Not Having It Your Way

Can you imagine how successful a fast-food chain would be if they marketed these words as their slogan?  Almost appears “Un-American” doesn’t it?

Scripture refers to this phrase in a single word, “submission.”  Submission is also known as an outward spiritual discipline, or an act or habit that draws us closer in relationship to God, and specifically, in this case, others.

20133463-usa-yield-signWhy is it so difficult to yield or submit to others, when the outcome can be very beneficial (life-changing in some cases)?

Our oldest son recently announced that he and his fiancée were going to move their wedding date up by eight months before graduating college, with plans to transfer credits to another university.  That’s not what we had talked about.  It isn’t the commitment that he made to us to obtain his degree before marriage.  Internally I came unglued.

Why do we so easily bury our heels into the ground in a way that can polarize relationships?

The next day, Nan kept telling me I needed to get over it, and that it wasn’t our choice.  We needed to respect and support his decision even though the timing may not appear to us to be the best choice.  I couldn’t accept it.  Then a small miracle happened.  Through the back and forth discussion with Nan and a close friend, I gained clarity.  I literally felt my heart change in a moment’s notice.

What happened?  It became clear to me that the issue was tied to long-held values and commitments. The primary value was the fact that I wanted him to finish college without the risk of anything getting in the way.  I wanted that for him and his own family’s security and success.  Secondly, he had made a commitment when he became engaged that he wouldn’t speed up the timetable on marriage until he had graduated.

Values and commitments are generally a good thing.  They are good until we place them before and above relationships.  Values and commitments are something that if held long enough can literally be felt as if they are woven into our very own being.  How many times had I shared with him that his mom and I didn’t get married until four days after my graduation.  How many doors had I witnessed being opened due to education over the years?

Keep in mind, the value can be anything that is held and cherished long enough.  How many wars have been fought over religion, or politics?  How many churches have split over theology?

In my mind, college and preparation before marriage had become part of my being until the small miracle and clarity occurred.  Through that discussion, I was reminded that I had no intentions of going to college when I was in high school. Further, I had talked my girlfriend out of going to college so that we could get married right after graduating high school.  Her parents had always envisioned her going to college, and I thought that was unnecessary.  How the tables had turned over these past thirty-five years!  The passing years seemed as if they were my whole life, but upon reflection at that moment I saw how temporal my values were.  They weren’t part of my natural DNA.  They simply became engrained over time.

As I reflected, the thought occurred that if I could have held those same prior values (although my son clarified that he never once considered dropping out of college), what was the big deal?  Should I really let something temporary get in the way of my relationship with my son?  How many times had I told him “there is nothing you could ever do that would keep me from loving you forever?”  Isn’t that the kind of relationship I have with my heavenly Father?  How could I go back on that value?  One that is eternal, not temporal.

Submission is a spiritual discipline, because humanly speaking we can’t do it and the Holy Spirit reminds us that not having it our way is usually the best when it comes to healing relationships and changing our hearts.

~by Craig Kuhlman

photo courtesy of 123RF Royalty free stock photos

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: