As I continue to delve deeper into my journey as a slave, I have come to the point where I am giving another round of contemplation to matters I once saw as pretty straightforward – one being the matter of the connection between submission and obedience in regards to hierarchical relationships. There seems to be more to the act of obedience that goes beyond only obeying the directives of the Owner as they are given. Philosophically speaking, a person can definitely be obedient without submission; that is simply a matter of doing what one is told, following a set of rules or guidelines. This is something we do every day; an appropriate example of this can be found in the workplace or how we obey traffic laws (usually). However, I posit that within the realm of Power Exchange/Authority Transfer based relationships actual submission does not happen without obedience for the simple fact that obedience is a major component of submission or is the key of the covenant of submission to the power and authority of another. In other words, on the part of the slave, obedience is at the heart of the agreement of submission; a slave submits, therefore obedience is a requirement and without it, there is no submission or effectual submission. Submission and obedience are intrinsically bound in light of authority based relationships.
I think that oftentimes we underestimate the importance of obedience to submission and because of doing so, we tend to not be mindful of things that can undermine obedience which subsequently undermines our submission and the Owner’s authority. It is easy to slip into patterns that work against the hierarchical structure of our authority based relationships, too many times the patterns start off as quite innocuous due to becoming lax in following protocol or because parameters have not been well established by the Master (the latter can be especially true with Masters who are still fairly new to authority based relationships); other times the patterns stem from some form of rebellion that could have been caused by a misunderstanding, hurt feelings, perceived betrayal, miscommunication, or any number of other reasons that may not have been addressed or adequately addressed. And there are also instances when a pattern of disobedience is intentional on the slave’s part – shocking I know, but it is true. When a slave willfully decides to ‘buck the system’, usually it is to test just how far she can go or what she can get away with before the proverbial hammer is dropped.
In spite of what many believe, it is the slave’s responsibility to maintain a posture of obedience within the dynamic whether she is in her Master’s presence or not. In reality, a Master’s authority over a slave can be nullified due to that slave’s lack of obedience which is a sure sign of a lack of submission. This is why it is important for the slave to self-assess periodically. It was during a period of self-assessment that I found myself giving deeper consideration to the relationship between submission and obedience. At that point in my journey, I had noticed a slight change in my attitude – I was more willing to skirt the line without crossing over into flat-out disobedience and rebellion. The seed of my small scale rebellion stemmed from feeling unimportant within the relationship. While I never asked if He could tell a difference in me during that time, I knew there was a change in me, and I had to sit and search for the heart of that change and work on it so that I could get myself back on track and move forward. It was important for me to not fall into the rut of self-sabotage through rebellion and disobedience because it would have been to my detriment and the demise of the relationship which I value greatly; but more importantly, it would have been a major act of ungratefulness towards a Master who was the catalyst of my transformation into the slave that I am – and that is what I could not allow to happen.
My obedience is my word; it is my bond; it is my reputation; it is my name. Any and all acts of disobedience and rebellion on my part do not only work against the agreement that I made, it also reflects poorly on my ethics as a slave and eventually makes my submission null and void… I cannot claim to be one thing yet act in a way that is completely opposite to what I am claiming, even on a small scale. Through obedience, I express not only my submission to His absolute authority in my life, I display my gratitude, commitment, loyalty, and joy; obedience is the primary way that I honor Him as a Man and a Master. This is not to say that being obedient is always pleasant or delightful – some things that may be required of us as slaves can be quite challenging; but for me, there is a sense of delight in knowing that I am honoring my commitment and not bailing at the first sign of difficulties or because the internal work required to maintain the posture of obedience in my heart and mind can be daunting at times. It was quite profound to realize all of this at that time in my slave walk.
I would like to share a few pearls/pointers gleaned:
There truly is no submission for us without obedience; this is how we show we are who and what we say we are.