Stubbornness. How many of you can relate to this word? To be fixed or set in purpose or opinion; resolute (determined).
I know I can relate. For many years, I have liked having control and doing things my way. I didn’t necessarily like it when others tried to change my plans, not realizing that attitude was affecting my relationships with friends, family, co-workers, and even my spouse.
After reading Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. Declares the Lord.” and knowing “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitude of the heart” from Hebrews 4:12, I started questioning myself: When I inflict others to do what I want is the outcome always right? Are my thoughts always the best idea?
My childhood had some challenges, as did all others, and I did not have control over the outcomes and that affected my thought process. But God, being the loving God he is, started using another person to speak to my heart. I remember a few years after being married and attending church for about four years, I was working for a lady in her home. My husband had talked to me about putting in for a transfer to another town with his company. We did not agree on this and had a class four hurricane conversation. I finally told him, out of anger, “Do what you want to!” Well, he did and he took the transfer. I did not want him to, as we were close to both parents, had found a home church, and were enjoying raising a family in our first home we were buying. While speaking with this woman who I looked up to as a mentor, she gently told me it sounded like he was trying to do something that he thought was good for our family and I should submit to him.
I told my husband he could drive back and forth and we would stay where we were. After noticing the wear and tear on his body, I finally agreed that we should put the house up for sale and look elsewhere. Not being happy about moving away from family and friends, God continued to work on my heart. Three years later, God opened another opportunity for my husband to transfer again. We discussed and decided it wasn’t right for our family. A year after that the opportunity came along again and my heart was more open to praying about the move. We both prayed, he got the transfer and we were to move in one month. After being blessed with an opportunity to rent month to month, we took a leap in faith moving without seeing what the placed looked like. We knew we were led by God to be in that spot for that specific timing.
About six months prior to that move, my husband had spoken to me about God laying youth on his heart. Our church had less than a handful of girls that the pastor’s wife met with when they were there, so I suggested he shelf the idea. We were attending a new church in our new home town and on our second Sunday, with us not knowing anyone, the pastor announced the youth pastor was asked to step down. We looked at each other, remembering the conversation six months back and said, “What is God doing? We are not equipped.” After a short time, we were involved with the youth. While praying and seeking God with a willing heart, God spoke to me in scripture; Genesis 13:14-15, “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give you…” My husband was asked to start leading a small group for youth and take over on a trial basis and I wanted to be the helpmate I was created to be, so I helped wherever and whenever I could.
In prayer time, a few years later God kept telling me to back off and I kept telling God, “it will be a mess, he needs me.” I didn’t know what that exactly looked like, how I could just let him do all the work. But I slowly worked on allowing God to change both of us.
Beginning of 2016, God gave me Deuteronomy 1:8, 21, 29, “See, I have given you the land. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore he would give. See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your fathers told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you.” Not knowing exactly what this meant, but praying, God opened up an opportunity for us to purchase a home in the heart of the community, that has the space to have youth within it. Then, this last August, I was asked very politely to let my husband expand his leadership skills. It has been hard, but it is all about one word, Submission. Through this whole story lies this word. “Submit yourselves, then, to God.” James 4:7
Submission is the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.
When I heard this word, it brought me to fear. Who likes getting bossed around, losing control, giving in, or being weak? But, what I have learned over the past few years is that submission is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength, being humble; having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance. Matthew 5:5 says, “Blessed are the meek (humble), for they will inherit the earth.” And in 2 John 2:6 we are told, “Whoever claims to live like him must walk as Jesus did.” Jesus shows us humility in 1 John 3:16, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
Contemplate the following questions:
- Have you only been considering your own ways, thoughts, plans?
- What areas in your life do you need to work on submission? Is it with God, your spouse, boss, etc.?
Is submission the first step you can make this the year to show that you are all in for God?