"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." ~Ambrose Redmoon

Monday, August 22, 2011

Who’s the Boss?

Lost income. Lost relationships. Loss of position, professional respect, travel, and intriguing work —what was I going to do?

When I was fired, the answer to that question was the same as it had been every day for 8-1/2 years, trust my real employer.

True confession—being hired to work with PhD scientists terrified me. In school, I sometimes struggled with my classes. I even failed astronomy, my first year in college. My professor was so boring, I frequently skipped class and headed for the beach. Never did I imagine that one day I’d be editing books, magazine articles and booklets for NASA-level astronomers. However, when I voiced this concern during the interview process to the scientist who hired me (who still consults with JPL), he convinced me that my lack of scientific awareness might be an asset.

Still that first week on the job, I lay awake at night wondering whether I could handle my editing assignments. But about the third day, an epiphany came to me while I was driving to work. On the transition road between the 10 freeway and the 57, the thought came to mind that the Creator was the real authority over me—that He had purposes for my employment and would still be in control even if I couldn’t do the job and got fired. 

This conclusion came, at least partially, as the result of a class in logic, I’d taken years earlier at Cal State University, Fullerton. As a young single mom in my twenties, I returned to school and forced myself to become fully focused. That helped me begin acing some of my classes. My best performance ever was in Logic. I loved its profound beauty so much that fellow students complained about my setting the bar too high. As a result, the professor established the curve without factoring in my scores.

It's hard for me to believe some people find logic as boring as I once did astronomy. Yet a few simple points can be extremely useful in living according to a workable view of the world. When I edited Kenneth Samples book A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test, his chapter on logic reminded me of some profound truths that help me conquer my fears and make good decisions. The following information is from his book (p. 42-44).

“The study of logic considers three laws of thought as bedrock principles:”
·         The Law of Noncontradiction states A cannot = A and non-A at the same time and in the same way.
“Either Jesus is God Incarnate (historic Christianity) or He is not (Judaism, Islam).”
·         The Law of Excluded Middle states “A” is either “A” or “non-A”
This law “shows that truth can be found in only one statement or the other. The law of noncontradiction can be thought of as indicating that ‘not both’ are true, whereas the law of excluded middle subtly reveals that ‘either one or the other’ must be true (no middle ground is possible). Either Jesus Christ is God Incarnate, or he is not God Incarnate; one of those two statements must be true (and the other one false.) The claim cannot be made that there is ‘some truth’ in both statements.”
·         The Law of Identity states that “A” is “A”
“A thing (person, event, judgment) is what it is. A true statement is true.”

Samples goes on to say that these laws, without exception, "apply to all matters of thought and hold true for any and all worldviews."
According to these “laws,” I either believe Jesus is God Incarnate or He is not. I either believe His Word and submit to His authority as God or I do not. 

Trusting the Bible's God, as my ultimate authority, helped me conquer my fears about working with scientists and take the risks I needed to take to do a good job. Ongoing validation from my employer and others proved the astronomer who hired me correct. Not having a scientific background helped me ask authors valuable questions, the answers to which clarified our publications making them more readable and broadening our audience. Several publishers confirmed their appreciation of my ability. None of that could have happened if I hadn’t trusted the laws of logic--plus, the work of the Holy Spirit.

So, who is the Holy Spirit? And, how does He help me conquer my fears? That’s tomorrow’s topic.

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