Deployment

Decorations and Awards

Author: Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Brendon O'Dowd, USAF (Ret.)

Photo by The U.S. Army is licensed under CC BY 2.0

July 2, 2018 | Tagged: military, Military Career, success

Have you ever had a supervisor who told you to write up your own award package or submit your own decoration? You probably thought that person was either too lazy or too busy to do it for you.

The dilemma is complicated by being a Christian because writing up a decoration or award seems so self-serving and even prideful. You know you are called to be humble, but highlighting your accomplishments appears like you are bragging. Do you disregard the order? Perhaps there are other ways to approach it.

How to write about yourself

First, rejoice in the talents and strengths God has given you. In Deuteronomy 8, God is giving Israel a feedback session about the last 40 years in the desert. He reminds them that their military successes were and will continue to be orchestrated and empowered by Him. He also reminds them that hard times are allowed by Him, so they would recognize His ability to provide in amazing ways. Let the request from a supervisor be an opportunity to rejoice in how God has specially equipped you for a specific time and a specific assignment.

Second, remember to remain humble. James 4 serves as a warning not to be arrogant about success. “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that” (James 4:13-15). Let the request help you remember that success is found when you seek God’s will above your own.

Third, creatively praise God’s work through you. Paul sometimes included “decoration” packages as part of his letters. To the church in Corinth, he said he “worked harder” than the other apostles but only because it was the grace of God with him (1 Corinthians 15:10). To the church in Philippi, he said he should have more “confidence” than others because of all his superior ratings, yet he counted these ratings as trash compared to knowing Christ (Philippians 3:1-11). Let the request be used as an opportunity to show people your relationship with Jesus is your highest priority (Matthew 6:33).

Finally, serve those placed in authority over you by the way you write. Supervision is not easy, and the administrative demands seem to multiply daily. Busy live and busy schedules are the norm and anything you can do to bear another’s burdens is being obedient to Christ (Galatians 6:2). Let the request be one way you can help your supervisor worry about one less thing.

God can help you make the most of an awkward situation when you rejoice in His work, remain humble, creatively praise Him, and serve your supervisor. Writing will never be more challenging and rewarding at the same time.

If you are dealing with this issue, you do not need to face the challenge alone. Jesus has conquered every challenge so you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming hope. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.

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