Whose Power? - The Warrior's Journey®

Whose Power?

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

Pride of New York, Resilience of America. Photo by The U.S. Marines is licensed under CC By 2.0


I had become trusted by my chain of command because I had a track record of fixing what had gone wrong. I wasn’t flashy or dramatic. I fixed things by being faithful and consistent. So, on receiving notice to PCS for what would be my last assignment, I was fully prepared to fix what had been broken. Within a few weeks, I found out three previous supervisors had blown it in one way or another and I was determined to show everyone how to do things right.

Problem was, I didn’t do things right.

A Prideful Attitude

My pride got the best of me and I began to believe my own press reports. I thought I was invincible, and I could handle anything. My bosses trusted me, my subordinates trusted me, my family trusted me. Had they known the state of my heart, they would have been more cautious.

Pride was the root of my problems. My pride led me to believe I had all the tools I needed to be a great supervisor and accomplish great things. My pride led me to believe I could handle any problem and withstand any temptation. My pride led me to believe I could do all that was required of me without anyone’s help.

Long ago, the prophet Zechariah gave a warning about pride to the returning exiles as they began to rebuild the land of Israel. He spoke for God and told them that they must remember rebuilding and restoring their homeland would not be “by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6b).

Three Tips For Success

True success is never dependent on human strength because it’s inconsistent and will eventually fail. We do have limitations. Overcoming obstacles and finishing projects can only be accomplished as God allows. Therefore, God’s Spirit is the key to accomplishing our tasks, and the good news is the mighty power of the Holy Spirit is always at our disposal.

What can we all do differently?

  • First, we need to be humble and recognize that God is the One who calls, equips and blesses our work. Humility allows us to see our role as an instrument of God (and not be a god). Great achievements and top marks on a performance report are due to His work through us. A humble heart recognizes all good things came from Him.
  • Second, we need to find a mentor. By my last assignment, I had lost touch with my mentors. I didn’t purposely cut them off, I just stopped calling them to ask for guidance, wisdom, and counsel. I made myself too busy to listen to those who had been through the battle.
  • Third, learn from the Word. I was reading my Bible, but I ceased learning from the Word. And there is a huge difference between the two. Reading is only the first step to learning. Learning requires processing what we read and then practicing it in our lives.

Are you ready to make a change?

In article photos in order of appearance: 190517-F-BQ566-1005 by the U.S. Air Force licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
A Sailor flexes his muscles during flight quarters. by the U.S. Navy licensed under U.S. Govt. Work

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