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Umbrellas and Four Letter Words.

I live under an umbrella.  It has a name : God’s way for my life.  I don’t know exactly what it looks like, but I like to think it’s got a bunch of big pink and yellow and orange polka-dots all over.  It’s really super big, this umbrella so it can keep me from ruining my clothes, the ones I got when I surrendered my life to God and His ways.  But sometimes I forget about it and start to think I don’t really need it anymore.  So I venture outside of its protection.  Where the wind and rain and hail and sleet pelt anyone and anything that dares take it on.

That’s when I come crawling back.  Back under the umbrella of God’s way for my life. 

You might be wondering how I walk with this perpetual umbrella constantly overhead.  The truth is, this kind of walking has pretty much nothing to do with my feet or my legs.  It’s a walk of the spirit.  The kind that can only be done by learning what God says.  By studying His Word and interacting with it.  By talking with Him about how to do it.  Constantly.  It’s called fellowship.  Intimate contact with the Lord of my life.

So when God tells me how to something, if I want to stay under the protection of the umbrella, I need to do it how He says.  Makes sense, right? 

And when it comes to being a wife, as someone who has asked the God of Life to be the Ruler of mine, that umbrella leads me to submit to my husband as the leader of our home.

It’s not an easy word.  The #1 definition at Dictionary.com is “to give over or yield to the power or authority of another (often used reflexively).”  There’s a subtle difference there that, in my opinion, makes all the difference.  Submitting involves a choice that I make.  The choice to yield to my husband the authority that I would otherwise have in my home.  Because that how God designed it.  For the husband to ultimately be in charge.  And, as I practice submission, I am learning to be more like Jesus Christ.  In her book, Finding the Hero in Your Husband, Dr. Julianna Slattery writes, “Submission requires that I become the best that I can be, and use that strength to develop my trust in God rather than trying to get my way.  This is how God can teach me to become more like Christ (p 59).”

What Submission is Not

In all honesty, I am kind of afraid of this topic.  I’ve kind of avoided it as if it were a four-letter word.  That’s why I’ve never really discussed it here for the past 30 or so Mondays.  Because there is a whole lot of misunderstanding about it.  Because there are lots of men (and women), I think, who believe submission is just another word for obedience.  And that gets scary.  Because men are human.  Thus sinful.  And certainly not the end all be all of our existence as wives.  However, under the umbrella of God’s way, I am called to submit, to choose to yield my authority, to my husband. 

That does not mean that if my husband gets me drunk and then tells me to drive my kids to their gandma’s house, I am called to obey.  Certainly not.  Hopefully, that’s obvious.  Because that kind of false submission leads away from the overarching umbrella of God’s way.  About this, Dr. Slattery writes, “It is not a husband’s authority that ultimately rules, but God’s.”  She also says, “Submission is not absolute.” 

Ephesians 5:22 tells us to “submit to  your husbands as to the Lord.”  And Colossians 3:18 says, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”  In other words, we are called to submit in a way that fits submitting to God Himself.  In a way that brings glory to God.  And I think we would all agree that “submitting” to physical abuse or breaking the law would not constitute submitting in a way that “is fitting in the Lord.”

Neither does submission entail the husband making every single decision.  Every single time.  I believe God designed marriage for the strengthening of two people, whom He created, in order to bring Himself glory.  Kind of like a team.  Only, as Dr. Slattery says, the husband has a 51% majority vote.  Because if nobody were in charge, there would be chaos.  Somebody’s gotta do it.  And, as God would have, it, that role belongs to the husband.  (Which, if you think about it, is rather brilliant, given the fact that they often don’t have the perpetual multitasking going on inside that we women are so handily skilled at.  They can tune things out like most women cannot.  I realize I am stereotyping a bit, but that definitely rings true in my home.)

I realize this is brief.  And there are many, many more facets involved in the whole topic of submission as it relates to husbands and wives.  That’s why I’d like to open up the discussion here in the comments.  Tell me what you think.  Let’s try to move each othere to a better understanding of the biblical submission that we are called to as wives.  And I will really look forward to it.

**Do you have a post you’d like to share here about being a vigilant wife?  I hope so! Just leave a link in the comments so we can all read and be encouraged by what God’s doing in you as a wife, and consequently in your marriage.

2 Thoughts on “Umbrellas and Four Letter Words.

  1. Just wanted to say YAY for submission! God definitely knew what He was doing. I have so many thoughts and testimonies about this subject and its many facets, but I am still growing in my understanding. Right now I’m tossing around the idea of radical submission. Most of the statements Jesus makes (and the way he lived) challenge us to REALLY RADICAL lifestyles. Turning the other cheek is an example of radical submission, going the extra mile, giving sacrificially, meeting people in the dark places so that they can follow the Light, willingly being subjected to persecution and torture for our faith… I’m beginning to believe that not only does God not promise our earthly “health, wealth, and prosperity” but in the grand scheme of eternity, He really isn’t worried about our earthly safety, either. I totally agree that God doesn’t want us to submit to our husbands in direct disobedience to Him, but I’d say there are many shocking possibilities regarding what God could ask us to do in the name of obedience in submission! Just some thoughts I’ve been pondering lately!

  2. Pingback: Because God Is Always Good « and then some more

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