God has been speaking to me about submission for a while.
I have been listening keenly to Him about submission. Even with the listening, it has taken a while for me to shift into a position of submission. Yes, the best posture. Yeiledness is about moving into the correct stance based on an instruction from God.
Why would God take me down the road of submission?
It takes me back to when I realised I struggled to be led. The inability to let someone else guide me was a problem. Why? I cannot see things they can see. There is a place I need to get to by following them. What I know or can achieve will not matter if I disconnect from an appointed person. Choosing to submit is a game changer.
Imagine you need to learn facial surgery under a specialist maxillofacial surgeon. You would take attend every class or surgery and appointment. You would listen keenly. You would take copious notes and ask questions so you learn. You know you can trust their opinion, instruction and leadership. When able, you would debate treatment plans and seek consultations from them until you understand what they know.
So why not submit with joy and the same kind of dedication? If the surgeon would ultimately unlock the right doors for you, why can’t you submit to the one appointed to be your lead? Why not submit to the servant of God established to lead you and provide spiritual covering, protection and preservation?
Submission is not for the weak.
It is a conscious choice to live in and under the authority of another. It is about obedience and commitment. It is about a deep trusting connection. Submission is interesting because many expect it to be simple and directly related to love; it is about choice.
When submission is understood, it is a place of joy, a posture of strength, and a strong foundation. Submission liberates by creating trust and freedom based on honesty and truth. It is fuelled by deep conversations leading to deep connections. Submission is a daily, personal choice.
Submission does not happen in a day or a vacuum. It is a journey of trust and hope; it is choosing to believe, hope and stand firm in faith that this is the person or leader for you and they will never deliberately hurt you. Submission is unto the Lord first, then to those He assigns to us and us to.
God asked, ‘How submitted are you?’
I responded, ‘Not very, but I am willing to learn.’
That is how I started the journey. It has been and continues to be the most incredible journey of my life.
As I thought about moving from unbelief to belief, I realised that my early life had shaped my perspectives when I learned how to interact with people and what to expect. The shift happened as people decided to go on with their lives and keep growing. It became clear that I could not count on most of them because they had things to do that made me unimportant in their scheme of things.
I had always assumed that everyone wanted me to see myself grow and become better until I learned that I had to take care of myself and my growth. I was perplexed because this did not look or feel authentic to how I wanted to be loved and appreciated.
My ability to believe stuttered because of what I had experienced.
It took a while to understand that I am the total of my thoughts. My convictions and beliefs show in my words because they are inner work. In my reflections, I remembered Joseph, Esther and others in scripture who went through hard times but did not leave the faith. I also thought of people who went through hard times in this life and walked away from the faith.
I understood the dangerous notion that if we walk with God our Father, life should be stress-free and struggle-free but is that true? No, it is not. Show me anyone who did great things for and with God without some hard times in their lives. I have looked around but cannot find a single person whose life spoke to the enormity and goodness of God without going through something difficult.
But guess what; God never leaves us alone, especially in trying seasons.
God always steps in for His people and gives us a way out. We see this when he rescued Israel from Egypt using Moses and his crew and sorted Abraham by making it possible to have a child in his old age. God strengthened Mordecai to support Esther so she could go before the king and sent four unshakable Hebrew boys into captivity together so they would stand and keep each other accountable. He sent Ananias to anoint Paul after the Damascus experience and sent Phillip to interpret scripture for the Ethiopian eunuch.
God never promised us a good and simple life. He promised to be with us and manage things as we lean on him. God declared that he would stand with us and walk the journey no matter what happens, how long, how far or who walks with us. He promised to provide a way out in times of trouble like he did when Paul and Silas were in prison when the people prayed.
Faith is the certainty that God is on the throne and in control.
Belief now means a few different things to me:
I will stand on the word of God because it is reliable.
Nothing will change or shift my position or faith in God.
I will align with people who encourage me and hold me to account for the journey.
I will speak the words of life to my heart and over my life.
I will remind myself of His goodness every day.
I will write a memorial of how He has come through for me.
I will align myself with His purposes for my life.
I will surround myself with people with a deeper understanding of divine principles.
I will remember that God is aware the state of affairs and all is well.
I will stand on the plan for my life as designed in heaven.
Shifting to belief has meant that I must re-wire my mind to our new state and position.
Scripture has become my foundation and strength. It encourages me daily to remain truthful and on course despite the situation.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. Matthew 12:34,
Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrew 11:1).
Do not despair in your situation, God has a plan for your ultimate good. Shalom.
Recently in a conversation with God, he asked me, “Do you actually believe?”
What??? How could that be the question? There is a back story here. It was on the back of a question about a promise that seemed late. As a family, we received a clear word from God more than a decade ago, but we are yet to see its fullness. I was in a tizzy because I couldn’t understand why we were so stuck and were not arriving at our destination. So, imagine my surprise at God questioning my belief.
Let me laugh at myself. Of course, God knows all and sees all so the gap in my beliefs is evident to him. The shock was that I had never seen it. I could not imagine that I could have such a gap. When did my faith get this low? What happened to me; how did it happen? What should I be looking at in my life? Like all divine encounters, all one needs is the desire to see, and He will open your eyes.
I saw it! Where? I confessed the promise but always had a niggling doubt in my mind or heart of its fulfilment. I spoke the promise but questioned the process and timeline. I confessed the word, but whenever trouble hits, I look for a way, a plan B an option.
Sadly, I honestly didn’t believe unequivocally.
Belief is much stronger than anything I know. It is beyond decreeing and declaring the word. It goes deeper than stamping my foot in confidence as I talk to others. It is much more than anything I knew about myself and my life. It is about a depth I was unaware of and unwilling to admit until that end.
Belief turned into something so much bigger than me. It showed up as trust, faith, and confidence that started deep within me. It is certainty in God even about things that seem impossible to me. The word that holds my attention is a certainty. Certainty is a firm conviction, meaning that no matter what happens, my mind will not change, and I will not doubt or wonder if things will happen as said.
Belief is an undying commitment to a word so strongly that I will remain steadfast in the face of all things, including adversity, like the three Hebrew boys, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, aka Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Certainty is the only way out of unbelief.
How did I stop believing?
My life path had been treacherous for so long that the depth of my faith shifted. I had allowed the things that weren’t working or seemed delayed to destabilise my position. The shift had been so gradual that I did not see it happening. I did not see my faith waning, my heart moving or my mind changing. I didn’t perceive the pain was slowly chipping at the pillars of my faith until it was almost all gone.
On the surface, I said I believed, and it appeared so, however on the inside, there were lots of doubts. I denied the questions and fear. I rejected the notion that I possibly had no foundation or base anymore. I couldn’t admit that I had moved out of my place of rest into a situation of works and machinations in the name of remaining true to the path to bring the will of God to pass. My words and inner actions were totally out of sync.
The solution is that I return to the place of rest.
It became clear that unless I return to rest and trust God truly, nothing will work. Nothing is possible without a complete recalibration. I can now see why the questions I asked my mentors didn’t make sense to them or seemed shallow. I now understand how some comments I made got me strange looks from others. I acknowledge the sag in my shoulders is because I lost confidence in my walk but camouflaged it well.
The beauty is that God doesn’t leave us in unbelief.
When we ask, He sends us help. I attest that assistance has shown up for me. I realised that He is a Father who never lets His children die. He is gracious enough to reach out or send us people to support. He will never leave a child who is calling Him stranded. He responds to a responsive and committed child.
The journey back to a strong belief is still going on and has taken several things:
Acknowledging what I had seen in myself.
Repenting for getting distracted by the troubles of this world.
Creating a new pathway with Papa.
Speaking the new path out loud so my whole being can hear.
Repeating the new pathway to myself when I feel my faith is waning.
This week I had a conversation with some teenagers that upset me.
One of them shared how in their school, the girls must pull their socks up and under their skirts all day so that no part of their legs is visible. Apparently, the sight of their legs can cause their male teachers to be distracted. Really?
Why was I so upset?
If you cannot see it, let me explain. Why are we making fourteen-year-olds responsible for the behaviour of adult men? Why is it their responsibility, yet it is the men who should know by now how to control their urges? This story upset me because I heard the same thing as a teenager. At the same time, the boys around weren’t taught anything about managing their appetites until they were older.
Why do we make men’s behaviour the responsibility of women?
I understand that men are visual but are we saying they cannot control their appetites? To say that they cannot control the attraction and subsequent action is to say they are wild animals; that is not true. My experience has been that as we tell girls to be decent and control themselves, we are not telling the boys anything.
It is sad to hear boys put girls down or misunderstand their actions. As a result of this misinformation, when a girl says no, many assume she means yes. When she is assaulted and raped, it is her fault. If she wears a short skirt or form-fitting dress, she asks for something sexual. When attacked, the first question is about what she wore that day. Why?
This narrative must change!
We must teach our sons to be responsible for their thoughts and resultant actions. Man is created as the priest, protector, provider and leader so that the women are under his care. How can he demand that the one he should protect is responsible for his protection? How does he turn around, assault her and make it her fault? How can he say that she is the reason he did something so nasty to her?
Let us teach our sons their role; to stand up for their sisters and not gaslight them into shame and fear. Let us train the men to stand up and defend the women and girls before they are preyed on by others. It is time to make the men responsible for their actions and those of their brothers. They must hold one another to account for their appetites and the outcome of their actions.
Today I am just sad because, on this matter, very little has changed.
A while back, I showed up to see a friend with a sad face. A long conversation ensued about where I was on the journey. We spoke until I could see what he meant by sadness should never take root and I should never get used to it. Funny how I hadn’t seen it before.
How could I, a child of God, have so many sad days? How can the weight of sadness be so settled and not lifted? Did I miss something in my journey? Did all the people feeling down miss something too? How could such sadness take hold of the people and never seem to let go? Some days we smile to cover it, while on other days walk away and hide. How could such pain coexist with faith?
A lot of the sadness we carry is often from relationships.
Life can be challenging because of how we interact with people and then how we expect them to deal with us. We hold onto those feelings and even project them onto others unrelated to that pain. It is possible to be so used to sadness that it becomes our cloak and identity. Other times, sadness is a tool in the hands of God to teach us to press into him and earn of him. It could be the place to create compassion for others.
As I write, I see how I choose the cloak I live in; I am astounded. Everything works together in God for my good and His will. I must understand the importance of how I feel and turn it to Him. God is in control because nothing is impossible with Him. Everything happens according to his purposes and plans.
It then struck me that JOY is critical to life, but a choice.
It is not the absence of sadness or a feeling but rather the reality of God as the driver of everything. Joy is understanding His purpose with this season and then walking with confidence. Joy is grounded in God and only understood through Him. Therefore, I must choose to connect to the Father and remain hidden under his wings. No matter how hard the things around me have been, I make a definite choice. I choose to listen; I choose to follow; I choose to become.
I find strength in several scriptures that I will share here today:
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings, you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. Ps 91:4
The joy of the Lord is my strength, Nehemiah 8:10
For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. 2 Cor 1:20
The name of the Lord is a fortified tower the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov 18:10
…as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises… 2 Peter 1:3-4
…Weeping may endure for a night, but [a]joy comes in the morning. Psalms 30:5b
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Prov 17:22
My journey in God is founded on and grounded in the realities of His word and His work. The promises of God will never fail.