Double-minded

It was before sunrise one January morning when I saw her at her worst. She was wearing her normal ratty brown tweed coat, the one with the velvet collar and cuffs that had been worn threadbare. Her gloves were mismatched, her hair a rat’s nest of tangles and bed fuzz and she was frantic.

While all the passengers waited inside, both chomping to go and dreading their destination, Candy was pacing. Where did she want to go? She couldn’t decide. Walking from one bus to the other, she was loudly arguing with herself. She wanted to go to the library and she wanted to go to her Grandmother’s.  Which side was going to win? Until that was obvious, she didn’t know which bus to get on.

The drivers were obviously torn between leaving her there, in that frigid below zero morning and making all their other passengers late. “Come on Candy – hurry up, you HAVE to decide where you’re going.” After much encouragement from both the drivers and passengers (some “encouragement” neither helpful nor kind) they drove away leaving Candy totally incapacitated to move, because she couldn’t decide where she was going. This wasn’t the first time we saw Candy like this and it wasn’t the last, it was just the worst.

Candy, is for me, a visual example of wives who are refusing to be in submission to their husbands.  Now slow down – let me finish.  Scripture is very clear that when we marry, we become as one flesh.  You can argue that until you’re blue in the face, but I don’t believe there is ANYONE who has endured a divorce that would disagree with me.  (No matter how bad the situation, the break-up still has a cut that goes deep and produces wounding invisible to the naked eye)

If we do indeed become as one flesh, to ignore the command to be in submission to our husbands simply causes us to become a double-minded body.  This makes no sense to me.  Life moves too fast, too intensely and has too many important things to do to waste time standing at the bus stop crying because you are fighting your own self over where to go.

This is likely the ONE area I have struggled with more than any other. The Lord has taken Jeff and I on quite the adventure when it comes to the “s” word. Before we were married, I was TOTALLY against it. Didn’t believe it was right, didn’t think it was good. Then, shortly after we got married, the Lord began tapping me on the shoulder….”Dawn, I want you to submit to Jeff. In all things.”

I was L.I.V.I.D.  I was a smart woman who had done many things before I met Jeff and why I should submit to a MAN was beyond my ken.  I knew his failings and I didn’t have any intention of submitting myself to them.  The Lord had a different plan.

Since those early days, Father has grown my understanding of what submission is and what it isn’t.

What submission ISN’T:

It isn’t slavery.  It isn’t silent. It isn’t bitter.  It isn’t conniving.  It isn’t contentious.  It isn’t weak.  It isn’t defeat.  It isn’t deaf, dumb and blind.  It isn’t stupidity. It isn’t a gun.

What submission IS:

It is servanthood – but my Lord washed the feet of men who walked among camel poop – who am I to demand less?

It is speaking the Truth in love, even if that means confronting his sin.  (Let me rephrase that, ESPECIALLY if it means confronting his sin.  If I love my man, the greatest thing I should desire is his right relationship with Father.  To NOT confront his sin is NOT loving.)

It is love – giving oneself in true submission, I suspect, is the greatest physical act we can perform….greater even than marital intimacy.

It is strength, for only when I am at my strongest am I able to submit with love and joy.

It is a position of victory – for two, standing back to back to advance the Kingdom, are a darkness fighting machine.

It is understanding that I am Jeff’s co-heir of grace and that I have gifts, skills and wisdom that he needs me to share. To withhold that in the name of submission is folly and selfishness on my part. Worst of all it’s an open attempt to make my husband fall on his face, rather than helping him to excel.

It is wisdom – it’s having an understanding that one Body can only have one Head – and the Lord Jesus Christ is Head over our family and His example is one of submitting to God the Father.  An example which I will choose to mimic with honor.

It is a GIFT that I choose to give to Jeff.  It is a GIFT that he receives with humility, because he knows he can not force me to submit to him.

Now, since it is my blog, I’m not going to discuss Jeff’s responsibility to submit to Father, I’m not going to discuss his responsibility to walk in humility and servanthood and I’m not even going to discuss the need for us to submit to one another.  Why?  First of all, I because I said so.  😉  Secondly, that is something that is between Jeff and God, not me. (See above re: speaking Truth in love, however)  Thirdly, THAT is a discussion for another time.

Submission is dancing together through this life, through the laughter, the joy, the water and the scorching fire, arms wrapped around one another.  It means that sometimes he is the one who holds me up and  sometimes I hold him up.  It is the clinging together of two sinners, who desire to have their marriage reflect their Prophet, Priest and King.  It is seeking to have the heart of Christ, who when faced with the greatest sacrifice of all time, bowed His heart to submit to His Head.

(I won’t lie, my dears, this is the one part of what I have to share this week that I dread the discussion on the most.  As I said, this is wisdom gleaned from real life – hard earned and joyfully held.  My desire is not to be contentious or argumentative in any way.  My desire is to share with you the GREAT freedom I have found in walking in Biblical submission – not man’s idea of submission – but in mimicry of how our precious Lord walked in submission to His Head…with joy, with contentment and with delight. Because that is the purpose of this post, I will close comments if things become heated. Don’t I sound like the mom of seven kiddlettes who have all been stuck inside due to ice and now freezing rain?!)    😉  🙂 

 

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Comments
19 Responses to “Double-minded”
  1. Margie says:

    Thank you for submitting to the Father and sharing this with us. It is a message worth hearing and heeding.

    (((HUGS)))

    PLEASE tell me that you aren’t holed up inside without the makings for Christmas Hot Chocolate 🙂

  2. Michelle says:

    Dawn, may I add one more thing to your list? Submission is also freedom. When I remain within the flow of the authority of God (From God to the husband to the wife to the children) I am free to be all that I can be in Christ. When I step outside of the protection of that flow of authority, I only invite trouble as a natural consequence of my willful choice. As you know, I am not a mindless, simpering noodle (actually your temper is only matched by my own) and my cup of fulfillment and meaning is full to overflowing!

    John often seeks my counsel on matters and values the imput, but I tell him that “in the end YOU are the one who will be held accountable before God for this, not me.” That brings a lot of freedom, because sometimes he makes decisions that I wouldn’t make, but I am free to submit because God is not going to hold me accountable for that, He’s going to hold me accountable for what He’s asked of me.

  3. Dawn, in the last paragraph, you wrote:

    <>

    We might agree to disagree on some other points (don’t go there…LOL!) but that was an incredible paragraph…very inspiring and beautiful. My husband will enjoy reading that later too. Thanks so much for sharing from the heart.

    Stevie Knight

  4. The paragraph I was referring to “fell off the screen” when posted, so here it is again:

    Submission is dancing together through this life, through the laughter, the joy, the water and the scorching fire, arms wrapped around one another. It means that sometimes he is the one who holds me up and sometimes I hold him up. It is the clinging together of two sinners, who desire to have their marriage reflect their Prophet, Priest and King. It is seeking to have the heart of Christ, who when faced with the greatest sacrifice of all time, bowed His heart to submit to His Head.

    Thanks Dawn,

    Stevie

  5. Tiffany says:

    Thank you! This is what I view submission to be as well. Thank you for sharing with such honesty, and yet gentleness. Submission is such a difficult concept for everyone, man and woman.

    Again, thanks.

  6. Jenna says:

    Thanks SO MUCH, Dawn. 🙂

  7. Valerie says:

    This reflects my heart, too. All through the Word I see natural authority structures, set up for our safety and our growth. My husband shared on this at our last home group. He said, “My wife and I are a team. I would be foolish not to consult with her on all issues. We work together, but at the end of the day, I am responsible before God for the choices we make. The buck stops with me.” I don’t feel downcast or downtrodden – I feel free.

    Submission is a choice -one we both gladly make.

    Something he also said was the way some people choose to take things to extremes. This is how camps are formed,even cultish behaviour. They become legalistic and religious about submission (and so many other areas!) and this is where a position of abuse starts. The problem is that when people realise this, and come out of these extreme camps, the baby gets thrown out with the bath water.

    Submission does not have a lot to do with who does what, in my opinion. Asking my husband to help around the house, or to take out the rubbish, or whatever, has nothing to do with submission. Submission is of the heart – honouring him and honouring God. I loved the way you expressed it in your last paragraph. 🙂

    Thank you, Dawn.

    Val xx

  8. sghughes says:

    OOoohhh, I just LOVE it!!!!

    And can I tell you what came to mind as I read, “It is understanding that I am Jeff’s co-heir of grace and that I have gifts, skills and wisdom that he needs me to share. To withhold that in the name of submission is folly and selfishness on my part. Worst of all it’s an open attempt to make my husband fall on his face, rather than helping him to excel.”?

    “He will do greater things….”

    As in, Jesus is speaking. As in, John 14. As in, those who love Him, follow Him, believe on Him and live in Him will do/see/be a part of greater miracles than what Philip had seen when he doubted and said, “Show us the Father!” As in, Jesus was INDEED the Head, but those to whom He delegated His mission and lent His authority would be party to greater things that what had been thought of, dreamed of, or witnessed to thus far.

    How like certain marriages!!!! There ARE situations in which the wife is VERY specifically gifted and called and given opportunity to serve. Her husband is *still* her provider, protector, authority and therefore responsibility-bearer. This doesn’t mean he is less or not gifted; JUST THE OPPOSITE – this means he must be a MIGHTY man of God to have been entrusted with such responsibility as caring for/providing for and leading a woman his LORD is so obviously using. The wife is FREE to serve, to lead, to sing, to shout, to embrace, TO BE HERSELF because God has put skin on twice – once and for eternity in His Son for her atonement, and again through her husband’s tangible love for her.

    Think Joseph with Mary.

    Again, Dawn — THANK YOU for posting this! But why didn’t you write it in red?
    I’m jus’ askin’…. 🙂

  9. javadawn says:

    Sarah Grace Hughes, Whah on earth would y’all say a THANG about me writin’ in reyad? Whah I wuld nevah do sech a thang. I cayan’t thank of a single resun you’d menshen thayat. 😛 (Uh, that’s pplgh to YOU!)

    Sarah, THANK YOU for pointing out the submission doesn’t mean more versus less! I know of several women who have very gifted men who serve their wives with joy, to allow their wives’ gifts to be used for the Kingdom – yes, Mary and Joseph – but I also think of ReneeGrace, too. (I’ve heard WONDERFUL things about the gifts she has for leading worship – and her husband serves her, so that she can minister to the Body.)
    Jesus the Son was neither more nor less than God the Father. 🙂

    Val, Tiffany, Jenna & Stevie, thank you dears. (Whew, Stevie, when I saw your name, I thought for SURE I’d have to blacklist you.) 😉

    Margie, you just feel like you HAVE to say that cause I said you look so young! 😉 😉

    Michelle, thank ye darlin’.

    Okay, I’m going to go throw my body into bed. (very weak smile)

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Well written, Dawn! Something that has not come easy for me either, being raised by a man who took his right to be the BOSS to very bad places!! But I have learned to trust ABBA more through the years with my husband, and understand that ultimately, the responsibility for what happens will be my husbands. There is indeed freedom in that. Hard to know how to encourage other women sometimes, but you have done it well! Blessings!!

  11. Patricia says:

    Excellent words, Dawn. Oh, to have the heart and be like Christ!

  12. Jen says:

    bah humbug! when did you start blogging here again, dawn? i have no idea how long it is going to take me to catch up! lol Seems like I might be the last person to find out….again, bah humbug!

    😮 P::::::::

  13. April says:

    Dawn! There seems to be no heat here! Maybe I’ll add some… 🙂

    I love the idea that in the sense that our behavior should not be contingent upon another’s, it doesn’t really matter whether our spouses (or I’d add, our children, our neighbors, etc.) are doing “their part.” I think that is especially hard to practice, though most of us are excellent at preaching it!

    The other thing that I want to add — my love and I have realized that submission can look very different in different families. In my family, asking Dennis to lead a la the-patriarch-knows-best way (We’ve seen this elsewhere on the internet, perhaps you’re acquainted? 😉 ), would be asking him to be someone he has not been created to be. We think there’s a reason the scriptures don’t say, “And, lo, the man of the dwelling shall sitteth down first and prayeth over the food.” If there was a list of what to do and when in scripture, personally, we’d be much more apt to just apply it, checking off our “proper” behavior, rather than seeking the Lord and His wisdom in prayer. In some ways, it would be easier to follow a prescription created by some human interpreter of the Bible, but it wouldn’t be faithful. WE have to do that difficult work of studying, praying, and following.

    That dern Holy Spirit — requesting our voluntary compliance! 😉

    Thanks for a good post.

  14. javadawn says:

    April Darlin’ – I’m so tired, I can hardly type, so you’re going to have to work a LOT harder than that to pour heat into the discussion. 😉
    (I was actually thinking of the young lady that felt I’d go to hell for telling younger wives to submit to their husbands, because that meant I was in agreement with slavery. It’s THAT kind of heat I don’t have the energy to do battle with this week. You’re the easy kind of battle….when I can type that is.) 😀

    Ladies, I’m sorry – it’s been a horribly exhausting week, I’m so grateful tomorrow is Saturday. (SSSHHH don’t disillusion me. I keep telling my body that in hopes that it will keep going until I get into bed.) (VERY gentle smile)

  15. javadawn says:

    PS FREEDOM IS ALWAYS HARDER THAN LAW
    “If there was a list of what to do and when in scripture, personally, we’d be much more apt to just apply it, checking off our “proper” behavior,”

  16. Margie says:

    I have been pondering this post for days now. My first reaction was, freedom…oh how I desire that. But you don’t know my husband. See, he never accepts responsibility for any decisions, anything that goes wrong around here is MY fault and he has no problem expressing that very loudly.

    As I continued to ponder this, the word “servanthood” kept coming to mind. It isn’t about me, it is servanthood. When it comes down to it, it isn’t even about serving my husband but serving my Lord. With that servanthood to my Lord comes the freedom that I so desire.

    I also remembered the comment that you made, Dawn about prayer time not being “my” prayer time. And the gentle reminder that it isn’t about me, it is about the Father.

    I’m a bit dense, but I am getting it. It is not at all about me, but about Him.

    See, I told you this was good stuff 🙂

  17. Elizabeth says:

    My earlier years with my husband were much as Margie describes…in the past couple years I have come to believe he is a mild case of Asperger’s, which is a mild case of autism. But you know, the faith path of our last 7 years especially, has helped SO MUCH…even with that problem, the FATHER is able to help and teach and change lives. Will he ever be perfect, no…but then none of us are…but people who immerse themselves in scripture surely become easier to live with!! I had to begin living as if my husband was doing right (sure felt like I was being an actress and not being honest…but it is ok to “seek peace with all men so much as lieth in you” too), about 12 years or so ago…it took quite a while…better part of a year I think, for him to realize that I was quiet, a servant, and making a huge effort not to fight with him. The FATHER helped me so much…I found some scripture that so ministered to me and posted it inside a kitchen cupboard, and there were times I ACTUALLY RAN to that cupboard to read and remember. The verse that was my main one was: 1st Peter 3:17: “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for welldoing, than for evil doing.” The verses surrrounding that one were helpful as well. We little understand or know what events in life will net us our crowns and we will want some to lay at HIS feet one of these days, won’t we? Blessings on you, Margie…I know it is SO VERY hard indeed. But do not accept false guilt either…at least not within yourself, though you may need to stay quiet outwardly!! And you are so right…the servanthood is what we do for our Lord!! JUST FOR HIM!!

  18. javadawn says:

    🙂 Hey y’all – once I get some sleep, I’ll be back. 🙂

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  1. […] My dear friend, Dawn, wrote a beautiful post on submission that was just such a great read. If we do indeed become as one flesh, to ignore the command to be in submission to our husbands simply causes us to become a double-minded body.  This makes no sense to me.  Life moves too fast, too intensely and has too many important things to do to waste time standing at the bus stop crying because you are fighting your own self over where to go. (Read “Double Minded”) […]



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