I have really been struggling with having a submissive attitude the past few weeks.  The key word there is attitude.  I know that submission to my husband is designed by God and as such is good; the problem is that it just isn’t natural for me.  I’m going to guess that it isn’t natural for any woman, or God wouldn’t have had to spell it out for us in the Bible.

Right here, at the point of suggesting submission, a lot of women will shut down and declare a foul.  I think that happens when there is a misunderstanding of what biblical submission really is.  It means that we follow the lead of the people, thoughts, and principles that God has set over us in an authority role.  That specifically includes our husbands.  Submission does not mean tolerating any form of abuse or immoral action, nor is it oppressive.  Submission is an act of faith that requires trusting God to work all situations to your benefit.

So, as I said, I’ve been having a problem with living a submissive attitude.  I’m not entirely sure what set of circumstances occurred to start that downward spiral, but I know that it was like being on a brake-less bicycle flying down a hill without a run-away truck ramp.  It got so bad that I began intentionally looking for the negative things to justify my rotten attitude.

The whole thing culminated one night, that straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back night.  In all honesty, I was being unreasonable and was over reacting to my husband needing to fix a problem.  The evening ended (or perhaps began) with me tucking Katie into bed.  Brad wasn’t home.  On my own, I pulled out Katie’s Bible and began flipping through to find a story to read.  That’s part of our bedtime routine, but usually Brad leads that activity.  Well, what God led me to was a passage in James about controlling our tongues.  Neither Katie nor I were in very good moods, each for our own reasons; then we had this passage to absorb.  What convicted me was the progression of actions from thoughts to feelings to words.  And that’s also where my submission, or lack there-of, became apparent.

I can control my thought, as much as I’d like to deny that or claim otherwise, and that is one of the starting points of living out a submissive attitude.  I need to love Brad for who he is and think about those things that make him that person who is the perfect gift for me.  Remarkably, those characteristics are usually the same ones that I end up criticizing him for.  He is human, not God – he is going to mess up just like I am; I need to be willing to extend forgiveness and grace to him, just like God forgives me.

I need to pray for Brad – not to become who I want him to be, but to become everything that God designed him to be.  He can’t be that person if I am tearing him down or “making it known” that I think he’s really messing up.  I need to pray support for him, both from myself and others, so that he can receive Godly counsel.  I need to pray that he has the clarity he needs to lead us down the right paths in life.

I know that I can be a stiff-necked, strong-willed, opinionated person.  I also need to pray for myself, that God fill me with the attitude of submission.  Brad has enough people in the world challenging him, his ideas, and his authority.  He doesn’t heed his wife in that mix.  In order for him to be who he was designed to be, I need to be who I was designed to be.  I need to worry about my own business, including my own submissiveness.  God designed submission as a part of my role in marriage; since He is the master architect, He knows how all the parts are supposed to fit.  I need to trust that he designed the parts of marriage well.

Ephesians 5: 22-33

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

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