When we first got married, we were both in college and we divided a lot of the household chores. We decided that I would cook and that Russ would clean up after dinner. I'm not the best housekeeper in the world and washing dishes is pretty low on my list. It was our system for over nine years. At times it was a bit of a challenge for me, since Russ wouldn't always do them in a timely manner, but he would eventually get the job done and I rarely had to touch a dish. When I did, I had a hard time not feeling a little resentful, though my problem was less with Russ than the task itself.
A couple of weeks ago we decided that in this season of our family life, the time had come for me to start doing the dishes. I wasn't thrilled about it and only suggested it because I knew it was the right thing to do for our family. And so for the past two weeks, I have faithfully done the dishes, leaving a clean sink at night and even treating our cleaning lady to a clean sink a time or two!
Yesterday as I stood washing the dishes for the umpteenth time that day (we had a potluck at church today so I spent yesterday cooking) I realized something. I didn't feel at all resentful. The once-hated task has become part of my routine and I do it without thinking about it.
So what's changed? For me, the "why" has changed. Now when I do the dishes, I'm doing them as part of my conscious choice to do what is necessary for my family. It's not a burden someone else put on me; it was my choice to take it on.
Hmmm...it seems to me that there's a word for what I did. It's a word that's often maligned and misinterpreted but I'm going to go ahead and use it anyway: submission. Are you still with me or are you cowering in fear of the s-word? When we choose to submit, it is an act of love and comes from a desire to do what is best. No resentment necessary!
Obviously, when the topic of submission comes up, most of our minds run to the subject of women in the church. But, as I was reminded yesterday as I scrubbed pots, we are given the opportunity to submit and transform our attitudes all day long. It's yet another way to follow the example of our Master.