I have always been annoyed by women who do not think for themselves. Growing up in a male-dominated society, a yes-woman seemed to me a weakling. I don’t mean that the man ought not to be the decision-maker in the home, but that a woman should be able to contribute to the process in a viable way.

One incident stands out in my memory. We were at a social function with some church members and it was getting late. As usual, the men and women were conversationally segregated and the kids, well, we were meant to be seen and not heard. It was getting late so my Dad walks over and tells my Mom it’s time to leave. She ends abruptly her conversation, mechanically gathers us kids and hurriedly leaves. As she prepares us to go I distinctly remember my Dad’s buddy saying, berating his own wife, something to the effect of, “now that’s what a submissive wife is like!”

What I saw and heard that evening etched deep into my consciousness a discordant disparity. I didn’t like the idea that to be submissive meant you couldn’t have an opinion. I never questioned that my Dad’s word was law to me, but somehow it didn’t make sense that his word should be law, in the same way, to my Mom.

This incident stood out probably because it seemed so uncharacteristic of my Mom. There may have been something else going on that would have explained what I had witnessed but as I saw this pattern of behavior in other women my innards revolted. A general sense of the injustice of a woman surrendering her mind to her husband bothered me from childhood. Why would an intelligent, thinking woman sacrifice her mind on the altar of marriage? What is more, why would a Christian woman do this? People could force your behavior but you alone have jurisdiction over your thoughts. And surely there had to be some level of freedom of expression in marriage?

So I went through my quasi-feminist phase. I say “quasi” because whether or not I would qualify as feminist depends on what definitions you choose to use. I also went through my anti-marriage phase. But rejecting marriage is just avoiding the problem. A woman who has trouble keeping her head on when she’s in a position of submission, will have that problem whether she’s married or not! The problem’s still there – it’ll just manifest itself in different ways. And going feminatzi just isn’t biblical.

The solution I’ve determined is to find balance. Balance is the keyword. Not the margarine. Not the magazine. But finding a balance between assertiveness and surrender. It’s a give-and-take. A woman who’s all give for assertiveness is disrespectful. A woman who’s all take in surrender is spineless and really quite annoying.

That’s how it is in our relationship with Christ. As His bride, the church, we must find this balance. We work as though it all depended on us and pray as though it all depended upon God. We don’t stop thinking when we become Christians. God gave us minds to think with because He actually wants us to think for ourselves. Go figure. Yet we make every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. That way we’ll be neither disrespectful nor annoying to God.