This word carries such a negative connotation. We associate it with failure, defeat and slavery. But it is for Freedom that he freed us.
When we submit control of our lives to our Heavenly Father, with it we submit the stress, anxiety and concerns of living. He is a good Daddy, who takes care of His children with a loving heart, wanting only what is best for them. Sometimes what is best for us is hard and painful, but He has vision and perspective of what we can be, that we will never know unless we submit to Him. It is an opportunity for us to exercise the faith that He planted inside us.
Let me approach this differently. I have a friend whose wife has a gift for organization. In their marriage, she manages the finances, pays the bills, makes the budget, etc. He used to be relatively unaware of their financial position. If he wanted to buy something, he called his wife and asked for permission.
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:21-33 NIV)
This occasionally became a problem in their marriage. She stressed and worried about their finances and he was blissfully unaware. In some marriages (not his), the husband will make an extravagant purchase of something that he “needs” without consulting his wife and without realizing the stress that it puts on their finances. At some point, she realized that she carried the burden of their finances and that this burden wasn’t hers to carry. So she made a decision to submit their finances to her husband. She still does the books and she still pays the bills, but every morning she prints their budget and their account balances and slips it into his bible. He no longer calls her to ask permission for purchases, because knows their account balances and he is in charge of their finances. She submitted them to him and trusts him to make good decisions. They still discuss financial matters and their budget, but he is in charge of them. He stepped into the role of leader of their finances and now bears the burden of them. In turn, he is submitted to his Heavenly Father who provides for them. In this area of their marriage, things have returned to the order that God prescribed. She is submitted to her husband, and he is submitted to God. She no longer carries the burden and stress of their finances. By giving them to her husband she is freed. In turn, when he trusts his Heavenly Father as provider, he is free as well. Rather than offloading the responsibility and stress of their finances to his wife, he chose to love his wife and minister to her spirit by stepping into the position of leader of their finances. She can feel the weight that has been lifted off of her shoulders.
When we choose to control our lives, rather than submit control of them to our loving Father, we also inherit the weight and responsibility of our decisions as well as the stress and anxiety that accompanies them. We often “pray” for God to give us direction concerning OUR decisions instead of submitting our lives to Him, listening for His direction, obeying what we hear, and trusting that the outcome is what is best for us.
I find myself sometimes laboring for days over something before finally turning over to Him. When I submit, ask, hear, obey and trust, it’s over. No more stress. The outcome is His responsibility, and as it turns out He’s really good to me! I’m learning to submit sooner rather than later. With submission comes freedom, and with it, peace.