It’s a word with the power to send tremors down the spine of even the bravest of souls. Submission.
We like the idea of being in control, of determining our own destinies, of calling the shots ourselves. So the idea of intentionally laying down our rights and moving into the passenger seat can seem terror-inducing, whether the submittee (um, not a real word?) is an authority figure, a boss, a spouse, or God himself.
As I anticipated turning in my book to my publisher, it didn’t occur to me how appropriate it is that the relevant term is submitting. But late in the evening on the day my manuscript was due, as my mouse hovered over the “send” button and my sweet husband encouraged me to release my 60,000 words into cyberspace, I suddenly felt the submission monster breathing down my neck.
Once I let the manuscript go, it would mean it was no longer in my hands. I would be exposed and vulnerable—after all, real people would be reading my words! (I do realize this is the general point of writing a book.) On top of that, other people would now be making decisions about this manuscript—creating a cover, editing the content, positioning it, selling it.
But then a merciful thought snuck into my swirling mind: these aren’t just random people I’m entrusting my book to. They’re amazing, talented people who are passionate about what they do. And besides all that, they care about me and my book.
In short, I need them. And I trust them.
Suddenly the prospect of submitting to them was no longer so scary.
It occurs to me that submission is only terrifying when you’re submitting to someone you don’t trust. And that feels to me like a good picture of submission in all of life.
It’s not so scary to submit to a boss when you know that person is pulling for you, wanting the best for you. It’s not so scary to submit to a spouse when you know he loves you and respects you and is committed to being on your forever-team.
It’s not so scary to submit to God when you know he is trustworthy and faithful and good and right and true. Which he is—on all counts.
Is there something you know you need to hand over right now? If so, don’t wait a minute longer to submit. There is freedom in loosening your fingers and entrusting that thing to the God who can handle it—the God who loves you.
What we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else.
(Note: You can read part 1 of my musings about turning in a manuscript here.)