This morning on my walk I was thinking about submission.
I have been wanting to write on this topic for a few weeks now but haven't been able to get my thoughts together. Not only has God been teaching me through His Word, but he has also been communicating and teaching me in my own life.
I am not a natural submitter. (Is that even a word? Spell check didn't correct it...) I am more of a natural leader, natural teacher, I'm outspoken, I like to go my own way... all that jazz. I'm amazed by the vastness of personalities out there. I know there are all these tests you can take and there are four main categories and then tons that span out from there, and then there is the way you act with your family, the way you are with your friends, the way you are in your job and interacting with co-workers. I was really quiet and shy when I went to public school. Pre public school I would literally walk up to and talk to anyone. I had no fear. But for some reason going to two different schools in three weeks and having to adjust to different friendship groups, different classes and just a lot of social upheaval, my confidence took a beating. I would say that I faced a 50-75 percent rejection rate. Just because they are stupid high school kids and haven't been trained to interact and I hadn't grown up with them since elementary and most of them were from broken, unstable homes...
Okay, really this post is about submission. I'll try to stay on task here.
All throughout the Bible I see submission. Our main example is how Christ submitted to God. I'm about to say something controversial here because of the feminist movement... I honestly don't care what people think because in the end all scripture is God breathed, but it's clear in the Word of God that women are to submit to men. That men are to be the head of the household, head of the church and the women are to be the helpmeet. That's my favorite word. Helpmeet sounds better than helper. Helper sounds kind of dinky I think. As a helpmeet I am a supporter of my husband. I get to run alongside him and help him in his decisions, help him and support him in his job, in our finances, in the end I am to submit to his authority in our household. If we have a disagreement he is the ultimate one who makes the decision. The weight is on his shoulders. In a way it's kind of nice because I don't have to bear the burden :) ... ya know? Haha! I'm just kidding. It means that I get to act in my gifts and responsibilities under his headship. I go by groceries, keep the house clean, raise Levi, do art and music and it's all under his headship. Ben doesn't micro manage me, but when it comes to a major decision the buck stops with him. (I feel like I have to explain this a lot because I don't want people to misunderstand me and this is a concept that has been very warped in our culture and in other cultures as well, I think some can go the other way and oppress women... but we live in America and our struggle is this). Now, as the head Ben's call is to love me and care for me. My calling is to respect him and submit to him. He has never made a big decision without asking and discussing it with me first. In that way he is showing me love. He wants my contribution. In the end he is the one who decides.
In this, I can pray for Ben and ask that the Lord would lead him. God set up this order and so therefore I can cry out to God if I have a problem with the way Ben is doing things. God is the ultimate authority in which I place my trust.
Here's my example I learned about in Genesis. I'm just going to tell this story as best I can, it'll have a Jody slant on it and I encourage you to look it up in the scriptures. It's the story of Abraham and Sarah. Yeah. :) So Abraham gets called out from his hometown by God. God says, "I've chosen you, I'm going to set you apart from everyone else, you're going to be a great nation and I'm going to bless you so that you will be a blessing to all nations." Sweet deal huh? So Abraham faithfully follows God for a long time. He has a wife named Sarah and she's pretty hot. :) They aren't able to have kids. Now, this doesn't make any sense because children are considered a blessing from the Lord. God said He would bless them, but really? What's going on God? We're just going to die and there will be no nation. How is this supposed to happen? So they keep moving and walking in faith. There was a famine and so Abraham took his wife and went down to Egypt. But Abraham was afraid that the Egyptians would kill him so that they could have his amazingly beautiful wife. So he told Sarah, "Tell them I am your brother and I'll say you are my sister so they won't want to kill me." At this point, I wonder what Sarah was thinking... Okay, sure that sounds like an okay idea, but what are they going to do with me? Pharaoh took Sarah as one of his wives. What?! Seriously? I'm sure at that point Sarah was thinking, bad idea Abraham! Now I'm going to be in Pharaoh's harem, great, this is just great. Then an amazing thing happened. Pharaoh's entire household became inflicted with diseases and God revealed that Sarah needed to be given back to Abraham. So even when she submitted to a faulty man God was still her protector. This wasn't the only time this happened. It happened again with another king. Same song, different verse. Another king took her into his household and then God protected her. As she was under the authority of her husband she was under the ultimate authority of God.
In the middle of this we have the story of Hagar and Ishmael. Sarah was a hero in that other story, but not so much in this one. Aren't we all like that? We have these great moment of doing amazing, faith-filled things and then we go and do something stupid? I do that all the time.
I'm not going to place all the blame on Sarah in this one. Abraham could have rejected her idea. But Sarah had an idea that they could just manufacture their own little blessing. "Here Abraham, sleep with my maidservant Hagar. Everybody does stuff like this, it's part of the culture, surely it's okay, God probably wants this to happen this way." (This is what I think she must have said, not a quote). Women can be good at manipulating can't we? Sometimes we are good at convincing our husbands or controlling them or nagging them in the direction we think they should go. When I see something that needs to be done I think it should be done NOW and the way I would want it done. How many times have I tried to control my husband? How many times have I tried to control or manipulate the Lord? Man, Sarah, I know how you feel. This looks a lot like the way Eve sinned that first time. There's no way I would way if it had been Adam and me that I would have done anything different. Lord, please help me in this. Teach me, I want to learn!
Then of course Sarah regretted giving Hagar to Abraham. Jealousy can take over our hearts so easily. Envy, comparison... oh man, to not have been able to conceive for so many years and then to watch Hagar conceive so easily must have been hard. And so Sarah mistreated her, so much that Hagar fled. A friendship between the two women was ruined. Abraham was passive and said, "Do whatever you want Sarah." Both of them shameful at not following and waiting on the Lord.
I feel like that is what can happen when we try to take control. When we manipulate we can mess things up. I feel like I need to say more, but right now I need to be quiet before the Lord on this.
I will leave you with that.