In the Spring of the first year I blogged, a blogger I was unfamiliar with issued a challenge to “Biblical Submission for Wives”. A blogger who doesn’t hold the same beliefs presided over a firestorm of fury the idea that a blogger would invite those of her same beliefs to join her in practicing them. It catapulted them both to blog fame and notoriety.
I was offended by the whole mess. I thought the blogger was a hater and if the submission gal had been of another faith her challenge would have been ignored or thought of as a beautiful expression of a unique system. I have since re-canted this position. I thought the challenge was legalistic and simplistic. And with my own good reasons.
For a long time I strived to demonstrate the kind of submission she talked about. One where I wore dull old lady clothes, made my home and family look like a photo drawn by a 3rd grader with flowers and birds and a big yellow sun. Where he was supposed to be the one who called the shots and lacking orders I labored to apply all the “Christian” images of a happy home and family.
It’s just not that simple. No one ever said what to do if he didn’t participate. No one ever told him what he was supposed to want to tell me to do.
Oh, I figured out to hide behind him when there was something I didn’t want to do. And how to get him to command my will and think it was his. Because that’s so healthy.
I even went so far as to attempt to wear skirts and blouses, rather than jeans, because it would be feminine. I learned nothing. I looked a lot more like Mrs Doubtfire than I’d started out to do. There is nothing holy about Robin Williams in a dress.
Finally, I abandoned the model. It was a roaring failure and I chucked it in the bag with all my others.
It occurs to me today, as I am one big raw mess of “I’m-Out-of-Time”, I possibly, get submission a little better now. Biblical submission is first of all not strictly for women. Men are to submit to things, too. That means all of us. To God. To the rulers and authorities. To each other within the faith (meaning don’t make conflict by hanging on to something non-essential). Jesus, Himself, submitted to the rulers of his own people and the national government. Even when they were wrong.
Oh. Sometimes submission is easy. Like in situations where you meet criteria and receive a good thing. Like in adoption… I fill out paperwork, collect documents, get medical evaluations, complete reading and classes, pay fees, and wait. Then, most times, a child comes. But I have to submit to the process. I can’t say, “No I think it makes sense for you to do it another way.” That is an easy kind of submission.
What do I think it looks like?
Deep in the middle of the Old Testament, is a book called Song of Solomon. It’s racy. It describes a couple driven by their need for intimacy with one another. That the voices of all the other demands on their lives are hushed when they are together. They have no fear of rejection or danger. They are free to be completely vulnerable and unashamed.
People teach it as a tutorial for married sex. People teach it as a model for the relationship between Christ and His church. I am no Bible Scholar, so I am going to launch out here and get in trouble.
In the hidden life of a husband and wife, there is a moment when she abandons herself to him. Sometimes in reverent awe. Sometimes in teasing, raucous fire. Even when she is initiator and taking the ministry to his need.
It is simply no different in the kitchen in the morning rush. Or the Thursday evening “arsenic hour” with overtired kids and overdue bills.
Biblical submission is the moment when I lay all of my defenses aside to let him take over the authority to cherish, nourish and help me maximize my potential.
See, when I submit to God the same is true. When even when Mickey trusts me to guide a project, because I know more about it than he does. When a child does what a parent has told them because they trust. Even when you work for an idiot, who can’t find their hind end with both hands, and you do what he or she says, because… Because.
It isn’t obedience from a subordinate to a superior. It’s letting go the self agenda for the unified purpose.
It’s serving to receive, to serve to receive, to serve to be fully known and to know fully.
Everybody gets theirs.
I guess I should also note that if the Bible isn’t something you feel is for you right now, there’s no reason I’d expect this to appeal or call you to anything. This is just to respond to something nearly three years old that’s a discussion between my own inner thoughts and the thoughts of a person of my same faith who I think has a lot of joy waiting for her when she gets free. And you are always welcome here to agree or disagree if you’d like.