On the surface, the word submission screams prison.
Maybe the word does not connote a physical prison, but a prison of self that subjugates the individual in favor of something else.
I am a strong, independent woman, I can take care of myself, I’ll work as hard as I have to, but I will make it. I will submit to no one, for my power is in my ability to take care of myself. And on, and on, and on, echoed the old me and magnified by the world.
There was a time when “submit” was a four letter word that I vehemently opposed.
During my first journey into Christianity, I pursued Christ, but left out the submission part. I think that was a big part of how things got so bad.
My second pursuit of Christ, though, included full submission and it’s made all the difference. Along the way, several things caused me to look at submission not as relinquishing control, but as a form of ultimate love and trust.
First was the idea of submitting to another person. When my husband and I married, this was for real, and our marriage includes God. Therefore, I needed to understand the concept of biblical marriage and change my heart. This includes the act of submission to my husband. I’d been married twice before and never submitted to either and back then, there was no such thing as submission because submission meant giving up myself for someone else.
That was a lie.
Priscilla Shirer explained marital submission best.
I came across an interview with her in the New York Times article, where the interviewer expressed cynicism about submission, much like my own feminist-informed (lie!) thinking.
Mrs. Shirer’s response knocked me over.
She said that her relationship with her husband is one of mutual submission and acceptance of God’s order. Her role is to submit to him, while his is to be the spiritual head of the household, but in his role, he loves his wife as Christ loves the church, therefore, they ultimately submit to each other. It is submission based in love and trust, where she trusts her husband to seek guidance from the Lord and from her.
Submission to one’s husband is not a dictatorship, it is an act of love, vulnerability, and trust.
When she described the reality of what it means to be a biblical wife, it made more sense.
I also looked to my mother-in-law. Dad always calls Mom his “little Proverb” because of how she emulates the Proverbs 31 wife. When I first heard him say that, I was still in my defensive stance against submission, so I thought he was insulting her. Further study revealed that he pays her the ultimate compliment.
As I’ve grown in my faith, I look to Mom as as example of what it means to be a Christian wife, mother, and woman. She puts her family’s needs above her own and constantly prays for all of us. While she cannot change the whole world, her confidence in us and support of us makes all the difference in how we navigate it. When we were in our darkest moments, her words pointed us to the One who can heal all things. She does not claim to fix things and reminds us that we don’t have to, because that’s why we rely on God. Through her own example, she shows us that coping with life’s darkest moments means clinging to faith and trust in our Heavenly Father.
Her kindness, thoughtfulness, compassion and heart of service are all character traits that I seek to emulate. As I learned what a Proverbs 31 woman really was, and once I shed the feminist thinking that I allowed to hijack my brain, I saw that the best way I can honor God my Father is to be who He created me to be. God created men and women differently and those differences are to be honored, but abhorred and rooted out. However, I only saw the beauty in the differences after I submitted myself to the Lord. Aspiration to become a Proverbs 31 woman who submits to her husband not only has brought peace to my heart, but joy to all the mundane stuff in life.
There was a time in my life where the jealousy I felt toward the women who embraced their God-given traits was blurred by a feminist film of distortion. Are there some women who are called to do great things like lead a Fortune 500 company and fulfill the world’s vision of a super-woman? Yes, but I also understand that women are called to be mothers, wives, teachers, caretakers, and home-sustainers.
My journey to submission was a hard, bumpy road with pits and storms. The truth says “submit” is a six-letter word that exemplifies love and trust, not the four-letter word that instills fear and rebellion.
Where love is, there is freedom.
Accepting God’s will for your life is far more powerful than trying to conform to some expectation we are not meant to fit into. Through my relationship with the One who made me, I realize that women in Christ are free to be who they are according to His will, not the world’s, and with that freedom is a beauty beyond measure.
“Believe God’s love and power more than you believe your own feelings and experiences. Your rock is Christ, and it is not the rock that ebbs and flows, but the sea.” Samuel Rutherford