(to) submit (or not to) submit

I’m a failed blogger. Actually, let me explain – I blog every day. But not on my dear “A Word Paints a Thousand Pictures.” I’ve been writing a good bit for work, and if you connect with me on Google+, you’ll see I’m not a liar. Sadly, I’ve simply dropped the ball on this just-for-fun blog. Now that summer’s a-coming, my college days are over, and a glittering new season of life is just around the river bend (marriage!!!! did you know?!!!), I pinky promise to hop on here and write (if I even have an audience left… you’ve all probably ran away! Oh well, what do they say? Build it and they will come?…) There is so much to write about, in every season.

In my new job as an online marketer, I’ve recently delved into a brand new ocean for me: inbound marketing. The concept is still relatively fresh in the marketing world (and I’m still completely, totally fresh to the marketing world), but I can attempt a beginner’s mini-description for you. Have you ever found a super-cool free resource online, but the website required you to enter your name and email in order to get it, like an ebook? If so, you’ve experienced the first stage of inbound marketing. Basically, inbound marketing is a customer-centered approach to marketing that draws in prospective customers by offering free resources of great value and proving that you’re worth their investment.

inbound-marketing-offer

During the inbound marketing process, you “funnel” in potential customers, earning their trust, until they’re ready to gladly give you their checks and their loyalty as customers! In the age of social media and a thousand choices for every purchase we make, and as marketers adapt more personal, relational strategies, I think we’ll see inbound marketing really explode.

If you check out my company Happy Dog Web Productions‘ website, you’ll see we offer free ebooks, guides, checklists, and all kinds of cool resources centered around what we do: Joomla web design, mobile site development, and SEO. Nice, huh? That’s inbound marketing – we show our stuff even before anybody writes a check.

But I’m not writing this post to bombard you with Brooke’s Marketing 101 education. Let’s move on.

So. Inbound marketing. In order to offer free resources to people, you need that little form on your website. Usually a person will type in their name, email address, and maybe a few more bits of information. Then you click “submit.”

submit-button

SUBMIT. So here’s the interesting part. Most online marketing experts advise changing the wording on this call-to-action button from “submit” to something friendlier. In several articles I read, the authors said, “Nobody wants to submit. Say something like ‘Get your free ebook!’ or ‘Download now!’” If your call-to-action is such a severe word, people will get a bad taste in their mouths.

SUBMIT. The word is dripping with negative connotations. It’s a stern, harsh word. For me, “submit” brings to mind tyrannical kings and rulers, third-world dictators, and frustrated owners of untrained puppies. “Submit” comes across as a demanding, stubborn insistence, a power-trip for an egotistical jerk, a six-letter word used to abuse and suppress and induce servanthood.

If you submit, what are you? Surely not celebrated or respected. In our culture, people who submit to the powers that be, to the norms, to reality, to anything, are seen as pathetic. Why would you give up your freedom? Obedience is an iffy word, too – yes, people say they obey the laws and obey the requirements of their bosses. But if you’re a woman, you should high-tail it away from anyone who asks you to “submit” or “obey” unless you have a darn good reason to let go of the tight reigns by which you hold your allegiance.

I recognize all the legitimate concern surrounding this word.

I understand why we don’t want to use it on forms.

I also fully understand how submission can be hurtful if you submit to someone who does not love, respect, or cherish you, someone who will abuse your trust. If  someone has submitted to a person who exploited their vulnerability, no doubt they harbor fear that future submission will backfire in terrible ways for them.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

The idea of submitting can’t be avoided in the Bible. In the fourth chapter of the book of James, I read submit yourselves, then, to God. For people who believe God is a angry tyrant in the sky who’s out to strike you down for your sins, this is a scary thought. Surely if God is frightening, or if God is not good, then submission to God is a terrifying thing. If God has complete power over the world, he has the power to hurt us, put us in bondage, restrain us, take away our freedom, and even cause our demise.

If God is like any historical examples of tyrants, we would be fools to submit to him – if he is, indeed, a tyrannical, cruel, and mean God.

But in God’s hands, power is never exploited. No – God’s modus operandi is love. It always has been, and it always will be.

This post has grown quickly! I’ll blog a part two again soon with some thoughts on how as a culture, it’s time to give the word “submit” a redeemed meaning, a second connotation to fit a God who funnels us into his capable, loving embrace and counterintuitively rewards our wholehearted submission with sweet, sweet freedom.

One thought on “(to) submit (or not to) submit

  1. Pingback: Sacrifice and submission | A Word Paints a Thousand Pictures

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