This is part II of a reflection on Submission. Check out the first part, S*bm!ss!@n.
As you know, I am exploring the practice of submission in an attempt to grow in this area. Therefore, I’ve undertaken a season of study, reflection and application. Mid-March I attended the United Sisters For Your Journey women’s retreat, sponsored by my church, First Baptist of Glenarden. I didn’t mean to attend the workshop session about taking shortcuts, but I was running late (so unlike me…) and didn’t want to walk in late on my first choice session. But, I was pleasantly surprised about how good this workshop was. The key theme communicated during the session was that this: the shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line. As a Christian, our straight line is obedience. We were posed with the question “What area of your life is God asking you to be obedient in?”
Before I share my response to this question, I want to unpack this obedience thing just a bit. Nothing I’m going to share is deep, innovative or uncommon. But it is something I neglected to explicitly internalize and verbalize before now. Obedience is doing what another has asked you to do. So, obedience is nothing more than submitting, and in this case, to God. Often, being obedient to God isn’t easy, fun or attractive. Yet, it is surely the best course of action. Why then, is it so hard for me to act in accordance with his commands, trusting fully that His plan is best and will lead to the awesome promises He’s made to me? Simple- Faith, or lack thereof. My independent, willful attitude.
The area of my life that I identified as needing to be submitted to God is my health. I’m doing good with the lifestyle of fitness. My eating habits are not aligned with being healthy though. Why? My attitude is if I’m working out (and even if I’m not) I can eat whatever I want to. What I select to put in my body is my choice. Right? Reflecting on this further I clearly see the connection with submission. I know that a healthy diet is pleasing to God. But because I want to be in control of that area of my life I am not willing to consistently make healthy food choices, deny my flesh and obey what He’s been asking me to do for years. So I eat what I want, when I want and however much I want because nobody can tell me not to. Until now!
Eating healthy is the next priority to layer in. What this means in practical terms is ensuring I prepare well-balanced meals, drink enough water each day and manage my portion sizes. It means limiting my sugar intake and being conscious and deliberate about what I put in my body. Going out to eat is still an option- I just need to make good choices when I do so.
A few more things became clear to me last week that I need to further process. First, I can’t go on auto-pilot. In Luke 9:23 it states, “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me’.” Clearly I’m told to daily take up my cross, submit to God’s will and follow Him. Therefore, I must be intentional each and every day to ensure I am aligned with His expectations, commands and will. So, submission truly is a lifestyle, manifested in the way that I follow and serve others.
In my women’s bible study class I was asked to speak on my self-identified stronghold of submission. Since I’ve been meditating on this all month I was ready for it. The conversation really just solidified some things in my head. The question was asked how do you show a submissive spirit to the person you’re dating/courting (because until you say “I do” you are not called to submit to that man). So simple yet profound (at least to me) is the fact that people will be able to see the qualities of a submissive woman as evidenced in the way that she walks with God, interacts with her boss, attitudes towards authority, etc. Surely, we are known by the fruit we bear (Matthew 7:16).
To take this a step further and assist me in my quest to become a submissive person, I now understand that what I do in one area of my life is transferrable to other areas of my life. How many times have we, as singles, heard that this is the time of preparation? Too many, in my opinion. But that is so true. How can I aspire to be a good wife, knowing full well that wives are commanded to submit to their husbands, if I refuse to submit to those currently in positions of authority in my life? So, by me consistently submitting to God, it should cross over into my relationships with my supervisor, with the police, with political and spiritual authorities, etc.
Knowing that this isn’t an easy undertaking, nor one that I will magically one day conquer, I am committed to taking it one day at a time. Each day being deliberate to listen for God’s voice, obey it and walk in accordance to His will. Yes, daily picking up that cross to follow Him into the beautiful destiny that awaits me.