This past Sunday I spoke at our church’s small ladies’ conference. The theme was submission, and my assignment was to address the unmarried ladies. It was quite interesting to think about and put together. The following are some of my notes from this talk.
It reads pretty dryly, but I gave it with a good dose of funny voices, laughing, crying, and emotion. 😀
Submission is simply one quality of a spiritually mature person. It’s not a female quality; men and women are to submit generally in various situations. Satan is the antithesis of this, and Christ is the model. In marriage, the woman operates with a submissive attitude, as opposed, for example, to manipulating, dominating, or controling. In a marriage where the man loves and the woman submits, the actual issue of submission is not that visible or felt because both partners are looking out for the best for the other or to fulfill their common goals. In unbalanced marriages, like a believer and an unbeliever, or a spouse with a disinterested partner, submission can become more of an open or felt issue.
Submission is much more than just doing something. There are a 100 ways we can “do” the thing asked but not be submissive about it. For example, tone of voice, body language, crying, coldess and silence, yelling, complaining, throwing things, etc. Submission is holistic; it’s all of you.
Be afraid of marriage. In Hebrew culture, there were several vows people could make—like the Nazerite vow—but in our church culture today we really have only one traditional vow that we make to God and that is when we marry. We vow to God (not just the man) to be faithful to our husbands. Also, marriage changes you unalterably. You become one flesh with this person. So be very careful who you marry, and approach the idea with a healthy measure of fear.
Dating mostly prepares us for dating, not necessarily for marriage. Dating involves anticipation, excitement, almost constant contact, romantic and sexual tension, and these states actually do little to prepare us for waking up to the days we have to make three meals, clean the house, do laundry, shop, etc. Learn as much as you can now to do those things so the shock of marriage is a little easier to handle.
Don’t be fooled: You love him conditionally. When we’re “in love” and getting flowers, cards, dates, SMSes, it’s very easy to imagine that we love this man completely, entirely, unconditionally. But really, we are full of conditions. I myself was shocked by how easily I was offended the first year or so of our marriage. I had expectations of him that I didn’t even know I had! Only God loves unconditionally, and we are in the process of learning how to love as He does.
Develop a rich inner life.
Prayer: When we pray, we tend to ask and expect God to change the things we are unhappy with. But really, prayer is the means to transform our own character. God knows that He could change every uncomfortable thing in my life, but I would still be unhappy. It’s me that needs to change. Also, the things that I would so want to change are usually the exact things God wants to use to make me happy—to make me happy in Him. Those little irks or big issues are God’s means of turning my heart to Him for satisfaction, contentment, and pleasure.
What is your happiness founded on? We tend to base our happiness on our relationships because God did make us extremely relational. But what we really need to do is base our happiness on our relationship with God. He will disappoint us in everything else—and it all will naturally disappoint us. God is our only true base of happiness.
All the little and big disappointments in life are actually my friends. They show me where my hope and happiness is and help me transfer it onto Christ, where it should be. Often, we don’t value the process of being made to be like Christ—we saw Him as unbeautiful and suffering here on earth. But now, He is the most beautiful thing that exists . . . and God is transforming us to be like Him!!! Yes, it is often through suffering and hard things right now; I’m not sure why this has to be. But it is, so let’s accept the good things that God is doing for us.
Esther is an interesting example of submission. A beautiful young lady. Don’t you think she had dreams about marrying a Hebrew guy, going to sleep in his arms every night, having kids with him, celebrating Jewish holidays. Our standard female dream of happiness and being loved. . . But she gave it all up! For her whole life!! She married a man who could sleep with basically anyone he wanted. . . . She understood that there was something more important than herself. That her happiness wasn’t found in her marriage. She also, interestingly, was wise about submission. Mordecai, the main eunich in charge of the virgins, and the king. She accomplished amazing operations all submissively.