Leadership and Faith

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“Why is the sky blue?”

When I went through basic training I encountered many drill sergeants. My favorite was Drill Sergeant C. We had an assigned room called the War Bay for our platoon to meet in our barracks building. Drill Sergeant C would draw a line across the dry erase board that hung on the wall in the War Bay and tell us “Privates, when this line sags to the bottom of the board we’ll be finished, so let’s get to work”, then he would smoke us (forced exercises basically). One evening after smoking us for about three hours we finally built up enough humidity from our sweat in the roomand the line finally sank to the bottom of the board. We all sat there tired and sweaty (including Drill Sergeant C because he always did every exercise with us) and Drill Sergeant C began to tell us a story.

He said, “I’ve deployed to Iraq three times. The first time, I was overwhelmed by the heat. It’s hard to do even the simplest things in that kind of intense heat let alone leave the wire in full kit and go on missions. So when I was getting ready to deploy the second time I did special training with my squad twice a day. In the morning and afternoon I would have the squad get into full battle rattle and we would run a few miles and end at the gym. I’d have us go inside the gym to the sauna and sit in for a while and then we’d go back out and run a few more miles. We did this every day we could for weeks. When we got to Iraq my squad was the only one prapared for the heat so my guys could go all day without stopping.”

After hearing his story I thought to myself this guy is a great leader. He leads from the front, he pushes us hard everyday to set us up for success, and he asks us to do things now that are even harder than what will be expected of us later so that when we reach that point we’re more than prepared, and I should trust him because it’s evident he has my best interests in mind. I’ll be honest. Graduating from Army basic training isn’t that difficult for most. All you really need is to qualify with your weapon and pass your PT test (Push-Ups, Sit-Ups, and Two mile run). That being said, because of Drill Sergeant C every soldier in our platoon was able to pass their PT test.

Now, why I am I sharing this? Because I realized that all the smoke sessions and exercises and whatnot were directly for our benefit and because of Drill Sergeant C’s desire for us to not only succeed but to thrive. That’s what good leaders do, train their people is such a way that they would not only succeed but also thrive. So why is it then that when I go through hard times and struggles I want to blame God instead of recognizing that maybe I’m just being prepared for a future situation. Why is it that I pray for patience but then get angry at God if I find myself in a stressful situation that calls for my patience? Why is it that I pray for humility yet get upset if I find myself in a situation that causes me to put myself aside and be humble? I think often we Christians want the end result without having to roll up our sleeves and put in the time spent in prayer,fasting, working and striving to be more like Christ. And I think when we pray “Lord please sanctify me and make me more like Christ” ,if we’re really honest with ourselves we’re often saying something closer to “Lord, when I wake up tomorrow I want to just have everything I need to be more like Christ just zapped straight into me.” Let’s just think about that for a second. How can we expect to reach all our end goals of we’re not willing to put in the time and the work necessary?

Lord, please help me to pick up my cross daily and follow you. And when you’re training me and equipping me so I can succeed and thrive please give me the perseverance to see it through and then some , in order that you may be glorified and that your kingdom may grow. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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