Spiritual Discipline // SUBMISSION
By Donia Hovet
Perhaps the greatest single act of submission I’ve ever enacted was when I decided to become a stay-at-home mom. I was in my final year of Bible college and my husband and I had only been married a few months when we discovered I was pregnant. Needless to say, this was not planned. My original plans involved graduating at about 50 pounds lighter, enrolling in Azusa Pacific University, completing a Master’s Degree and becoming a teacher. Instead, I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree, a rotund 8 months pregnant. I gave birth a few weeks later and began my journey of motherhood.
I submitted in action, but my heart was loath to follow. I struggled with my “down-graded” life. I wanted more, to prove my worth, to BE SOMETHING. Growing up in the 90’s meant that I had been indoctrinated with the idea that motherhood was important, but LESSER. Nevertheless, I submitted my professional and educational hopes and dreams to the service of my husband and children. This was one of those times where the heart had to follow the action (we usually like it better the other way around).
Here’s what Richard Foster says about Submission:
“Submission is the spiritual discipline that frees us from the everlasting burden of always needing to get our own way. In submission we are learning to hold things lightly. We are also learning to diligently watch over the spirit in which we hold others— honoring them, preferring them, loving them.”Richard Foster, The Celebration of Disciplilne
When we don’t get what we want or when things don’t go the way we would like them to go, we have two obvious extreme options to choose from: 1) to kick and scream and transgress or 2) to give up. Yet, Dave reminded us this past Sunday that between any two extremes lies a seedbed of moderation where God’s grace, love and goodness can flourish. Somewhere between the fight and the relent is the true spirit of submission: TRUST. Trust in God, in his plans, in his LOOOOONNNNNGGGG view of life. To hold things lightly is to snub narrow-mindedness and selfishness in favor of honor, service and love.
My life is better because I had a baby at such a young age. Almost two decades later, I can see God’s guiding hand so much more clearly than the puffy pregnant lady that walked across the stage to accept her diploma. I may not have gotten my way, but in God’s able hands, I have gained more than I could have imagined as I have submitted again and again.
- READ: Mark 8:34-37 and Philippians 2:1-11.
- What do you notice about the way the kingdom of God works? How has Jesus modeled this for us?
- In what areas of your life do you currently have the opportunity to practice submission? How does trust play into these areas? (Trust in self, others and God)
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to allow self-denial to grow in your life so that you can become more available to practice the way of Jesus.