Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Edit Your Life: Your views on my submission

I had a very interesting conversation with a male friend the other day. This particular friend often goes on rants about my faith, particularly how it has traditionally treated women. As a matter of history, I agree, Christianity and most faiths to be honest, have treated women terribly. But one element of the discussion I strongly disagree with was when we began to discuss submission.

Now, for the record, I am a raging feminist. I strongly believe that women can do anything men can do. I believe in the equality of the genders.

That being said, the older I get, the more I believe in an order of things, a balance that can be struck to achieve harmony. And submission helps achieve this order and balance.

Submission is defined as "the condition of being humble, or obedient."

You can submit to anything from the teacher in whom's class you sit to the doctor whose advice you take to your hairstylist who you let near your crown with harmful things and she turns your hair into a masterpiece all the way up to God, in whom I trust to lead my life.

For the purpose of this Edit, we are talking submission strictly in romantic relationships.

There is a level of either established trust or credibility for anyone you submit to. It is incredibly difficult to submit to someone you don't know or don't trust.

The same is incredibly true for relationships. It's damn near impossible to trust a man who is incapable of leading himself anywhere. And if you cannot trust him, you simply cannot submit to him.

My first lady at my church says it best: "Submission is easy when headship is right." This is a principle I have held on to. If anyone wants you to be submissive to them, particularly a man, he must  recognize the sacrifice that is made when a woman does submit herself, respect that sacrifice, and prove himself worthy of that trust. When a man has proven that he can take care of himself and you, not because you are incapable of caring for yourself, but in honor of who you are as his woman, that is when submission becomes easier for a woman.

So, let's edit:

No, my faith is not demanding that I be submissive.
But I call upon my faith to teach me how to be submissive. Before I am submissive to anyone, I am submissive to God. Proverbs 3:5-6 says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." My trust in God allows me to be submissive to Him, the more trust He develops within me, the more I am able to submit. I can trust Him to lead my life because He has shown Himself more than trust worthy over the time I have walked with Him.

In trusting God, in submitting to God's leadership of my life, I submit to His guiding as far as relationships are concerned. Think about how much heartbreak, confusion, and mistakes could we avoid if we simply relied upon God's leading in relationships. If I trust Him to guide my everyday, surely I can trust Him to guide me to the person I am supposed to be with in those days. And if He led me there and led that person there, then, if I really trust Him, I can trust that He has led me to the one worthy of my submission.

No, I don't believe a man is "better" than me to lead.
I have proof of this in my own life. My submission beliefs strictly fall within the context of marriage. There have been many men over the eons of the faith that have abused the intent of the scriptures, applying their own misogyny in order to restrict women. That is true.

But what is also true is that God values women, women like Esther and Deborah who would save their people. Women like Jael who would become a warrior for God's people. Women like Abigail who would be applauded for her wisdom. Women like Mary Magdalene, who would be the first in all of history to proclaim the Gospel of the risen Savior.

My submission to God actually helps me see the equality between the genders. Both men and women have a roll to play. There is a perfect order to things. And there is a responsibility a man must accept if he receives headship, or leadership of a thing. He gets the full weight, the full responsibility of that relationship. In submission, it allows me to support him. In essence, if he is the head, I am the backbone. Not a bad job.

No, no man is forcing me to submit.
But it is my choice. In choosing to marry a particular man, it becomes my choice to

No, Submission isn't for every relationship.
But it is reserved for marriage.

It is not wise to submit to anyone who has not first committed to you.

(I'll just leave that right there.)

Ephesians 5:22-24 says "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." As a wife, it honors God and the husband that we submit to our husband's leading. While  decisions and choices can and should be discussed in a manner that both the husband and wife feel heard and understood, the wife is to defer to her husband.

But guys are also commanded something in this deal. Ephesians 5:25-28 also says "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." Meaning the husband is responsible to God for how he treats his wife. He is commanded to love her as he loves himself. The same way he must care for and value himself is the same way he must care for and value her. God takes it VERY seriously the way a husband treats his wife, so much so that if the husband mistreats her, 1 Peter 3:7 says that his prayers (not hers) will be hindered.

No, my submission isn't making me weak.
It takes great faith in God and great trust in the person you love to submit to him. When it works right, this strength is honored by God and respected by the husband, causing a continuum of trust building and harmony within the relationship.

No, none of this is popular belief, but they are mine. In a society that tells you that you should get married so that that person can make you happy, words like sacrifice, responsibility, and, yes, submission, are incredibly unpopular. I believe that if we get back to those heavy, yet meaningful words and ideals, that we will be better for it.

Let's talk! What do you think about this Edit Your Life? Share away and drop a comment below!