for a long time before i met t, i hoped to be found by a man strong enough to take me on. born out of a belief that i was “too much,” a fear of unacceptably being too dominant in my relationship (that would be unbiblical, wouldn’t it?), combined with the conviction that it would require a very certain sort of man to sufficiently subdue me, i was, in effect, waiting for a prince charming. and prince charmings are saviours. in this case, as an Independent Woman, it wasn’t financial woes, social insecurity, or the clutches of some clinging parentals i needed rescue from; i needed to be rescued from my own intensity.
i can see now that there were two very faulty premises to my stance. first, i mistakenly believed that the desired change in me could be wrought only by an external force known as The Right Sort of Man. secondly, i had a fear of my strength that led me to see it as unacceptable, at least unfit for the scenario of happy marriage.
i believe that i am in need of softening: of making less of myself, of learning to receive help and strength from others, of becoming a teachable teammate rather than a bull-dozing individualist. it is not untrue that sinful attitudes of pride and self-sufficiency are overdue to be sanctified right out of me. what was untrue, however, was that i must wait for a man whose tough ability to hold his own again Fiercely Independent Woman came along before i could adopt a new way of being in intimate relationships. in fact, that’s its own sort of sin– a refusal to take ownership of and responsibility for the places where i needed to grow. slowly, jesus started to teach me repentance in these places so that by the time t came around, i was ready for him. and now, with t, whose humility and gentleness combined with his slow and deliberating decision-making style could make him an easy target for my strong-willed decisiveness and independent action, i’m learning that submission must start with me. it must be my choise to lay down my ways and my preferences in order to wait on him, to trust him, to allow him opportunity to lead us and care for me. that’s my work, not his.
simultaneously, i’m learning in my marriage to t not to fear my strength so much, as a handicap to be eliminated, but to celebrate and enhance it… in the service of My Love. it isn’t now, nor has it ever been, my intelligence, competence or vocalized opinions that are the problems. those have become problems only when they are put to service of only myself, or have trampled the intelligence, opinions, or competence of others. but when these are offered up, humbly, for the life work we’ve put our hands to or the family we are building, they are treasures. t values these qualities in me, honors them, invites them, and never makes me to feel as though i am Too Much.
this morning the Lord laid Philippians 2:1-7 on my mind as i was praying about some recent distortions in of those God-given qualities and their bearings on my marriage. the passage is the one about jesus making Himself nothing and becoming a servant even though He was in essence God. He carried His strength to lowly positions. and that is what our attitude is to be like, too. notice: “he. made. himself. nothing.” no one (no Big-Enough-to-Handle-Him entity) did it to Him. He did it freely.
so, to my strong and independent women friends (of which i have many): learn now, if you are still single, the art of jesus and you’ll be able later to beautifully yield to a good man (maybe even one who doesn’t at first glance seem tough enough to handle you). you don’t need to be handled, afterall; you need to handle yourself (with God’s help). nor do you need to shrink, to disown your qualities of strength. you need only to offer the best of yourself to the ones given you to love.
it is the life of Christ lived through us that does this thing. delicately. and mightily.