What does the submission mean to you? Submission has always been a dirty word to me. To me it meant someone else had control of me. I felt strongly that women shouldn’t be controlled by their husbands. As a self-reliant, independent woman, submission was completely unacceptable. I really believed that no one would or should have control of me. I certainly wasn’t going to be some meek and quiet mom who never questioned the orders of her husband. Marriage was to be a partnership, or I would have no part of it.
Today, I have a very different view of submission and what it means to be subject to something. Submission is about relationship and supporting that relationship. Much of my new understanding is due to a book and teaching by Jack Frost, “Spiritual Slavery to Spiritual Sonship.”
The reality is I am not in control of my life. God is. In fact, none of us are in control of our lives. If we are not subject to God’s mission, then we are subject to the enemy’s. In Greek, submission means to get underneath or be dependent. God calls us to be in submission to others if we are going to be in submission to Him. I started to understand how this is lived out in relationships even before I tagged the word submission to it.
Several years ago while away at a conference, my husband was at home with two small children to care for while working, and he got the flu. All of this began to take its toll on him. He called me while I was away to express his distress. Then he said that this would be my last year volunteering so I should make the most of it. I was instantly enraged. Who did he think he was telling me I was going to give up this trip? I had enough sense to know that trying to solve this over the phone was pointless. I kept my anger to myself and decided to finish the conversation when I returned home.
I hung up the phone and sobbed. I played out my entire side of the argument in my head. It sounded a little like this, “If I am giving this up this conference, what are you giving up: fishing opener, hunting? This is the only thing I do for me that takes me away from home, how could he be so selfish? He’s going to have to give up an equal number of days. Doesn’t he know how much I sacrifice for him all year, long…” This went on for quite a while.
Then it hit me like a brick. The enemy doesn’t get my marriage. (Whom am I going to be subject to?) It became glaringly apparent to me that this disagreement could put a huge wedge of resentment in our marriage. Thankfully, God stopped me and showed me what I was doing. God showed me that I was about to damage my relationship with Curt over a trip. This was really about our relationship. It was not about me getting my way or vise versa.
When I returned home, we sat down to talk it out. In his mind we probably could have waited until the following year to make a decision about next year’s trip. My mind was hashing it over and over and over and couldn’t let it go until we talked about it. He listened as I shared with him what this trip meant to me. I told him that it was more than continuing education. This trip was about renewal and reunion. I shared with him that I appreciated the sacrifice he makes for me to take this trip. I also said if this trip was to much of a sacrifice for me to ask of him then I would not go next year. He had to know that our marriage meant more to me than the trip. He responded by saying that it was a very difficult week being sick, but he couldn’t ask me to give up the trip.
At that time, I only knew I was protecting my marriage. Now I see it as an act of submission. I didn’t have the concept of getting underneath and pushing up rather than pushing against and tearing apart. Submission is not about Curt controlling me or me giving up my independence. Instead, it is about love and sacrifice. It is about giving away the kind of love God has given me.
Ephesians 5:21 says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
As Jack Frost puts it, it is to get underneath and push up. It is about sacrifice and surrender to everyone. This includes the boss, the custodian and the cashier. We submit out of reverence for Christ, not.
What does submission mean to you? Share your story here.
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