I am my own authority

Erin Davis 07/29/08 | Twitter: @ErinGraffiti
Category: Relationships ; 34 comments

This week I want to dig into a lie that honestly, tends to be rather unpopular among young women (and young men). To be honest, it is an area where I continue to struggle. It is also an area where believing lies can be particularly disastrous.

Are you ready for it? I think we should talk about authority.

Still with me? Good. I was worried that you might decide to skip this particular post and move on to something “more interesting” or less challenging. I realize that submission to authority can be tough. This can be especially true when our authorities are untrustworthy or when we don’t agree with their decisions. But the Bible has a lot to say about submission. That’s why Nancy and Dannah tackled the subject in Lies Young Women Believe and why we’re going to tackle it here on the blog.

God’s Word is clear. We are to submit to our authorities out of reverence for Christ (see Ephesians 5:21, Colossians 3:18-24, Hebrews 13:17, Romans 13:1-2, and 1 Peter 2:13-17). But the truth is, this is an area where many of us fall short.

In fact, in a recent interview posted on the Lies Young Women Believe Facebook page, Dannah pointed to this issue as one of the top three most critical areas of deception among your generation. Check it out.

Q: What top three lies do young women believe today? Are they different than the lies older women believe?

A: I would say that their greatest strongholds lie in the areas of guy/girl relationships, image, and authority and submission. The funny thing is that these lies are very similar to what older women believe. What we allow to grow in our lives can be difficult to overcome.

Q: What do you wish you’d known or done differently as a young woman? Which principle in this book has made the biggest difference in your own life?

A: The lies about submission and authority as well as the role of women really wreaked havoc in my marriage. I never imagined that what seemed like normal teenage rebellion and acceptable feminine independence would break my husband’s spirit in the first few years of marriage. It took me years to learn how to honor and respect him. In fact, I’m still learning. I didn’t know that submission provided safety for me, and that it’s a beautiful thing to be a wife who loves and supports her man.

In this interview, Dannah connected the topic of submission to our relationships with our husband (or future husbands). It may seem easy to imagine submitting to your husband some day. But what about now? Does the way that you relate to your parents, your teachers, your pastor communicate that you understand God’s Truth about authority and submission or have you been deceived into believing that rebellion, even in little things, is no big deal or that ultimately, you are your own authority?

I recently asked a young woman from the youth group at my church to take a look at the list of 25 lies addressed in Lies Young Women Believe and in this blog. Then I asked her “what do you think is the lie from that list that most of your friends are believing?” She didn’t hesitate. She said, “the one about authority.”

When I told her I would be blogging about this lie, I asked her for her thoughts. This is what she said.

“ It seems that today, we get the mindset that we DESERVE to be in charge for our own lives, and to an extent I guess we do. But, when we start to go against God, it’s a problem. An easy way to remember this is to think of a car. We need to full-heartedly and willingly let God get in the driver’s seat and take us where He wants to take us and for me that’s the hardest part. I like to know where I’m going, but sometimes it just doesn’t work like that.  We have to give God the keys to the car and say ‘take me where you want me’ and then we go sit in the backseat and know that as long as God’s driving, we won’t ever get lost or crash.”

She’s right. There is this sense that we deserve to do what we want when we want even when that doesn’t align with our authorities. But she also jumped to the reason why this issue is so important. Ultimately, the way we relate to our human authorities often reveals the truth about how we relate to God.

“ On the surface, submitting to your parents and other authorities is about your relationship with them, but in the unseen realm it is about a bigger batter for control—will you submit your will to God or are you going to insist on being your own authority? When you are willing to obey Him, you’ll find that it is not nearly so difficult to submit to your mom, your dad, or your teacher.

What it comes down to is this: our willingness to submit to human authorities is the greatest evidence of how big we believe God really is. Do you believe He is bigger and greater than any human authority? Do you trust that He is big enough to change the hearts of those He has placed in authority over you? (Lies Young Women Believe, 114).

Gulp! Believe me, this is not an easy pill for me to swallow either. But the Truth is that there is a connection between our relationships with our earthly authorities and our relationship with God.

So, how do you relate to the people whom God has placed in authority over you? What do your thoughts about authority reveal about your willingness to submit to God?  I’ve listed some questions below to get you thinking. And as always, I look forward to reading your responses right here on the blog.

1. Who are your authorities?

2. Which authorities do you struggle most to submit to?

3. In what areas of your life do you find it most difficult to submit to God’s authority?


HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate.

    on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 5:52 pm
    authority always seems hard to submit too i think. everyone wants 2 be there own leader usually.
    i think most ppl struggle 2 submit to their parents when they tell us 'no'. its hard 2 think at the moment theyre trying to protect us .
    sometimes its hard 2 hear God, let alone submit 2 his authority. i think 2 submit to his authority is diffucult when hes tellin u 2 do something tht u r afraid 2 do (mission trips, be a leader, ect..) but u just have 2 trust him w. it, and do wat he has planned 4 u . . .
    submission vs. Letting go
    on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 8:22 pm
    I have a question for y'all. Is submission the same trying as letting go? That is, when dealing with God, when we submit to Him does that constitute surrender or giving up your plans? I'm not sure if you can use these words like interchangeably. Meaning, do these words mean almost the same thing, not at all the same, or the same? Well, this seems to be kinda confusing as I write it but lemme know if you guys have any thoughts.
    on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 2:06 pm
    Submission and letting go aren't really synonyms, but in some cases they could be used interchangeably without changing the meaning. I'll give you an example. If my parents tell me to go out and do my chores and I obey willingly, that is submission. If a friend invites me to come over and do something with her, but my parents tell me that I have to stay home and do chores, if I obey then that will be both submission and letting go. You have to submit in order to let go of something, but in many cases submission doesn't require letting go of anything special. Submitting to God should definitely be surrender and the willingness to give up plans if God requires it, but it doesn't mean that God is going to make you give up things just because you have submitted to Him. Does this help?
    on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 7:03 pm
    I have to agree with Gigi. It is really hard to summit to our parents especially when are teenagers. We want our independce and sometimes the parents won't let you have that independce. Like my parents are like that right now but I am starting to understand that they are saying "no" to certian things because they care. But it is really hard to summit to them.
    to erica
    on Thursday, July 31, 2008 at 12:55 am
    so let me see if I got this right. Letting go requires submission but submission does not require letting go?
    on Thursday, July 31, 2008 at 4:22 pm
    I agree with what is being said. To me submission is easy to do if you love the person you are submitting to. I don't know if that makes sense, my love for God and my parents makes it easier. I guess it just boils down to trust.
    to Ashley
    on Friday, August 1, 2008 at 5:54 pm
    Almost! Submission may require letting go sometimes, but it doesn't always. :)
    on Sunday, August 3, 2008 at 9:48 pm
    wow! that is very challenging!!! i struggle with honoring my parents. especially my mom. the reason being that a year ago she left my dad for another man. i was as though she had dropped a bomb on my hole world! every thing was crushed and broken. It hart.
    but because of the fact that i had a hard time forgiving her, I also have a hard time honoring her as well.
    it's very hard...
    on Monday, August 4, 2008 at 3:51 pm
    My authorites are my parents, my teachers, and God. Sometimes, in fact most of the time it's really hard for me to listen to my parents. I understand that they just want to protect you, but it's still really hard for me to obey them sometimes. Part of that reason probably is because I have a few friends who are a year older than me, so they can do some of the stuff that I can't. I probably find it most hard to submit to God's authorites when it comes to friends. Because I want to follow what the Bible says. But it's hard to do that when you have friends who aren't Christians and their all wondering why you can't do this certain thing. If you know what I mean.
    God-given Authority
    on Tuesday, August 5, 2008 at 6:39 pm
    The authorities in my life include my parents (when at home), adults in general [at church and school], God, and also myself in a way. I believe that God has given me authority over my flesh. Ironically, I am the authority I find the most difficult to submit to when the time comes to choose to act on or refuse temptation. But I also tend to butt heads a lot with my dad's authority...In addition, those are the areas that I also find hard to submit to God because even though I know it is the right thing and it would make my daily life smoother...it's just hard! It takes the most self-discipline and -motivation I ever remember having to use in my life!
    on Saturday, August 9, 2008 at 1:55 pm
    for me it's really hard to submit to my mom and dad becuase i dont think they really care most of the time.....especially since i have 5 bros and a sis that they have to care about along with me, and i just happen to be in the middle so i get stuck with the least amount of attention
    on Sunday, August 10, 2008 at 10:59 pm
    Yeah... i need some advice! Recently I got a cell phone! Ya-hoo right! Thats what i thought to until my parents made one rule to go along with the phone. The rule is I'm not allowed to give it to any guys. None. whatsoever. My parents already know that I have decided to wait to date until I'm old enough to get married and I'm only interested in giving my number to my guy FRIENDS when they ask. Some of my friends have asked and I've embarrassingly have had to explain to them why i can;t which leads them to be embarrassed and me.:( I trust and love my parents and have tried to respectfully explain why i think its fine to give them my number! They keep on saying no that i just need to trust them. Will you please please please help me think of something pleasant i can say to guys when they ask me for my number? Something that won;t make them or me be embarrassed? I need some advice here.! I'm the only girl i know that has this rule.:(
    on Monday, August 11, 2008 at 7:18 pm
    wow...i think that rule would be really hard for me cause i have so many guy friends. (i get along well with guys since i have 5 bros) so.....idk, maybe you should sit down with your parents and explain to them why you think this rule is unfair
    to Becca
    on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 5:52 pm
    I think it's really nice that you decided to wait until you're old enough to get married before you date. We're not keen on dating in my family, and I agreed with my parents that my very first kiss will be on my wedding day. I understand your parents rule perfectly, too. My sisters and I were never allowed to write letters to any boys when we were younger, and now that we're older it seems perfectly natural to avoid correspondence with guys. I'm really not sure precisely what I would say to a guy if I were in your place, and since I'm homeschooled with only one brother (almost 3 years old), I don't see a bunch of guys on a regular basis so it seems natural to me to not get familiar with or interact with guys much. Perhaps you could tell them that your parents want you to confine the people you share your number with to your girl friends, so you really can't. I don't think that would sound very embarrasing to someone excluded from your group of girls. Hope maybe this helps, or gives you ideas. :)
    on Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 4:29 pm
    thanks Erica and Jen! I really appreciate your guys advice. I am also home schooled with 5 bro's and one sis. So i get along with guys just as friends too like you said Jen. What do you think i should say to my parents when i sit them down to talk to them Jen cause nothing i have said so far has worked?
    Thanks again guys:)
    andie <3
    on Friday, August 15, 2008 at 7:40 pm
    some times I have problems submitting to my dad. i dont really like it when he helps me with my homeework cause we usually end up fighting. any advice?
    andie <3
    to becca
    on Friday, August 15, 2008 at 7:46 pm
    I think it's wise on your pareents part to not let u give your cell away to boys.but i dont think I could handle being like 23 before i started dating. lol but thats just me.
    daughter of THE KING
    on Monday, September 8, 2008 at 11:24 am
    i go through the exact same thing with my dad and i really do not have it all figured out i geusse we should ask for help from JESUS
    andie <3
    daughter of THE KING
    on Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 11:06 am
    Ya. I aggree. i havent been asking him for help on my HW beacause my classes are easier now.
    on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 8:46 pm
    Sometimes I have trouble submitting to my dad too. When that happens, I just remember that I should obey him even if he isn't perfect. Ephesians 6:1 doesn't say "Parents obey their children for this is right"
    andie <3
    on Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 6:05 pm
    chelsea and daughter of THE king:
    Thank you so much for the advice!
    God's Princess
    on Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 9:57 am
    Ephesians 6:1
    Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

    James 4:7
    Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

    1 Peter 2:13-14
    Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

    Hebrews 12:9
    Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!

    Colossians 3:18-19
    Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

    Hebrews 13:17
    Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
    on Monday, February 16, 2009 at 5:39 pm
    I think I probably struggle the most with my parents, although I don't outwardly rebel against them. We have had this disagreement over commitments to different activities. I am involved in drama, choir, band, Farmer's Market, and the youth worship team at my church, and my mom and dad don't want me to sing on the worship team as much as I would like to. Then, I said that this is what I really wanted to do, but they haven't really answered me on what is going to happen. I think it's especially hard to submit to your authorities when you don't agree with them, but you think that your decision is the right one and they are wrong. I know that we are commanded to obey our authorities even if they are wrong, but I still find it very hard and I am in the midst of this hard decision. I'm not sure what to do. Does anyone have any advice? I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.
    Re: Becca
    on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at 7:36 am
    Do not worry! First of all, know you are NOT ALONE. My parents have some bizarre rules that I cannot figure out and I just have to submit and go with it. Like, for example, I'm not allowed to wear any kind of tank top, no matter how modest. Also, I had to wait till I was 14 1/2 to get a cell phone, and I'm not allowed to call guys either. My parents ALMOST did not let me be friends with guys on Facebook. Soooo close. So, in the words of High School Musical, "We're all in this together." =) The only thing that helps me submit is knowing that ultimately I'm submitting to God. But it's still REALLY hard.
    As far as what you should say to them, hmmm. How about, "Well, my parents don't feel comfortable with me calling guys, so I can't give you my number, sorry." That's the only thing I can think of. Just be genuine, and explain it to them. =)
    on Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 8:03 am
    I feel like whatever my parents ask me to do I don't listen.It seems li,ke I just don't care!That's the problem.I don't.I stink at listening!Someone help!
    Erin Davis
    on Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 10:32 am
    What do you mean you don't listen? You don't physically hear them or you ignore them? There is a big difference between these two problems.

    on Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 11:43 am
    Ya, I understand what you mean. It sometimes can be really hard to obey your parents. But remeber our last Bible study together? We went through this chapter. And remeber what we talked about? How God gave our parents to us as a blessing and not a burrden? I know it can be hard, but we just have to put them ahead of ourselves and submit and honor them. Hope this helps you!
    to edavis
    on Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 12:40 pm
    I ignore them.I hope that they'll leave me alone so I can relax.
    Erin Davis
    on Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 2:58 pm
    Hmmm...that sounds like pretty intentional rebellion to me and I would strongly encourage you to work on changing your behavior in this area. As I am sure you know we are commanded to obey our parents (Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:1, Colossians 3:20) In fact, God is so serious about this particular commandment that he included it in the 10 commandments. It isn't optional, if you are seeking to be a godly young woman you need to honor and obey your parents.

    But I am wondering if you could ask them for a little time to relax without the demands of household chores. Could you say something like "I know I have had a bad attitude lately and have ignored you when you ask me to do things around the house. I am sorry. I would really like to have some down time between schoolwork and household chores. Could I please have one hour after school to relax if after that hour I promise to give you my undivided attention and do whatever it is you need me to do?"

    I'll bet they would be impressed by your maturity and thrilled to have an action plan to get you to stop ignoring them?

    Whatda think?

    to erin and rgjo777
    on Monday, March 23, 2009 at 4:00 pm
    I had a hard time with this problem for the longest time! I don't have the best realationship with my parents now, but it's getting better.
    i think.....
    on Friday, March 27, 2009 at 12:33 pm
    My authorites are my teachers, my parents, my relatives, and my friends parents, and the elders at church. i have the most difficutely obeying my parents and the elders at church. i have a hard time obeying my parents because they are really ridculous, like for example my friend brought one of her friends to church and just b/c the friend was a boy i couldn't be around my friends....whatever. and i have a hard time listening and obeying to the elders at church b/c they act like we don't know how to be resoponsible, which we do but sometimes we just get to riled up and have to much fun for being at church, me and my friends do. and we start running and then the elders yell at us....i get so sick of it.
    on Friday, March 27, 2009 at 12:38 pm
    ur not the only one, i don't HAVE a cellphone anymore because i gave my phone number to one of my guy friends. i just assumed that it would be ok since my older sister got to call boys and boys got to call her. apparently she wuz more, "responsible" when she wuz my age. not from what i remember, i remember her lying to my parents and stealing their cellphones.
    to erin
    on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 4:01 pm
    Thanks for your advice,I'll try it!

    to Becca and others... :)
    on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 11:18 pm
    Don't worry Becca! My parents have a rule similar to yours! :) Guys are aloud to have my number... only incase of an emergency though... becasue I'm not aloud to text or call guys! But... be glad that you have a Facebook! My parents said that I'm not aloud to have a Facebook or MySpace (which I only wanna FB) until I go off to college!! AND.... thats not even the worst rule! Ok, so I go to an AMAZING Christian private school. (Sherwood Christian... from the movie Facing the Giants... and the makers of fireproof!:)) But yeah the sad thing is, is that we have to wear uniforms! Well, whenever I have a bad grade, or I leave for school one morning and my room isn't completely clean... I go on whats called "Uniform Restriction" which means that EVERYWHERE that i go in public... I have to wear my uniform! EVERYWHERE!!!!!! :) :) Don't believe me... I have had to wear those stupid uniforms to church one day!! So ya, even on weekends too!! But... I didn't just say al of that just to out do you... I said all of that because I know that my parents love me and they know and want whats best for me and my life one day! So, I'm sure that your parents have that rule because they love you so much!! Wouldn't you rather have a parent that cares over one that could care less about what you do with your life?????

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