What makes it hard to yield to others? While I’m working on another project I’m bringing back what I wrote on my struggle to submit to Larry when he asked me to stay home from something I’d helped to plan.
Larry’s request wasn’t arbitrary. He was trying to protect me. I’d been sick the week before and by evening I felt like a vampire had sucked the life out of me. Despite his good intentions, I wrestled before yielding.
I had recently listened to John Milton describe Eve’s naïveté in Paradise Lost. Milton presents Eve as a captivating beauty who needed safeguarding. He depicts Adam warning Eve as she sets out to explore. Eve thinks Adam is unnecessarily cautious and dismisses his warnings. Milton’s Eve seemed more like a young child than an adult woman—a bit insulting to modern day women—but then she fell for the serpent’s lies.
I thought about Larry’s request. “Please stay home. You’re going out of town next week. I saw two people today who got sick with something worse soon after their original illness.” Perhaps he could see something I couldn’t. I consented.
The Bible says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ,” (Ephes. 5:21 NIV). So why do we resist submitting to each other? When Larry first asked me, I had two opposite reactions. One side of me felt insulted. The other side felt protected.
I resisted because—
My flesh said:
- I’ll look weak
- I’ll disappoint others
- I’m not a child
- I can make my own decisions.
But my spirit said:
- Larry isn’t trying to control you.
- Let him protect you.
- His thoughts are wise.
A young friend was living overseas when his premature baby was born. Far away from family he assured everyone they were fine and it would be better for everyone to come after the baby left the hospital. His mother-in-law said, “You are far from fine. I’m coming!”
Afterwards he admitted, “We hadn’t realized how much we were struggling until she eased the load. We’re so glad she came.”
Some questions to consider:
- Is this person in a position of authority?
- Are their intentions in line with God’s interests? (Are they seeking the higher good and not trying to manipulate or control for their own purposes?)
- Could they see and know things I’m missing?
Proper yielding demonstrates wisdom (James 3:17). Sometimes others can read our needs better than we can. Like a yield sign, their input warns and protects. Other times they may need our counsel—hence the need to “submit to one another.”
Question: What helps you yield to others?
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Debbie W. Wilson
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