I hate the word “submission.” I do not want to submit to anyone, preferring to run full-force into the dark, rather than listen, rather than abide, rather than be controlled. Perhaps this is why I have not yet married; I am afraid that submissive wife is akin to marital slave.
But in Chapter 11 of God in the Yard, L.L. Barkat offers a whole new definition of submission: “…true submission is the art of working with a person or situation.” The art of working with. I like the sound of that. But I cannot think of a single time in my life where I have experienced or even witnessed this type of submission. The idea feels so fresh and so new, that I’m not sure it’s true.
Can it be that submission is an art–the art of working with? It is really true that Scripture doesn’t call me to give up my identity and experience gender degradation to please a man or God? Because that’s what is holding me back—I don’t want to lose who I am in God, my self-in-God, to cater to what someone else’s definition of who I should be as a Christian woman.
God doesn’t want submission to be burdensome, like a ball and chain around my heart. He wants me to work with Him and others and life so that I know when to receive, to lead, and to follow. God desires me to give of myself through the art of working with, but not to lose pieces of me in the process, which is why it is essential I keep my identity firmly rooted in who God says that I am.
See, my definition was all wrong. Instead of working with others, I fought against them. I feel like Peter, pulling out my sword in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus tells Peter to put away his sword. Jesus looks me directly in the heart and tells me the same. Confused, a little heart sick, I do it. I’m used to fighting, but working with…it’s a new call on my life.
Admittedly, I feel a little lost without my sword, yet working with offers so much more freedom, so much more peace, and so much less blood loss—on both sides. And I don’t hate the word submission nearly as much. Well, I’m getting there.