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Is there power in submitting or does submission always = loss of power?
Have you ever had someone tell you they “suggest” you do things differently? But “suggest” probably means your method was moronic?
A boss tells you to “wait” on your project proposal. But “wait” probably means “never gonna happen my friend…”
At age 15 you heard your parents say “no” to Tammy’s sleep-over. But “no” actually meant…well…it probably meant: “No.”
Recently with my job, I had some people call into question one of my projects. I was taken off guard and pretty rocked by some of the emails and questions I received. I remember one morning sitting in bed, looking at the emails on my phone and started to cry. Was I not supposed to be doing this?
Or maybe they just didn’t get it?
My father told me something a few months ago that has stayed on the forefront of my mind. He said, “Joy, not everyone who submits will be a great leader, but every great leader has learned to submit.”
He was referencing his less submissive days which booted him into military school. There, he saw boys who rose to leadership positions by submitting to authority and boys in a constant struggle with authority, rarely moving forward.
My father, who eventually got his anger and rebellion under control, worked his way to second in command. He never got the top position during his 8th grade to senior year, but he was molded into a wise leader, much of which I believe was due to his submission.
Because of my strong personality, it’s not natural for me to authentically submit to authority. Sure, I have been obedient and functioned in legalism at times to appear that I am submitting, but true submission, I believe looks different than just obedience or compliance. And because of that, it has the power to produce different results.
Submitting isn’t a word that makes me get all giddy and want to do cartwheels. Instead the word makes me itch a little.
Ok, a lot.
That morning on my bed I decided to stop itching. I chose to give thanks for the sadness, the hurt and decided to submit to what these people were saying. It was an issue where they wanted me to wait, refine my work and be clearer. When I stopped and thought about it, these were all good things. In choosing not to struggle, but instead to submit, there was a freedom, clarity and a different type of power.
But why is my natural instinct to assume that what and who I submit to will hurt and trample me? Maybe it’s because of how I have been shaped to view the word “submit.” I see it as synonymous with weak, passive and having no voice.
This is NOT me.
But submitting doesn’t equal not speaking truth or standing up for myself when something is wrong. And sometimes the issue at hand isn’t even the point, the point is my resistance to trust. The boss, the friend, the police officer, the spouse and the parent are often good willed people. They aren’t the problem.
The problem is my heart.
I write about this because of the shift my own heart feels. God would never want me to submit to abuse or evil, but more often than not, I resist submission to people who are not evil. I don’t trust or assume the best about them, let alone that they would have my best interest in mind.
For me it seems, God put extra authority figures in my life for a reason. I believe that. So now I can either exert unnecessary power by resisting submission, or I can face the reality that learning to submit is ultimately for my growth and greater power to humbly serve God and man.
This doesn’t mean it will be a walk in the park and I won’t ever react and resist, but I wanted to share the freedom I feel from this thought process. Trust me, I am still just as strong willed as ever. The upside is that strong will gives me the power and energy to fight for justice and truth. The downside is, I can fight good willed authority in my life and eventually lose power.
Do you believe submission can unleash power?
How do you respond to people who suggest you: “do something different,” “wait,” or simply say “no?”
How do you deal with disappointing news at work? Do you honor the commitment to your job? Do you leave? Do you become resentful?
Love and Respect (Now) is a division of Love and Respect. Please be considerate.