Resist Submit


Sea birds that were calmly feeding on a sandbank flying off as they submit to the incoming tide. Taken by Diane Woodrow
Seabirds submitting to the incoming tide. Taken March 2022

Submission is something that is often preached on, especially within the “Wives submit to your husbands” [Eph 5:22] generally meaning “wives do what your husbands tell you.

I read this quote by Shams of Tabriz when I was reading “Forty Rules of Love” by Elif Shafak a while back and it got me thinking

Submission does not mean being weak or passive. It leads to neither fatalism nor capitulation. Just the opposite. True power resides in submission a power that comes within. Those who submit to the divine essence of life will live in unperturbed tranquillity and peace even the whole wide world goes through turbulence after turbulence.

Rule 34

This got me thinking. Submission is not about obeying and doing what you are told but able accepting the situation, of staying tranquil when all around you is falling apart. It is finding something deep within and living calmly.

Then this verse from James popped into my head. My son learned it by heart when he was about five and would shout “flee” at the top of his voice at the end.

Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee

James 4:7

James is actually talking about how people should stop arguing with each other, stop being proud, stop needing to be right. For him the “devil” was the thing in side which makes as do things that upset others and upset ourselves. So if we submitted to God, that calm space within us, and also if we believed we were loved unconditionally we would not need to be angry, not need to fight, not need to fear, not need to be prideful, have nothing to be anxious about. We could go to that place that Shams talks about the divine essence, the tranquility within.

So how do we do that? I am going to sound like a worn out record but I do think it comes from slowing down, from not rushing into doing or saying things, acting not reacting, which I think comes from not thinking we need to be busy busy busy all the time.

We accept. We breath. We allow peace to come from within. And once we let that out then we can submit in all situations because we are allowing something bigger than us to take control. Submission is like trust. We can submit if we trust that something bigger will support and take care of us. Only then can we “resist the devil”; the sum of all our fears and anxieties.


By dianewoodrow

I married Ian in 2007. I have two grown up children, who I home schooled until they were 16. My son has just joined the army, my daughter has just moved to Cardiff.
I have a degree in History and Creative writing and a PGDip in using Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes.
Until Feb 2016 I lived in a beautiful part of England and now I live in a beautiful part of North Wales where my time is filled with welcoming Airbnb rental guests, running writing workshops, writing, serving in my local Welsh Anglican Church, going for long walks with my little dog, Renly, and drinking coffee and chatting with friends

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