Sunday, March 16, 2008

The S Word: Submission

Submission is a word with a seriously negative connotation in the US. It brings to mind cowering like a beaten dog or meekly agreeing to another person’s demands. Who wants that role in their job, family, school, church or life? Absolutely nobody!

My husband and I come from entrepreneurial families. Both our dads started and ran their own businesses and now we’ve taken over one of them. Both of us have also always been in leadership-type roles, not having to seek the permission or approval of others in order to get things accomplished. Given that background, you can only imagine that we struggle with the practice of submission, but I will only speak for myself. I struggle.

As a writer there is another meaning to the word. You write a piece and submit it to the editor of a publication, who will determine if he or she believes it is worthy of publishing. Although the definitions are entirely different, the process feels much the same. They hold all the cards and you submit to their requirements. That’s one of the reasons I really like blogging. I get to decide what to write, how long it will be and the way it is to be written.

Running the business with my husband makes me, by definition, a boss. Being the boss isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Included in the ranks of our employees are my 72-year-old father and my 26-year-old son. They don’t bow or salute like my other employees (ok, laugh with me a little!) but there are times when I have to ask them to do something or offer a bit of direction according to our agenda. I don’t like it.

Being the boss isn’t the same as being bossy. In fact, much less gets accomplished if a boss is demanding and rude so I try to be kind, polite and compassionate in my executive role. The outcome is always much better this way.

I know that I’ve landed in the roles I’m in for a reason, but I also know that as a Christian woman I’m supposed to embrace and live out the concept of submission. I’m so fortunate to be in a true partnership-marriage. We talk things out, share ideas, compromise and resolve issues; together. But on the rarest of occasions when we can’t arrive at the same decision, I believe in the Biblically prescribed position of submitting to my husband’s choice. Understand that he makes all his decisions with the underlying goal of honoring God, loving our family and serving society, so I ultimately trust that he is never far off course. Sometimes we just take different approaches to arriving at the same destination.

It took a lot to get that visual image of a cowering hound out of my mind when thinking about submission. The thing that helped me most was changing the word to one that made more sense in my mind: Yielding. I picture a yellow YIELD THE RIGHT OF WAY sign, with two roads merging into one. If one of us doesn’t slow down and allow the other to be in the lead, we will collide, with each other and with oncoming traffic.

Whether we like it or not, life circumstances are filled with a pecking order. If we don’t follow this order, chaos ensues. Sometimes God places us in the top dog spot, other times we are chasing the top dog’s tail. Most important to remember is that even when we’re in the position of authority, we have to learn to embrace submission to the One who promoted us. Sometimes we battle for position instead of easing into that place naturally. Are you in the right spot or facing the possibility of change? Share your submitting and being submitted to experiences!

Diane Markins


Joni Corby said...

I am posting from my laptop....when did you say I get an inspiration commission????

HisGirl said...

The minimum for inspiration commission is five! Get busy and share more insights so you can collect.