November Chaplain's Reflections

U.S. Air Force Capt. Christina Pittman, 169th Fighter Wing Chaplain at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, poses for her portrait, Jan. 13, 2014.   (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder/Released)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Christina Pittman, 169th Fighter Wing Chaplain at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, poses for her portrait, Jan. 13, 2014. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

“Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” (Genesis 32:28 NIV) 

Last drill I had the opportunity to speak to a squadron on being authentic with one another. This authenticity with thoughts helps to identify feelings and emotions. Too many times in the military we shy away from showing weakness and being real, due to judgement or fear of retribution. As humans we are not perfect and we can fall to self-preservation. When survival mode kicks in, a false sense of being indispensable threatens the very person inside us all. Seeing our inner person can create wholeness and acknowledges reality of a situation. Grappling with his inner self, Jacob was stripped down to his bareness both physically and emotionally. After a long night of being worn down by God, he was purged of the entrapping of his heart and released it to God. In turn he was transformed so much that his name had to be changed to Israel and the injury to his hip made him walk with a limp.

When was the last time you strived to uncover the deep seeded trapping of your soul? Maybe the other day, last year, or not since you were a teenager. Genuineness of the heart is achieved when a person wrestles with him or herself. From the story of Jacob in Genesis, he was stripped down to nothing. He had no home and sent all his family and property to meet his brother Esau. Jacob stayed back and took time to “duke it out with God” or wrestle with his reality, before moving forward and meeting his fate with Esau. In the act of wrestling, Jacob struggled with God. He put it all out on the table and was able to be real with God. It took everything inside him to face God in his weakness to the point he was exhausted. Little did Jacob know, this working out of his life physically and emotionally, made room for God to empower him to overcome the future unknown and receive a blessing.

Consider wrestling with God or with who you need to face in a relationship of trust and unconditional love. As military members with limitations, there will be issues we need to work through. I encourage you to get authentic with yourself so you can make room for being all you can be in the lives of others, at home and at the base. We all need more authenticity and grace in our lives. As Jacob did, let it all go until it hurts and then wait for the blessing.

If you desire more information or support on Spiritual Resiliency and counseling please call the SCANG Chaplain Corps office at 803-647-8265. We look forward to seeing you all around base.