Seems as if my past posts have stirred a little controversy. “Davenia, how can you advocate for women to submit, to follow? You’re taking us back into the stone ages!” And I get it. Believe me, I honestly do. It’s a concept I’ve grappled with and still grapple with. I actually wrote a whole book dealing with the dirty “S” word (Another plug – If you haven’t read Naked and Unashamed, I encourage you to do so).
For the past few days I’ve pondered how to best respond. I thought I could give you a list of all the ways that you as a good wife could dutifully submit to your head of the home, leader husband. Accept, I’m not sure how to qualify that. What exactly does it look like? What exactly does one “do” in order to submit? I also thought that I could recount my own journey, except it’s one that I’m still on and what makes me an authority anyways? If you’ve read Naked and Unashamed, you’ll realize that I pose more questions than answers and I, or should I say the characters, simply present alternative ways to view the concept and its’ Biblical implications for the 21st century woman.
Then it finally hit me. The only thing I can share with you that carries any weight, that makes any sense, that is a sure thing, that’s tried and true, is to pray.
Anything that I am, or anything that I have done has absolutely nothing to do with me. Because quite frankly, this whole submit thing goes against my nature. Submissiveness is not conducive to independence. Submissiveness is not conducive to control. Anything that I am, or anything that I have done has absolutely nothing to do with me, but all about God. How you ask? One word. Prayer.
So with that, here is one of the prayers that I pray daily.
Prayer of Submission
Dear Kind and Gracious Father,
I come before you this morning because it is my desire to live in submission to my husband (Oh how it even pained me to think and write that word – submission). But I’ve read in your word “wives submit to your husbands, as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18) and while I’ve tried to ignore it, dismiss it, redefine it, or erase it, I keep coming back to “all scripture is given by Your divine inspiration and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16). So, here I am seeking to understand it, accept it, and live it.
Now because You made me (fearfully and wonderfully made me by the way - Psalms 139:14), You know how hard this is going to be for me. You made me to be a woman who handles her business. You gave me leadership qualities. You gave me the ability to multi-task, to organize, to take charge, to dream and to vision, to nurture and to care for, to see a problem and generate and execute a solution. And you also see me (Genesis 16:13), so you know every experience and situation that I’ve endured. You know about the many broken hearts. You know about all the times others have disappointed me. You know about the times I’ve had no choice but to pick up the slack when others have left me alone. You know about the tragedies that have left me untrusting. You know about the lonely nights and the scary days. You know what caused me to erect this wall around my heart. You know my fears. You know me (Psalm 139:1 and 2, Psalm 139:23).
So because You created me and know me, It’s going to have to be up to You to transform me (Ezekiel 18:31). I want to be the woman You created me to be (Genesis 1:27). I want to that wife and mother who is pleasing in Your sight (I John 3:22). I want to be a woman after Your own heart (I Samuel 13:14).
Change my mind (Romans 12:2) dear Father so that I better understand this whole submit thing. Help me to no longer see it as being enslaved to my husband, being his footstool, having no say, no voice, or losing myself to him that I no longer recognize myself as I become morphed into a mini him. Help me to understand that as I learn to submit to my husband, it’s only positioning me to be better submitted to You. Help me to understand that You also created my husband, You love Him too and You can and will equip Him to be the husband that I need. Help me to understand that I only need to obey Your Word, even if I don’t always understand or like it. Change my mind so that I am able to experience joy and freedom through submission to my husband and to You.
Change my heart (Psalm 51:10) dead Father so that I desire to please my husband without feeling neglected, so that I don’t harbor bitterness or anger, so that I am able to trust him or more importantly trust You, so that I can delight in Your ways and be fulfilled as I live as You’ve asked me to. Help me to submit joyfully and find fulfillment in living a submitted life within my marriage and my heart.
Now here’s the biggie dear Father. Please “set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3)!!!! Lord, help me to think before I speak. Help me listen more and talk less so that I can keep myself out of trouble (Psalm 21:23). Help me to speak words of encouragement (Ephesians 4:29) and to provide a soft answer in order to turn away wrath (Proverbs 15:1). Help me to recognize that my tongue is a weapon (James 3:2-10). Help me choose to use it for good instead of evil (Psalm 34:13), to use it to heal (Proverbs 12:18), and well, help me to just shut up sometimes (Proverbs 17:28).
I’ve been in control, or so I’ve thought, for so long, and the very idea of surrendering all to You is terrifying. But I coming to You in faith, albeit the faith of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20), believing that a surrendered life to You is far more satisfying than anything this world could ever offer (Romans 12:2). In Your word, You said that if I follow You and deny myself, I will be saved (Matthew 16:24-27). So today I will trust You with all my heart, knowing that my own understanding is faulty (Proverbs 3:5-6). Today I commit myself to You as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). Help me to be like Peter, leave everything behind to follow You (Mark 10:28). Help me to be the woman, wife and mother You created me to be and as I surrender my all to You, show me how to love, honor, and live in submission to this husband You’ve blessed me with.
In Your most Holy Name I pray, Amen.