Biblical submission does not mean that you have lesser value, that you no longer have a voice or contributions to make.
There are some women who believe they're being submissive while secretly using their guise to manipulate and control their husbands. This post is not for them.
I was the wife who whole-heartedly wanted to please God, and please my husband. However, in my quest to honor my husband, I found myself leaning too far towards the opposite direction and became the iconic "doormat" most people think of when they hear "submission".
Below are 7 signs with which I am all too familiar...
7 signs that your submission is not biblical:
1. You're afraid to disagree
God doesn't expect us to have the same thoughts on every topic as our husband. A lot of the time, you will probably agree. But there are times when you don't, and that's okay. Sometimes, it doesn't serve a purpose to voice your disagreement. It takes discernment to recognize when you should speak up and when you should. If you don't speak up simply out of fear, your submission is misplaced.
While our husbands are charged with a huge responsibility of leading our families, that doesn't mean their opinions are automatically correct. There are times when they need to hear our disagreements, and the reasons behind them. The submission comes into play when we disagree respectfully, and then drop it after we've said our peace. We don't continue to drive our point home or nag.
2. You're scared to share your own opinions
There were times when my former husband would ask my opinion on something, but I had learned that if I didn't express the opinion he wanted, the conversation (and the rest of the day) would nose dive. I became hesitant to express my own true opinions, and only shared what I knew he'd want to hear.
Our husbands are responsible for making a large number of decisions, and as wives, our role is to be their helper. We aren't helping them make decisions if we are withholding important information - which includes our opinions. God has given us wisdom, and promises to give us even more wisdom when we ask Him. The wisdom He gives us needs to be shared with our husbands; again, respectfully.
3. You don't ask for what you want or need
A good marriage thrives on open communication. If you find yourself not telling your husband your wants or need, you are blocking this important aspect of a marriage. I do recognize there are some husbands who make it difficult because of how they receive the information, or sometimes they refuse to receive the information. Our job is not to coddle our husbands; our job is to obey God's instructions for us as wives, and build up our home and marriage. Communication is an important way to build your marriage.
There is also the factor of expectations. If we never share our wants or needs, but we expect our husbands to automatically know what they are, we are setting them up for failure. Then when our needs aren't met or we don't get what we wanted, we blame them - but the responsibility lies with us for not expressing it in the first place.
4. You obey your husband when he asks you to sin
Yes, scripture tells wives to obey their husbands...but it finishes that with "as unto the Lord." We are to obey them as we would obey Christ, but Christ would never ask us to go against His word. If your husband asks you to sin, you are to obey Christ, not your husband.
We must be careful what we consider sin, however. There are some things that are clear cut in scripture: murder, adultery, theft for example. Other things are left to personal conviction, such as whether to drink, the types of food to eat, how much TV to watch. Our convictions could be vastly different from our husbands. We need to discuss these differences, to maintain that open communication I mentioned above, but we have to be careful not to judge, whether consciously or sub-consciously, our husbands for having different convictions than we do.
5. You're afraid to offer gentle correction when he sins
When your husband in engaged in clear-cut sin, we must be able to FIRST look inward at ourselves to ensure we are not harboring our own continued disobedience, and then to gently approach our husbands with loving admonishment in an effort to restore them to right relationship with God and with others.
If you neglect to do this in the name of submission when you actually don't do it out of fear, this is wrong.
6. You allow mistreatment of yourself or others
The greatest commandment that Jesus gives us is to love. It is not loving to continue providing a breeding ground for your husband to live in sin. If we are not setting up boundaries when our husbands mistreat us or others, we are enabling them to continue in their sin. This is not loving, nor does it fulfill our role as their helper.
7. You submit out of fear of your husband, rather than obedience to God
Scripture is clear that we are not to fear man, because "what can man do to me?" "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
Our submission should be a gift that we offer to our husbands out of obedience to God, out of fear and awe and reverence for His commands, and because we trust that His instructions bring blessings.
We should not submit solely because we are afraid of our husbands. We need to put our faith, our hearts, our lives, in God's hands and trust Him with them.
Dear sister, have you found yourself "submitting" in any of these ways?
Reach out to me so that I can pray with and for you.
How many times have you thought to yourself, "If I could just be more like so-and-so?"
If I'm being honest, I've thought it a multitude of times.
In my personal life, I've thought it about my friends.
In my marriage, I've thought it about women who I felt were more attractive or fun or smarter than I am.
In business, I've thought it about others who seem to have more or quicker success.
On a recent Sunday morning, I was getting ready to step onto the platform to lead our final worship song. I've struggled with nerves in the past, but instead of reminding myself that those nerves are just pride, I felt God leading me in a different direction.
He reminded me that each one of us is created "fearfully and wonderfully".
Scripture tells us in Genesis 1:27
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."
We are created in His image. When we're afraid to do something exactly the way WE do it, when we want to do something the way someone else does it, or when we're scared to mess it up, we're effectively negating that facet of God's image in us.
He created us as a part of His whole. All of us together are part of Him. When we neglect to be ourselves, we're hiding that part of Who He is. When we focus on not failing, we're not trusting Him to use that failure for our good and His glory. It's through failure that He can use us to display humility and grace.
Do we want to be more like Him? Then we need to focus on being fully ourselves, and no one else.
Who do you want to be like?
Picture this: Christmas morning, you wake up, make a cup of coffee (or tea), and everyone gathers around the tree to open up gifts.
You're SO excited, because you wrapped up the PERFECT gift for your kid. They've been begging you for this over and over again, sometimes with tears in their eyes, for MONTHS.
As the pile of presents grows smaller and smaller with each gift opened, you see that shiny, beautifully wrapped, ribbon-laden box with the tag that has your child's name on it.
They reach for it, and you hold your breath as they tear off the paper and open the lid to see what's inside.
Overwhelming joy rushes out of them as they thank you and hug you and thank you some more. You can't help but feel like Best Mom In the Universe!
The next day, you notice the box is still there, with the gift still inside. A week later, it hasn't been touched or moved.
A month later, your kid comes to you with tears, begging for this one gift again. You remind them that you've already given it to them, and their response is, "But...I keep forgetting it's there, and when I remember, the instructions just seem too difficult!"
And this amazing gift sits unused, because your child has made the choice to not take hold of it.
This, my sweet friend, is what we often do with Jesus' gift of PEACE.
In John 14:27, Jesus says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
We beg Him for it, with tears in our eyes. He hands it to us in a shiny package called the Bible, wrapped in the Holy Spirit, and we leave it to sit unused.
Does that sound familiar to you, even just a little bit?
Yes, His peace comes with instructions, but they are clearly laid out for us and simple to follow.
Not easy - sometimes it's much easier to NOT follow them. Which is probably why we make the choice to ignore them, and then His peace sits unused yet again. But friend, that is OUR choice. God isn't taking that gift back, or hiding it from us. It's sitting right where we left it; we're just making the choice to ignore it and His instructions.
If you struggle with feelings of depression, anxiety, fear, worry, helplessness, hopelessness, or anything like those, please know that Jesus has already given you His peace. It is YOURS. It cannot be taken away from you. You can choose to ignore it, or you can choose to read the instructions and learn how to use it. But the gift is YOURS and the choice is YOURS.
I would be honored to talk more about this with you and pray with you. Please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com anytime!
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Philippians 4:4-7 tells us:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness[a] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Let's walk through this for a moment.
The first thing Paul tells us to do is REJOICE. Why do you think that is? Not only rejoice, but rejoice in the Lord, and to do so always.
As much as we'd like to think we're great multitaskers, the truth is that we can really only focus on one thing at a time. If we're busy focusing on rejoicing in the Lord, we don't have the mental capacity to pay attention to our fears, worries, phobias, and problems.
Paul goes on to say that we are to make our requests known, through prayer and with thanksgiving.
Not only are we supposed to rejoice, always, in the Lord, but when we request things of God as we're instructed, we're supposed to also do this with thanksgiving.
So first we make sure that we're rejoicing in the Lord. What does that mean? We rejoice simply in Who God is. He is the Almighty who loves us unconditionally. Who sees every terrible thing we've done, and instead of shunning us for eternity, sent His son to take our place because despite those awful things, He still wanted to keep us forever! Sometimes that's hard to comprehend - especially when we think about the people around us who have done terrible things. Sometimes we'd much rather shun them - but not God.
We can rejoice that God is:
- All powerful
Plus a host of other wonderful and amazing things!
As we rejoice in all that God is, we are also supposed to come to Him with our requests. This doesn't mean only the prayer requests of those around us; God truly wants you to speak about what's on your own heart. Sure, He already knows - but He wants you to ask Him. It's the simple act of asking Him that creates the relationship He wants with us. There's no relationship there if we simply expect Him to just do everything He knows we want, without ever expressing ourselves to Him. Relationships involve communication.
God not only invites us to request things of Him, but He is instructing us to do so!
We are to make these requests through prayer, and supplication with thanksgiving.
What in the world does that mean?
He doesn't want us to simply lay out a Christmas list of desires. He wants us to be grateful for the things that we have. What's the point in giving us more if we don't appreciate what He's already given us?
Sometimes this can be difficult - but look at what Paul says will happen if we do this: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
WOW! This is the type of peace that we can't even wrap our minds around. Have you ever experienced that? Where you just felt so peaceful and you simply couldn't explain it?
Friend, do you want that kind of peace to wash over your heart and flood your mind? The peace that drowns out all of your worries, makes all of your fears obsolete, and cures every phobia?
The instructions are simple: rejoice in the Lord always, make your requests known to Him through prayer and with thanksgiving. Perhaps not the easiest of instructions, but they are simple.
Here is my challenge to you today: spend a few moments writing down the attributes of God that you can rejoice over. Write down as many as you can think of - feel free to Google some if you need reminders. Put this list up where you can see it and refer to it everyday.
Then write out your requests for God - next to each request, include a reason to be thankful. Ask Him for more of His peace to reign in your heart and mind. He's promised it to you; it's okay to thank Him in advance for it as well as part of your thanksgiving.
I'd love to hear from you. What are some of your favorite attributes of God?
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