Powerful read by Heather Hagy;
Confession – I struggle with the word “submit.” Its primary definition is “to accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person.” My ego resents this definition, bristling at the very thought of yielding, submitting, bending to another. It’s my instinct to rebel against anything that requires me to be submissive or feel “less than.” Whether that instinct is natural or shaped by life experience is debatable but it’s a part of me, like it or not.
I’m stubborn and a bit of a control freak which only contributes to the issue of not wanting to submit. An example of my ego in action – I demanded that the word “obey” be removed from the wedding vows spoken between me and my husband. I had no problem with vowing to be with him through sickness and health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, but I’d be damned if I was going to “obey” him. I didn’t – and still don’t – like the thought of submitting myself so completely to someone or something that I lose control. I want to remain in control. My ego practically DEMANDS that I stay in control.
My ego needs a time-out.
Submission can be a blessing, not a curse. How could I have forgotten? In the library of my mind, among the many stacks of memories, I seem to have misplaced the recollections of blessings received since my “God moment” nearly five years ago.
October 2013. 310 Parker Street in downtown Vacaville. The former site of Harvest Church. My family had been coming to that church since Fall of 2009. They didn’t all start attending at once; it was a gradual progression. I’ll spare the lengthy details and fast forward to that night in October. I don’t remember the exact date, only that it was Youth Night, and it was time for altar call, and as I stood alone near the back of the room, in the darkness, I felt an indescribable presence wrap around me and bathe me in bright light. In that moment time stood still and no one else existed in that room but me and that presence. I heard no music, I saw no people, I only felt the most amazing joy and relief, like all burdens, past and present, had been taken from me.
I lifted my hands and SUBMITTED.
Why am I telling you this? Well, for one, I believe in being transparent. If any of you read my posts on a regular basis, you know I’m pretty “real” (sometimes to the point of TMI – sorry.) Two, I’m hoping to reach anyone who might be struggling with the idea of submission, particularly submission to God. Life did not become magically easy after that October night. There are still struggles – financial, emotional, physical – but the blessings, big and small, outnumber the troubles when I acknowledge and submit to God’s plan for my life.
Again, I don’t particularly like it. For me, submission is messy and complicated. It doesn’t come naturally. Imagine a parent trying to feed a new food to a toddler. The more the parent implores the child to “just try it, you might like it,” the more the child clams up and refuses to accept the offer. That’s me when it comes to submission – God is the parent and I’m the child. God knows what’s best for me, and though I suspect he’s probably right, I dig my heels in, obstinate and fearful, and turn my head away.
What a brat.
At 48, I’m still learning. I’m learning that I’m depriving myself of growing personally, professionally, and spiritually if I’m unwilling to submit to God. I’m learning that, for every negative connotation of the word “submit” – back down, cave in, relent – there is a positive meaning – present, offer, volunteer. Submission = Surrender but not in a bad way.
When I struggle with the idea of submission, I just need to remember that I’m not losing a part of me when I submit to God – I’m finding better parts of me. I’m gaining knowledge, insight, awareness of things I didn’t have before. Such gains don’t always happen when I want them to. Often, they happen according to His timing, not mine, which is frustrating. But it’s all part of the process of “letting go and letting God.” Yeah, that’s a cheesy phrase but the meaning is clear – you need to let go of the result you desire, let go of the idea that you know what’s best for you, and let God reveal His plan for you.
It’s not easy – the willful part of me throws an internal fit at the thought of not being in control. Maybe you feel the same way. I’m sorry if you do – it’s hard. I don’t have any sage advice or pearls of wisdom. I can only speak plainly about my own conflicts with submission but in doing so, perhaps I’ve helped someone realize that, if they haven’t already tried, they ought to submit to God – fully and unreservedly. Go ahead, try it, just once. I promise – you won’t regret it.