Tozer test answers promote self-knowledge

From David Letterman, to Hollywood’s unofficial directory of “A” people to invite to post-awards ceremony parties, to the scratch pad containing “to-do” items people carry through retail stores on weekends, most everyone pays attention to lists. You might as well add my name to that list because I never met a list I didn’t like.
I frequently find myself on other people’s lists. Some folks let me know – in no uncertain terms. Other people hate me from afar, silently seething over a sub-list of my qualities they abhor, hoping their resentment will boil into a steam fine enough to permeate my mind and make me change without their ever having to tell me how I have wronged them.
If only I could hear the words they cannot say, I might understand and change. I have my own list of people who have frustrated me by withholding timely feedback, long after when I might have been able to dial down my irritating behavior, only to sack me with it later, like an 300-pound linebacker to the gut. While it’s hard to learn without feedback, it’s easy to resent someone for not responding to information you never bothered to supply.
My love of lists led me to purchase a 1999 Multnomah Publishers book called, “Lists to Live By.” Complied by Alice Gray, Steve Stephens and John Van Diest, this “Lists to Live By” book was the first volume in a series subtitled, “For everything that really matters.” It’s chock-full of solid advice to prevent problems and/or gracefully resolve them before they get worse.
The lists it contains range from relationship to business advice, with a decidedly Christian bent. One of my favorite lists in the book was from renowned Christian pastor and writer A.W. Tozer, cited from his post-humus-compiled book, “The Quotable Tozer.” Characteristic of Tozer, the list is concise, as everything Tozer (1897-1963) gets directly to the point, down to the epitaph on his humble tombstone, “A. W. Tozer – A Man of God.” Less is more.
Tozer’s list of questions to promote greater individual self-knowledge were as follows: What do we want most? What do we think about the most? How do we use our money? What do we do with our leisure time? What company do we enjoy? Whom and what do we admire? What do we laugh at?
By answering these questions about ourselves, provided we’re honest, we have a better idea about what is driving us and how smooth of a ride it is/isn’t going to be. While my mind immediately started generating a list of what other people I think should be asking these important questions of themselves, I also answered them for myself. It’s a good practice. Everyone should periodically self-examine to promote personal accountability and to prevent mission drift, or the tendency to stray from the path(s) we should be following.
Most days, what I want most is to make an appreciable difference in the world, but that desire is often offset by my deep-seated fear that the peace rug I am trying to offer to someone else is actually the same one that is simultaneously being pulled out from under me.
What I think about most is if I am doing enough to make the world a better place. A lot of the time, my efforts feel like they amount to spitting into the wind. Not too encouraging. Keep spitting anyway, I guess.
Where does my money go? After the 10-15% to church and charitable causes, the rest goes to basic bills, sheet music, used books, shoes and clothing. Not terribly exciting and the latter often wasteful. My leisure time is spent cooking, playing piano, reading, writing and praying. The company I most enjoy is those with whom I share those simple gifts.
What and whom do I admire? Thinking people, simple truths, minor victories, inspired writing and speaking: Jesus, Will Rogers, Garrison Keillor, A.W. Tozer and my pastor. Their good-natured, self-deprecating humor and humanness greatly amuses me while validating my own humanness.
What’s your level of self-knowledge? Like Santa, you might want to make a list and check it twice. Know where you stand. We can all stand to improve.


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