Monday, June 27, 2011

Submission: It isn't a Scary Thing! It's a Respect Thing!

Some days I choose to do everything in my power to avoid conflict.  I try to avoid controversy.  Keep my head low, focus on what I'm doing, put my blinders on to the outside world, and bite my tongue. 

Then there are days like today.  The days where I open my big mouth and let the words fly! 

Though I try to walk a fine line of not causing dissension, there comes a time that I just can't zip my lips any longer.  Today is that day.

There are going to be people that disagree with me.  They are entitled to that opinion.  There are going to be people that agree with me and I hope that God continues to give them the encouragement they need to continue to "press in" and live out that principle. 

What is this controversial topic?

Submission.  Specifically the role of husbands, wives and the leadership of the home.  It's been creating quite a bit of buzz everywhere I've turned lately and I guess that has been my signal that it is time to stop biting my own tongue.

I'm going to admit that I'm aggravated.  I'm so tired of hearing women trash their husbands.  I'm tired of watching them take over every lead role in the home.  In general, homes are falling apart.  Marriages are failing.  Parents are being best friends instead of parents to their children.  Family values are declining.  There is a HUGE breakdown happening at a rapid pace and it's beginning in the home.  Many times it's beginning in the way that husband and wife are interacting.

Do I believe that submission of the wife to the husband is the biggest contributing factor?  Maybe not, but it is absolutely part of the solution. 

Before the arrows start heading my way, let me explain myself. 

I am strong willed.  I am set in my ways.  I am far from stupid.  I am capable of handling most anything and everything that is thrown at me.  If I don't know how to do something, by gosh, I can surely find out and do it.  I am not anyone's doormat.  I have value.  I have rights to my opinions and can choose to voice them. 

Submission doesn't take away any of that! 

The Bible plainly gives direction in 1 Peter 3 and in Ephesians 5.  It doesn't get much clearer than verses 22 and 23. 

22) Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23) 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.

Not much wiggle room there!  I didn't see any words there that says "maybe" you should do this.  I don't see any words that say "if you want to". 

However, let's remember that the Bible doesn't give the husband the right to treat his wife in a servant role.  We aren't dirt under his feet.  We aren't second class.  Though we aren't necessarily equals----we aren't beneath him either. 

The Bible's instructions are pretty clear in how a husband is to treat his wife.  He is to love her as Christ loves the church.  Though as wives we are called to submission, he is called to an even greater task.  I talk about some of those responsibilities here.  Basically, he is to cherish her and protect her.

Truth of the matter is:  we as wives have a responsibility to RESPECT our husbands.  That is the essence of submission.  We should honor him in our speech and in our actions. We should honor him by allowing him to have leadership in the home.  Don't dishonor him among other women by trashing him with jokes or making him out to be incapable.  Absolutely don't dishonor him in front of your children.  As a mother, I can't stand it when a situation comes up and I don't feel my husband has my back in regards to the kids (typically a discipline issue).  As much as we need our husbands to be united with us, HE needs us to be united with him.  United front.  You can't parent without it! 

Submission doesn't mean I left my brain on the altar of the church the day I got married.  I still have my opinions and I still am quite able to think for myself.  My opinions, skills, and abilities are valuable to our home. 

Submission doesn't mean I have to agree with everything my husband says.  It doesn't mean that I am a robot and nod my head in agreement with everything he says or does.  It does mean that I should RESPECTFULLY voice my difference in opinion.  It doesn't mean I should manipulate to get my way.  I shouldn't sulk or give the silent treatment until I get my way.  OUCH!

Submission doesn't mean I should never try to change his opinion.  A husband very well can be won over by our words.  Again, when they are offered in respect, the door opens for honest communication as resolutions are worked through.  Obviously, THAT skill takes work since we as women are HIGHLY emotional.  Or maybe I am the only woman that finds her emotions getting in the way occasionally often!  :)  (I still smile thinking about the illustration JP put on the screen Sunday.  The man had one on and off button.  The woman had countless on and off switches and dials of every different shape, design, and color!  We are quite complicated!). 

Submission doesn't mean I should never want my will above his.  Again, a wife is to be valued.  Relationships require give and take.  Otherwise they crumble.  No one can be the winner every time. 

Submission doesn't mean that because he is the spiritual leader of the home that I can sit back and just soak it in.  He may be the leader, but I am responsible for my own growth.  If he is falling short in this category, I am still responsible for myself.  If he is exceeding in this category, it doesn't mean I can just be like a sponge and soak it in.  Our husbands aren't to meet our every need.  Only God can do that.  The greatest change in my life came when I REALLY got the words of a statement I had read.  "A woman's heart should be so lost in God that a man must seek Him to find her."  Few days go by that I don't refer to these words in some form or another.  The power to change a marriage is in THOSE words. 

Submission isn't out of fear!  A husband doesn't reign over a wife and have her trembling in fear.  That is NOT what Biblical submission is based on.  Remember, the Biblical call of a husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church.  Submission is out of love and respect.  It is out of freedom. 

What submission is is this:  respect.  It's about fully embracing the principle that upon marriage, two truly become one.  It's about wanting the best for each other.  It's about wanting to make sure that you both are living out what God wants for you in marriage.  Respect is TOP of that list. 

I recently read this definition and LOVE how it is worded.

Submission is the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts. It’s the disposition to follow a husband’s authority and an inclination to yield to his leadership. It is an attitude that says, “I delight for you to take the initiative in our family. I am glad when you take responsibility for things and lead with love. I don’t flourish in the relationship when you are passive and I have to make sure the family works.”

Call me old-fashioned....that's OK.....I admit that I don't have a problem with that!  I am grateful to have my husband as a leader.  My submission to him does not make me weak.  It means I recognize the role that I have been given and I respect the role he has been given.  Parents have a role.  Children have a role.  Employers have a role.  Employees have a role.  I'm not walking around with my head hung low because I'm a lowly woman under the feet of a man that I feel servant to.  I'm walking around CONFIDENT that our marriage is being shaped into one that is representative of  the one that God has intended. 

So there it soapbox rant for today.  I reached the limit of hearing how "weak" it is to be under the leadership of my husband.  I find NO weakness in it!  The only weakness I see is that I'm often guilty of not supporting him in his roles or I try to take on more of what is intended for him.  Truth is I'm happy to be under my husband's leadership.  He has our best interest at heart and when he falls from that path, THEN it is time to respectfully come to a compromise or pray for peace to come in to our decisions. 

I find no shame in saying that a man has authority over me.  In all honesty, I cherish it.  I cherish it because it is Biblical and expected.  I cherish it because "that" man is the one God chose for me.  He is the one that God designed to be the leader of our home.  Though he may fail at times, He is STILL the one God chose and God will continuously shape him in to the leader He designed.  I cherish him because He tries to always keep his "end of the bargain" by loving me the way God has intended.  When either of us fail, God puts us back on the right path. isn't a scary thing.  It shouldn't strike such controversy when the word is mentioned.  It is actually a word of love and of freedom.  It is of God's design and for that I'm thankful.  To be honest, I'll gladly take my role because I think at times my role is easier.  When I make the mistake of stepping out of my own role and into Kevin's shoes, I quickly find that the "grass isn't always greener" or I quickly find that I'm out of my comfort zone.  It is because that is of God's design.  He has equipped me for my roles and he has equipped Kevin for his.  Stepping out of bounds is when our biggest conflicts arise.  God designed it that way.

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