I know that by reading that title you’re wondering what century I am from and why I would talk about submitting to anyone. Just keep reading, I promise it is not what it sounds like… well maybe it is…
By submitting, I mean submitting to our partner’s leadership. In a relationship there are moments where we are the leader and there are moments that we are the follower. This is something that I hadn’t really thought of or been consciously aware of until recently when I was reading Ephesians 5:21. It talks about woman submitting to their husbands like we do Jesus. It talks about how the Husbands should love their wives like they are one flesh.
As I was thinking about this I was also thinking about what were submitting to and what it means to submit to your husbands like we do Jesus. It got me thinking about how each of us are handmade by God, with special talents, special strengths and our own unique weaknesses. Knowing what our strengths and weakness are and being aware of each partner’s strengths allows us to know when to be the follower and when to be the leader.
When we know our partners area of “expertise” and submit to their leadership we are honoring them. We are celebrating their gifts from God and allowing room for them to use them. When we submit to Jesus we are giving Him control and following His plan for us. We are trusting Him, loving Him, and giving Him room to lead us. We need to know when it is time to do that for our partners.
It is important to be aware of those gifts and opportunities for our partners to lead us because it is essential in building them up and encouraging them to fulfill their God-given purpose. Allowing others to share those talents with us helps us to build God like relationships, helps us to identify our purpose and celebrate them together, in community. It teaches us to have humility and grace when we need to take a back seat. It is hard to not be in control all the time but it is important for us to learn to implement the faith we have in Jesus in all areas of our live. In this case, taking a back seat when it is our partner’s turn to lead, even if it is uncomfortable to not be in control. It allows us the opportunity to actively practice putting others ahead of ourselves and to find ways to love others like God loves us. A love without expectation or disappointment. A love that is unconditional and encouraging. A love that leaves room for growth and failure.
So when I say submit to our partners, I mean allow them to lead you in their areas of expertise. I challenge you to sit down and identify the gifts that your partner possess, as well as your own gifts. Think about how you can help encourage and celebrate those gifts within each other. Challenge yourself to find the humility to relinquish control in those areas, while allowing yourself and your partner grace for when it still might not go as planned. This is a great challenge to help you find appreciation instead of frustration.
To give a simple example, I know that I am a bossy girl. I recognize that I like to be in control and I occasionally ( a lot) struggle to let go of that control so it is something that I am actively trying to be better at. One of the examples that comes to mind is health and fitness. I know that this is one of Brice’s passions and gifts. It is something that he is far more knowledgeable about this area than I am, but for me I am still stubborn in wanting to lead in this area. I need to not only recognize his talent in this are but actually give him room to lead me in this area. It will only benefit both of us in a greater way. This is a simple example but it is something that I am currently working on now. This is a simple way to deepen and better our relationship, simply by being more aware of how supportive and open we actually are.
Please let me know if this changes your original perspective on submitting and let me know ways you are practicing this!