The only way to achieve true submission is to completely surrender...
So what does that mean? I have been haunted by the phrase for the past 15 hours. Wondering what God is trying to show me that I haven't surrendered. Someone pointed out that she gathered from brief conversations that it might be Control and Complete Trust. Which was exactly where my mind was going.
I do struggle with control. I have had it for so long and to give it up has been scary. I have given up much of the control that I have wielded over the years. But some I have reserved in the quiet recesses of my mind and heart. I have continually justified to myself and to others why I should have that control.
- It's my life. I should have a say in it.
- I need to be on the same page with my sweetie.
- I am just as intelligent and capable, so why shouldn't I have some of the control?
- I was raised this way, so I need to gradually wean myself off of the habits.
So what does surrender mean?
According to the dictionary:
- to yield (something) to the possession or power of another; deliver up possession of on demand.
- to give (oneself) up
- to give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion, etc
- to give up, abandon, or relinquish
- to yield or resign in favor of another
- to give oneself up, as into the power of another; submit or yield.
- the voluntary abandonment
So, how do these definitions fit into my plan? Well, to surrender evidently means to give up my plan.
1. to yield (something) to the possession or power of another; deliver up possession of on demand.
How does this fit my situation? Well, I have an agenda. I have something that I have set in my mind as what should be... where I should be headed. I have worked on my agenda for 43 years. I know what I want. But why is it wrong? Well, I forgot to ask God what His agenda is. I never considered what my husband's agenda is/was. So if I am selfishly lumbering through life accomplishing my agenda, then I am in fact not following my husband, and ultimately, not following God. So to yield my agenda to the possession and/or power of my husband, who has been given the job of leading, is the right thing to do. To surrender my agenda and not allow pride, anger, or frustration to cloud any changes that are made to that agenda is to surrender in order to fulfill submission.
2. to give (oneself) up.
So where does this fit? I have always prided myself on taking care of myself. I don't need anyone. The "I can do it myself" mentality. To depend on others is to set yourself up for failure. People always let you down, so why depend on them? But to surrender oneself to another, especially in a marriage, this is not an option.
Eph 5:22-24 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Unless I am missing something, this doesn't seem to be a request. It seems to be a command without the option to reject. Surrender of my "perceived rights" is necessary in order to achieve the ability to successfully complete the task at hand. Submit to my husband as to the Lord. So what are my perceived rights? The right to be in control of things that directly affect me, the right to set the course of my life since it is my life (right), the right to be happy all the time, the right to be right (even if it goes against what my husband wants and I know he is wrong!), the right to be heard. Well those are a few of the things that I have been holding on to.
But how do you achieve surrender of our "rights"? We are a nation that prides itself on protecting individual rights. So if we are protecting individual rights, then we are in fact damaging the surrender of our selves that is required by God.
3. to give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion.
So, surrender is to give oneself up to some influence. To surrender to the influence of my husband, to chose a course contrary to the status quo, HERE comes the hardest... to give oneself up to emotion. Here is another area I struggle in... emotions. OK, if I open this door, then I allow myself to be vulnerable to be hurt. If I allow others inside of my fortress, then it gives them power. If I let my husband see my vulnerable underbelly, and he falters or fails, then I will once again find disappointment. We know that people will always fail you.
1 Peter 3:5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
So the trust is not placed in mankind, or specifically, "a man" (my husband), but in God. My total surrender is to God. Then it filters down to the man whom He has placed here to be my spiritual head. I am supposed to trust God to guide my husband. Even if he disappoints me, God never will. My emotions were given by God. To withhold them is like burying a gift that God has given in the ground instead of allowing it to be used to further His Kingdom.
4. to give up, abandon, or relinquish.
This follows the common thread. I need to give up my selfish desires for self fulfillment and put my hope in God's desires for my life. A perfect position defined by God with specific guidelines and rules.
5. to yield or resign in favor of another.
Another fantastic illustration of where I should be and realization of how far away I am. To yield to the decisions and opinions of my husband and not try to bend him to the decisions that I desire for him to make. To resign myself to the fact that we are one and should be moving in the same direction. When we are moving in opposite directions and I am pulling against him we cannot accomplish the tasks that are set out for us. He has to spend his time trying to change my mind rather than doing what he is supposed to be doing. So to accomplish this I should be EQUALLY yoked with him... yoked at the heart. Working together with a common goal. His goal should be to lead in the direction that God has for us and my goal should be to follow without pulling against him.
6. to give oneself up, as into the power of another; submit or yield.
Again, fits real well with God's desire. Christ decided to come to die once for all. Gave up His place at the right hand of the Father to come to earth. Born as a helpless baby. Grew into a man in the same progression as the rest of us. Why? To show us that our task was not impossible but very do-able. If he was willing to do this for me, why should I not do the same thing? Jesus gave himself into the hands of those who chose to crucify Him. Chose! He submitted to the Will of the Father and yielded His life. And I have the audacity to not be willing to submit and yield? Another area to work on... Sigh... the list sure is getting long.
7. the voluntary abandonment.
Here is the crux of it all. It has to be voluntary. It should be something willingly pursued. Something done out of love and obedience, not obligation. So how does this fit? Well, I am choosing to make the changes. It is voluntary. I want to achieve the things that God has set out for us as a couple and for me as a wife. I want to abandon the things that hold me back I want to shed the old shell and get a new and improved version.
I realize the trip will be long and hard. I realize that to accomplish this will require mucho brain and willpower but the rewards will allow a stronger, fresher relationship with God and my husband. And after all, that is the overall goal. To prepare the bride of Christ for the upcoming wedding.