I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I often get bogged down trying to squeeze the last drop out of a project. This has caused me problems in my spiritual life from time-to-time.
My call to officership came in 1989 at Commissioning. I remember General Eva Burrows pointing at me in the choir stalls and saying “YOU”. (Of course, she couldn’t see me, but God could!)
That evening, I made my way to the platform, full of excitement and trepidation. The I put my foot on the top step, all emotion faded. This caused Major Alan Bateman, then candidates’ secretary, to question whether I was sure of the call. Over the years, many similar stop-start episodes occurred. The most difficult one was on Covenant Day 1997. Three days before my Commissioning, I knelt at the mercy seat in the Assembly Hall at WBMTC (as it then was) staring at my covenant card.
In making this covenant, I promised:
To seek to win souls and make their salvaiton the first purpose of my life
At all times to show myself a true officer of The Salvation Army
(I may have got the detail wrong – my card is packed ready for moving.)
I had some trouble signing this covenant, since I felt sure I couldn’t keep it. There was a heavy weight in my heart, but I went ahead because my calling had been tested at every step and I knew it was from God.
Attending the recent Brengle Institute at Sunbury Court, the weight finally left. We learned the main thrust of holiness is to do with setting objects or people apart for service to God. There may be nothing remarkable in the objects or persons, but their purpose made them holy. Next day, in a silent hour, I wrote down a chorus that we had used early on in the week, and that had been running around my head for days.
Every moment to live for thee;
Daily strength to receive from thee
As I obey thy call.
While I bow to pray to thee,
I commit my way to thee;
Here, just now as I say to thee:
I dedicate my all.
I signed this chorus in my notebook with no hesitation. Since then I have not been perfect, and I suspect there are moments that are not dedicated to God. Perhaps what has changed is a realisation that moment by moment perfection is not the goal, but a continualy intentional dedication of all I am, good and bad, to becoming all I should be.