Private Myers, 1981, photograph taken during my eight weeks of Army Basic Training at Ft. Dix, NJ.
To Be A Soldier…with God’s help, enabling and guidance, I can move forward with confidence and grace, no matter what the task…
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
I Remember When…
I am not sure who was more surprised when the US Army Recruiter left our house on the evening that I seemingly “signed my life away”— my family or me. Joining the US Army Reserve during my senior year of high school was a commitment I made only after much prayer and consideration. Indeed, it turned out to be one of the wisest decisions I’d ever made. That evening, however, I was not so sure. All I knew was that if I was really going to be a soldier, it was not something that I could accomplish alone.
I had always been shy and quiet as a child; I wasn’t always eager to step outside of my comfort zone. Needless to say, facing eight weeks of Army basic training was not a small task for me. I was not worried so much about my abilities. Academically, I had always done well in school and was an honor student at the time. I’d already had years of classical ballet training and I joined my high school track and field team in preparation for the physical demands I would encounter. I was disciplined, determined, level-headed and serious about my commitment…but could I? Did I really have what it takes to be a soldier?
That question, along with several others followed me throughout my entire time of training at Ft. Dix, NJ. From day one, I realized that I was nowhere near my comfort zone. “What am I even doing here? The harder the tasks that I was required to complete became, the harder I prayed. “How will I ever complete this?” The more my prayers were answered, the more greater challenges seemed to present themselves. “Do I really have what it takes to be a soldier?” By the final week of training, I had dwelled so much on those questions that I lost sight of all the positive things that I did accomplish. More importantly, I didn’t fully realize how much God had worked through this very challenging time in my life, to change me into a more confident person than I’d ever been.
On the morning of my basic training graduation day, my drill instructor barked, “Fall in!,” and my fellow recruits and I scrambled into place for roll call and our final inspection. I stood at “Attention” so firmly that I could barely feel myself breathe. When my drill instructor made his way to me, he started out by saying, “Private Myers, I don’t remember much about you during these past eight weeks…” I think I did actually stop breathing briefly at that remark! He continued, scrutinizing my tightly made bunk, highly “spit-shined” boots, crisply ironed uniforms, and other belongings that I’d proudly displayed for approval. Finally, after a long pause, he continued in his heavy Southern drawl, “…except that I believe you have what it takes to be a pretty darn good soldier.”
“What am I even doing here?” “How will I ever complete this?” “Do I really have what it takes to be a soldier?” Hearing those words from my drill instructor made the answers to those questions perfectly clear. As I put my trust in God and His will for my life, the answers do not depend solely on me. With God’s help, enabling and guidance, I can move forward with confidence and grace, no matter what the task, knowing that He will accomplish what He has determined for me to finish.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
May you soon discover the soldier in you and with God’s help never allow your enemies to defeat you.
Peace and love,
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