Still Learning The Whole "Submission" Thing
Last week our family traveled through the scenic hills of Missouri to a vacation spot in the Lake of the Ozarks. It was destined to be the weekend of all weekends as our children and grandchildren came from near and far for a much awaited family reunion.
As we settled into our room that first night, I was prepared to bask in the glory of the day and recount how wonderful it was to finally have all the family together, and to anticipate what the next day would bring. So when my dear husband said to me, “We need to talk about something,” I knew whatever was to come next would not exactly fit with where my mind was at the moment.
I quickly ran through the activities/interactions of the past three to four days wondering, What did I do? What did I say? I came up empty—totally at a loss as to what may have caused the disapproving look on his face.
I should tell you that leading up to our trip we had a big discussion (that’s another word for disagreement) about whether to buy groceries before leaving Chicago or after we arrived at our destination. I was convinced it made sense to buy some items before leaving (after all, we might end up in a remote place where there were no Costco’s or Dominick’s!). My husband was adamant that we should wait—he was not going to load up his car with groceries. Wasn’t going to happen. End of discussion.
However, that didn’t prevent me from loading two large bins of dry goods into the trunk of the SUV and insisting that we stop along the way to pick up a huge box of meat (that I asked the grocery attendant to place in the back seat since the trunk was full of, umm, groceries).
Can I be totally honest? It never occurred to me (at the time) that I was showing disrespect to my husband. I was in “functional mode”: Gotta get the groceries so that as soon as we arrive we can begin the vacation in earnest. Don’t want to use valuable vacation time shopping for groceries! It’s really no big deal.
But that night as he shared his heart with me, I was so ashamed (actually, I was defensive at first until I talked myself down and forced myself to really hear what he was saying). He felt I totally disrespected him and disregarded his wishes. His final words were the most painful: “It feels like you do what I ask of you as long as you agree with me. But when you disagree, you do whatever you choose. I don’t think that’s what submission looks like.”
Ouch! He was right. And I love him for challenging me to walk the submission talk I do so well. It was a sober reminder that it’s one thing to understand and defend submission, but quite another to live it out. It’s easy to slip into behaviors that look nothing like submission. It was also a reminder that often we have blind spots that we need God’s Word, the Holy Spirit, and those who love us most to reveal to us.
By the way, as we got close to our vacation spot—less than a mile to go—there was something vaguely familiar on the horizon. I rubbed my eyes to make sure I wasn’t seeing things...
It was a HUGE Walmart... the kind that sells groceries.