Thursday, January 8, 2009

1 Peter 3, submission and fear...

Note: There are exceptions to the blanket statement of “submitting to your husband.” I am in no way encouraging anyone to stay in an abusive situation, or to condemn someone who got out of a marriage or situation that was unhealthy. I am not wanting to condemn someone who has made mistakes in the past, or are coming out of any other circumstance that I can’t think of right now!

I am speaking directly to myself, in my own situation, and the way this past week’s sermon hit me. I pray that I have not left anyone feeling condemned, put down, or made to think that they have no choice if they are in a bad situation. My struggles are just that, my individual struggles. I am only speaking from my experiences and difficulties.

Please keep that in mind as you continue to read! Love you all…


How do I describe the things that have been happening to me these past few days?
I am not sure if I can. But I will try.

I was very convicted by the sermon this Sunday at church. Our pastor has been working through 1 and 2 Peter. This week, he embarked, with great trepidation, on trying to speak to all of us out of 1 Peter 3… you know the part… wives submit to your husbands…

He said that he would have felt much more comfortable having his wife or another woman speak to the women in the church on this subject of submitting to their husbands. There were things that he didn’t address, which was good I think, because he didn’t want to stir up controversy, but he really wanted to encourage us. (He also spoke to the men with their part of those verses, but that is a completely different topic!!!)

Several of the things that jumped out at me was the reminder that our true beauty comes from a gentle and quiet spirit… from the internal things God is doing in our lives. He said that the passage about our beauty doesn’t come from fine clothes, jewelry, braided hair wasn’t so much about how we were to dress, but more about the reminder that those things are ok, as long as we know, and are convinced that our inward beauty is so much more important.

If we are ugly and contentious, bitter and nagging, criticizing and degrading, it shows through to our outward appearance, in the way we handle ourselves, our expressions, our attitudes, and the words that proceed from our mouths.

He also addressed the biggest thing that causes problems for us, when we are told to submit to our husbands.


It is so hard to submit because in Genesis it talks about how the woman’s desire will be for her husband and he will rule over her (Gen. 3:16).

Truth be told here. How many of us are afraid to submit, because then we will be out of control? The situations we most fear are the ones we try to control the most. We try to control and manipulate our husbands into doing the things we think are right, rather than submitting to them and allowing them to take real leadership in our homes, and the subsequent responsibility and accountability to God that requires.

I know I have.
I know I still do.

I respect my husband. He has a hard job, yet he does it well, and with pride. He loves working as a nurse on the oncology unit at the hospital, even though it is very hard on him when they lose a patient. He connects well with the families and patients. And he typically comes home very tired and drained (he is an introvert which makes the job doubly hard on him, being with people all day).

That’s when the kids and I start in on him, all of us wanting his attention. No wonder he retreats to the computer to get away from “people” for a while… even if the computer is in the same room, he can tune us out.

And I know in those situations there have been times where I have been disrespectful, and not able to support him or give him what he needs.

Our pastor said that we need to understand, and truly empower, encourage and lift up our husbands. That they need us. He also told us that there was no way we can know how to do that unless we ASK them. Yup. Dialogue about it.

He said that we would be daughters of Sarah if we did what was right and didn’t give way to fear.


It can really be our biggest trap. As I said before, we lose that control, in whatever area we think we need it, and we become extremely fearful, and start acting based on that fear. And then find ourselves not submitting, and out from under the will of God and the covering of our husbands.

As we went into our community groups (Sunday school) to discuss the sermon, I started having a panic attack. It was all I could do to sit there next to my friend and listen. I could barely participate.

I could already hear God starting to work on me…
…and I was terrified!

I know the biggest issue for me right now was trusting that God is going to provide for our needs. I mean, I need to feel secure and taken care of. I hate the feeling of flying by the seat of my pants in the area of finances. I feel I am totally alone in that area of our lives, and that there is nothing I can do about it.

God has gotten me to the point where I am able to trust Him in a lot of other areas of my life. So now it is time to work on this one. His provision for me.

I spent some time with God on Monday night, walking through some techniques that my counselor has taught me over the past year. I felt like God clearly… incredibly clearly… spoke to me through scripture.

Scripture dealing with fear.
Scripture dealing with my feelings of helplessness.
Scripture dealing with my feelings of hopelessness.

Scriptures to remind me that He has not given me a spirit of fear.
Scriptures to remind me that He is my strength every morning.
Scriptures to remind me that He is my salvation and hope.

I know that no matter what may come around the corner to surprise me, God knew it already. He took me through that processing the other night because He knew that another curve ball in the area of finances would hit me today, and He prepared me for it.

I am still struggling. But I know that He is in control. I am more at peace about it than I have been in a while.

I know it seems like submitting and my relationship to the finances has nothing to do with my relationship with my husband and submitting to him.

My insecurities in our financial situation, and my fear that God won’t provide, have made me very nagging, up tight. My fears have made me question everything that my husband has spent. I almost compulsively check our banking accounts on line. I have a fear of letting go of the control of the finances. It isn’t so much paying the bills. That Dave likes for me to do, because I enjoy numbers and he doesn’t as much. It is my attitude about it. The constant nagging and questioning and pushing him to do overtime. I am definitely not submitting to him here.

I am being pretty open and honest here because I would covet your prayers. I don’t even know what submitting to my husband in these areas will look like. But I have asked God to show me. I am trying to keep my eyes out for opportunities. It is a real struggle for me because I have a tendency towards controlling things so that I don’t get hurt. I feel like I can’t trust anyone else to take care of me, though I long for it, because they will let me down.

Now it may be true that people will let me down in the area of providing for me… and many others. But God doesn’t. He is my provider. I have to submit to my husband, work on living at peace with him, giving him a safe, peaceful place to come home to after work. I have to learn him better, and do things for him that empower and encourage him. And when he fails me, which will happen, I have to know and believe that God will take care of us both, and our whole family.

I can control me and my reactions, and my part of trusting God and my husband.
I can’t control anything else, situations or people.
I need to stop trying, and allow God to fill in the rest.

Submission. Not a word that has positive connotations in our culture. Not one that has a lot of positive associations in my own head. However, submitting to God hasn’t been as painful as I thought it would be. So learning to submit to my husband in everything, not just the areas I choose to, can only be rewarding, right?

Pray for me as I find myself learning new things, and as God continues to stretch and grow me.

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