “still,” and there was clear frustration. And it was that moment I realized I had said my goals without really expressing them. I’ve spent a year in my own head, evaluating and re-evaluting my goals–for life, my marriage–but I had never had to express that process to someone who had been absent from it for so long.

Really, my goal is to make this work. However I need to. I know what “sacrifices” I am willing to make. I know what I need. I know myself a little better. But I’ve also realized other things.

My goals are flexible. This doesn’t mean I am a doormat. Instead, it means that my goals, and the processes, change as my needs and desires change. And that’s completely okay. As long as I do not feel I am being untrue to who I am, then having flexible goals is fine. For instance, I want to travel. At first, the thought process was something like: “I am determined to find a job abroad and experience that location.” Now, it’s something like: “Oh, I can go on vacation there and eventually return to the territory I am comfortable.” Same goal–traveling–different process to get there.

Ability to do what I need to do. This actually boils down to my anxiety and depressive symptoms. If I feel an episode is coming on, I need to be able to “get out”–of the specific situation, of the location temporarily, of my head–somehow. I need to have the flexibility to do this. I’ve also realized that it’s completely okay to travel, visit family, or go do something without my husband. I relied on him for companionship and to fulfill emotional needs, and I’ve realized it’s unrealistic to expect a human to fill a spot only God can. I need to be able to get outside with Belle or write when I need to or when I am called to.

My marriage. This is plain and simple: I want my marriage. This relationship overrides everything except my relationship with God. I let other people come in with their concerns and their help, and I stopped listening to my husband’s valuable input. Pick your battles. Not everything is worth having an argument over. Compromise will be important. But, all in all, this relationship will win over everything else in life.

Employment. I need a job. Not only is that a financial fact, but it’s a personal need. I can’t not work. Of course, I would prefer to be a writer full time. If he is willing to allow it, then I will, of course, take it. If not, though, I know what sort of jobs I want (and don’t want). I know what sort of sacrifices I can make in this arena. I know what I hope to be.

Really, these things–these realizations, these conversations–take time. And I’m not sure how much. In the end, I said I realized what I am willing to do, and that I will do whatever it takes.

. . . . . .

The next few days are big. I hope to be able to properly express my goals. I pray for the wisdom to be silent when needed, but to also speak the right words. I pray for the Lord’s guidance and grace. I pray for His favor. I feel ready, and I pray He finds me ready too.

Through all of this, my goal has been to get to know the Lord better. I have prayed more. I have found an amazing church and community of believers. I have written more, thereby working toward fulfilling the calling He has placed on my life. My goal has been to get to know who I am in Him.

My prayer is that this is part of that.