"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"

Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Going Deep (The Pass)

Please read, Going Deep (The Audible) before reading this. This is part 2 of what will be a 3 part search deep into my heart. I pray that it will help you to examine yourself and eventually draw you much closer to Christ.

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.” OK, so now I have to admit that I had some sins that needed to be dealt with, but what were they? Certainly my priorities were off centre – working far too much when my family was collapsing around me. The following spring we had to give up custody of our foster child who we cared for for 11 years since her birth. Looking after all of her special needs, as well as looking after my suicidal wife and sons should have been an easy decision to take some time off work, or to, at least reduce my hours. But reducing my hours was not on the table.

Having been in the Public Service for many years, I was determined not to become one of those stereotypical civil servants who just do their job and don’t give any extra. I always gave service that was exceptional, or, at least, always tried to. It was so ingrained into my self-image that when it became impossible in my position as Superintendent of Climate Services for the Pacific and Yukon Region of Environment Canada, I began to work longer and longer hours to try to get the work done. It didn’t work.

At one point my boss told me that I just had to get used to the idea that I can’t give the quality of service that I want to. He was right, of course, but that struck right at the heart of my image of myself. That is precisely when I cracked.

Self-image is a powerful force in our lives, and unfortunately, it is often supported and encouraged by those around us. Self-image, however, is not us; it is called by Oswald Chambers – our individuality. He defines individuality as the counterfeit of personality. Personality is who we are; individuality is who we want others to think we are. It is the image we present to the public, but where it wanders from personality, or from reality, it becomes false, negative and even dangerous. Attempting to maintain an image that is either impossible or untrue can have disastrous results – my life stands as an example.

Where was the disparity between my individuality and my personality? None, I truly had a desire to please my customers. The disparity was between my individuality and reality. The reality was I didn’t have sufficient resources to give exceptional service and needed to settle for mediocre service at best. My individuality, championed by my pride, refused to accept such a fate. There was my problem in a nutshell – pride. Pride was all tangled up in my self-image, my individuality, and it was pride that did me in. It took a long time for me to see that.

I also came to see that in my dependence on overtime to keep us financially afloat that I had stopped relying on God for my provision. We had relied on Him many times and He had always provided. His provision was never excessive but always enough and always when it was needed – like a short pass for a first down when you are 3rd and 15. Now, when I probably needed Him most, I counted on my own ability to provide for our needs. Having no faith in my receivers, I replaced the Quarterback with myself, tried the quarterback sneak and came up a long ways short.

Part 3 of this series will be posted shortly.