Un”Tangling” the idea of Submission

 photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve mentioned before that I am currently writing a Bible study for teenage girls. This month, I am persevering through to finish it and move forward with how God chooses to use it. Here is an excerpt for your enjoyment (and potential feedback for the study). This part comes from the chapter on Humility, from the study Delight: a Joyful Discovery of Biblical Womanhood. (Note that a delight is a woman of God, in the context of the study.) Thank you for reading… enjoy!

Imagine a different kind of Princess movie sequel to Disney’s Tangled:

UnknownRapunzel woke up early as usual. She had been married to her good-looking husband, for a few months now, and it was wonderful. They lived in their own little cottage near the castle; close enough to her parents she was now reunited with, but still their own place. She wandered outside and enjoyed a nice cup of tea in the morning sunshine. She chatted cheerfully with some older gentlemen on their way to work in the fields. A few minutes later, she started writing an encouraging letter to her parents. Glancing over her shoulder, she noticed a squirrel struggling to reach an acorn. She gently knocked it down for him then whistled her way back inside her home.

disney-tangled-rapunzel-pascal-flynn-disneys-rapunzel-16837562-1280-720Then she saw it. Her husband Eugene, had failed to shave again! Ever since her hair stopped being able to grow, she couldn’t stand the sight of any hair growing, even stubble on her husbands chin. “One little thing I ask, Flynn,” Rapunzel chided, purposefully using Eugene’s alias from his robbery-days, “just shave before I see you in the morning, is that so hard!?”

She carried on about how rude he was and inconsiderate of her feelings. After living so long with a woman who pretended to be her mother, and bossed her around incessantly, now it was Rapunzel’s turn for freedom. Her husband often asked her to look after the garden, help in the kitchen, or sometimes even just sit with him and read in front of the fire. But Rapunzel was her own person, and she was going to do her own thing.

20130122-155225.jpgWhile you will rarely witness a nagging session like this in a children’s movie about princesses and little squirrels and acorns; in reality, it happens all the time. A woman of humility must learn the value of submission. The word “submission” is another “nails on the chalkboard” word to many people. Some ladies associate it with being a “doormat” or never having an opinion of their own. Others feel that obedience means “being controlled.” As daughters of God, we must trust that God set up the idea of submission because He knows it is what is best for us! Submitting to authority means that a woman follows, obeys, and commits to a person or standard with humility. In the Bible we are commanded to submit to our family authorities (parents), the government, the church, and our husbands:

“Older women are to… encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and submissive to their husbands, so that God’s message will not be slandered.” (Titus 2:3-5)

Though you may not be married yet, one of the main purposes of this study is to prepare you for biblical womanhood, including being a wife someday. God’s design of marriage is so much more special than the relationship of a daughter with her parents, or a woman to the government. That is why the idea of submission must be more valued and cared for within a husband-wife relationship.

God designed marriage to be a picture of Christ’s relationship with the church (read Ephesians 5:21-33). When a woman disrespects, or disobeys her husband, she is painting a picture of God’s people disrespecting or disobeying Christ. The role of a wife is so much more than just being a help-meet to her husband; we get to share the story of the gospel through our very actions in relation to our husbands. A woman like Rapunzel at the beginning of this lesson paints a picture of God’s people who nag, and roll their eyes, and don’t appreciate Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. That is how “God’s message is slandered;” when we disregard our husbands, we disregard the picture we are painting of Christ and the church.

A delight can practice being a woman of humility to the people around her, but as a wife it is crucial that she strive to be submissive even more, for the sake of her witness of Christ.

Lucky for us, being submissive is absolutely NOT being an opinion-less door mat who cleans and cooks and massages her husband’s stinky feet every night (though that can be an excellent practice of humility).

When I think of the word “submit,” I think of turning in a paper that is due in English class. When I “submit” my paper, it becomes the teacher’s. When I turn myself in to my husband, I become his. I am under his protection, guidance, and fellowship. I line up my desires and goals with his. A Christian wife can represent God’s people well when she submits to her husband, even if he may not be representing Christ well in his actions. God uses such humility and submission in great ways:

“In the same way, wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the [Christian] message, they may be won over without a message by the way their wives live… For in the past, the holy women who put their hope in God also beautified themselves in this way, submitting to their own husbands, just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. You have become her children when you do what is good and are not frightened by anything alarming.” (1 Peter 3:1, 5, 6)

A woman of humility prays for her husband instead of nags him. A delight even prays for him even before she meets him, submitting herself to God first, and secondly to the man He has prepared for her.

Rapunzel did well as a woman of humility to the lowly, her authorities, even animals. But the true test of humility towards others lies in how a lady treats her husband, regardless of his shaving habits.

  • Have you seen Tangled? What is your favorite part?
  •  Can you think of 3 people you are called by God to submit to at this point in your life?
  •  How can you work on being humble in your relationship with those people?

Share your ideas by commenting below!

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  • http://tayloryates.wordpress.com tyates1994

    I love this. As we had a great conversation about last time I visited, I am one of those people who has trouble swallowing the idea of “submission.” This post definitely reinvents the meaning of “submission” in my mind and makes it clear how it’s actually extremely fulfilling. As always I love your wisdom, Becky.