April 30, 2012

If I Titled This Some of You Wouldn't Bother Reading It


Ladies, I want you to do something before you keep reading, and that is... TAKE A DEEP BREATH.

You need to just chill for a minute. Literally.

Have you honestly just chilled for 60 seconds, or did you just keep reading? This is going to go so much better if you seriously chill. Go make a cup of tea or grab a soda or something, then come back. I'll time you. Ready? Set... GO!

Are you ready? I'm going to blog on submission today.  

Don't run from the room just yet! Stick with me here.

Submission has gotten a bad rep in our world as well as in churches. A lot of women have a deep hatred for the idea and cringe at the very word. Some of them with good reason, because submission, like everything else in life, can get warped and twisted since we live in a fallen world with sinners. So today, I want to sort of do a little bit of reverse engineering if that's at all possible. Or at the very least get you thinking about the idea of submission in a more positive light rather than negative. At the same time, I don't want to make light of the fact that there are women who've experienced real pain due to submission practiced in an abusive manner towards them (physically, emotionally, verbally, etc.). Please hear and believe me when I say I don't condone or support such behavior whatsoever, and neither does God.

Let's just say, there are many misunderstandings when it comes to the topic of submission. We're rather quick to pass judgement and make it out to be this evil thing, when that's simply not the case. 

Submission is For Everyone. Submission is not just for women, but for both women and men. Submission isn't just found in the home or in the church, but in organizations, the workforce, institutions, schools... even in the Trinity! Submission is all around you whether or not you choose to recognize it. You and I practice submission on a daily basis, most of the time not even noticing it. Let's think about it, if you and I have jobs, we have to complete the tasks our bosses have asked us to do in order to keep the paychecks coming. You and I submit to our government by paying taxes or following laws. You and I submit to one another in nearly every kind of relationship we have to varying degrees (parents, family, spouses, friends, etc.) by sharing, respecting, and loving them. As students we submit to teachers and school rules. If we're members of an organization, club, or church we submit to their leadership. I could go on and on and give specific, detailed examples if you want, but I think you get the point. Submission is necessary to life in order for things to run smoothly and to reach their highest potential. Both men and women have various authorities they submit to, and as Christians, irregardless of our gender, we're both supposed to be submitting to Christ and His leadership above all else.

Submission & Marriage. By far the best definition I've heard on submission was simply put as "coming under the mission." Anytime we submit to someone or something we're coming under some kind of mission be it a spoken or unspoken one. And marriage is about being on mission with your spouse. Let me reiterate by saying both a husband and a wife are called to submit to God above all else. When one of the two is not submitting to Christ first, then the whole framework is going to get jacked up, and submission is no longer the issue in the marriage, but rather where the couple has placed the cross in their marriage. If a husband doesn't take his call to love his wife as Christ loves the church seriously (which is a pretty big job, since he's called to be like Jesus... no pressure there), then it's going to be extremely hard for a wife to submit and respect his leadership. Ladies, this is why it's so, so, so important to marry a man who loves Jesus! A lot! And single girls, take note of this, if you cannot trust the man enough to lovingly lead you and your future kids as God has called him to, then do not marry him. If you don't think you can "come under the mission" with a man in terms of marriage, then do not marry him. Submission is also not about rights. Mary Kassian put it perfectly:
A husband does not have the right to demand or extract submission from his wife. Submission is HER choice—her responsibility… it is NOT his right!! Not ever. She is to “submit herself”— deciding when and how to submit is her call. In a Christian marriage, the focus is never on rights, but on personal responsibility. It’s his responsibility to be affectionate. It’s her responsibility to be agreeable. The husband’s responsibility is to sacrificially love as Christ loved the Church—not to make his wife submit. -From Seven Misconceptions About Submission
When submission is practiced correctly (1 Peter 3:1 and Ephesians 5:22-33), we get a beautiful picture of the gospel reflected in marriages, not domineering, chauvinistic, abusive marriages. When submission is practiced correctly, men are real men, and women flourish and bloom greatly. When submission is practiced correctly women are not degraded but are treasured and cherished by the men in their life.

Submission Doesn't Mean You're Mindless. Just because we submit, doesn't mean we don't have a voice, an opinion, ideas, etc. We still have all those things... and they matter. In Genesis 2:18, God creates a helper, Eve, for Adam. God looks down at Adam and basically says that in order for Adam to become the cultivator he's designed to be, he needs a helper. Women, that means we're to help! A submissive wife doesn't just stand by and let her husband do whatever he pleases or turns her head the other way when he makes foolish, stupid choices. And I'm pretty much convinced that there's never a time when a godly woman should submit to her husband's sin. As women of faith we're to be discerning, "speak the truth in love," confront and challenge, and to cultivate wisdom. Just because a husband leads doesn't mean wives get to "check-out" in the decision making. A godly husband will weigh-in his wife's opinion just as much as his own in terms of leading the family. In other words "leadership doesn't mean lordship, and submission doesn't mean stupidity." God gave women brains, so let's use them!
When submission is depicted as voiceless oppression, both men and women lose. God declared that men need help and to leave them without our prayerful input is to deny them help—the very thing God declared they need. Submission uses her voice to speak words of grace and life into her husband’s life. -Jen Smidt's 10 Things Submission is Not
Submission is Not About Value. I already talked about this a lot in this post here, but submission is not about a woman's equality with men or her value. God made both men and women equal in essence, value, and worth. That doesn't change. Submission has to do with making a choice and having a mindset to be respectful, amiable, and receptive. Women, don't attach your value to your responsibility in regards to submission (which hopefully makes sense to some of you and not just me). Christ has already given you value.

P.S. Josh wrote a great post on When Male Headship Does Not Work (The Men Who are Still Spoiled Boys) that really hits home as to the topic of submission in marriage, which I'd definitely echo the same sentiments.


  1. I was about to run. But I'm glad I stayed.

  2. I'm glad I read it and CHILLED :)
    thanks for sharing!
    i liked your first point. submission IS for everyone

  3. your blog is good. submission is a topic in a womans nature to rebel against.

    you might enjoy mine as well! though, i can tend to be a bit more blunt...


  4. yes. just - yes. yes yes yes.

  5. thanks for this natalie! i struggle with this sometimes...

  6. beautiful post natalie! you have a gift. thank you for sharing it!


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