"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, December 15, 2011

Individuality

What’s wrong with some people? Why is it that you can talk to some people on a deep, heart-to-heart level, and others you can’t even approach that level? Why is it that some people make decisions that make no sense? Why are some people pushy and aggressive while others are meek and timid? There are a hundred other questions along this vein that I could ask here, but you get the drift.


During the first four years of my life I was physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. Abandoned in the first year of my life by my mother, I was unable to bond with anyone until my daughter was nearly 2 years old. The fear, rejection and loneliness tempered my character most dramatically. I never contemplated disobedience (which might seem like a good thing but is quite unnatural for a child growing up); I was afraid of my shadow, afraid of being embarrassed, of being rejected. I was lonely though I grew up in a large family but enjoyed being alone anyway because it was safer.


My point is that as I was growing up I constructed characteristics that were protective against these fears. I never talked seriously with anyone. If I had something important to say, I would wrap it in a joke; that way it wouldn’t be rejected. It also ensured that I wouldn’t have to dwell on a serious subject which was very uncomfortable for me.


There was no doubt that I had some serious problems and those problems seriously affected me the rest of my life. Had I been given even a little bit of the wisdom that I’m about to share, it might have saved me and a lot of other people a great deal of pain. The wisdom comes not from me, but from Oswald Chambers and ultimately from God.

In his booklet, My Utmost for His Highest, Chambers defines the character construct that I describe above as ‘individuality’ (I’m not sure I like the term, but I like it better than Freud’s ‘id, ego, & superego’). He calls ‘individuality’ the counterfeit of ‘personality’. Individuality is to personality what lust is to love (a cheap imitation).
Individuality is the image we try to project to others. We are cool, smart, confident, in control. If we continue in individuality too long we may start to believe that we are really the person we are projecting, or trying to project. Individuality talks too much or too little. It likes to either hide or dominate. It likes to impress but it doesn't like risks.


Refusing to forgive someone comes out of individuality. Unforgiveness does much more damage to the unforgiver than the unforgiven. Most people know that and still can’t forgive, even though it is a requirement for forgiveness by Jesus Christ.

Chambers further describes individuality as the ‘husk’ of the personal life. As a husk must be peeled off to reveal the ear of corn, so individuality must be peeled off to reveal the true personality. Individuality hinders the spiritual life more than anything else. Individuality is capable of refusing to believe even that which it knows to be true.


I once proved a point on a series of emails to a very well known radio talk show host who admitted that my arguments were persuasive and had merit, but, he said, “I will not believe.” His decision was made in his "will." That’s individuality – spitting in the face of truth for reasons known only to the individual.

My next post will discuss personality and what to do with individuality. Hope you will read it and comment.