The United States Marine Corps is not known for producing many “quitters” in life. They had an idea in the 90s, when I went to boot camp, that they would tear out the young, irresponsible, undisciplined, boy, and replace him with the matured, responsible, disciplined, man, who’s only prayer was to kill someone in war (however responsible that sounds). These are what the recruiters tickled my ego with, causing me to be swift in my decision to be one of the few and the proud.
I got to Parris Island, SC, expecting to be physically trained every day until I puked, like on the movies. I was in excellent shape so I had the thought that boot camp would be like a cool summer breeze. The problem was, I thought it would be more physical and although physical training in the USMC boot camp isn’t easy, the mental training was terribly hard, and it had cold cocked me out of what seemed like nowhere. I didn’t expect that in everything I did there, I would be told I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t expect that they would embarrass me in everything I did insomuch that I got calloused to what they said and basically learned to ignore all their insults. I wasn’t expecting that I, me, would be called a failure. I certainly didn’t think I would feel like I was a failure.
They let us feel the emotions accompanied with sorrow, grief, and worthlessness for about the eight weeks. Those of us who had survived that long would slowly start to gain a little more confidence and a little more self-respect each day, all the way until we would graduate five weeks later. I was never so glad to get away from there.
I didn’t understand at the time the purpose in why they were so persistent in telling us how filthy, how grimy, how unfit we were to be called Marines. They had literally convinced me I was no good. Why? Maybe they wanted to completely imbed this one principle, in order win wars against the enemy, our mental toughness has to be more refined than our physical toughness. What we gained and mentally overcame in feeling sorrow, grief, and discouragement in boot camp, is the knowledge of how to pick ourselves up, even when we felt we could not go any further. This is a great quality in a fighting man.
An overcoming mindset is a must have for a Christian. God shows us that in order to save our lives by faith, we cannot leave the muscle of faith alone to atrophy, we have to exercise it. Nothing exercises a muscle more than weight. There is a lot of strength to be gained in the weight of adversity. There is a lot of “mental muscle” is to be gained from the set backs of life so adversity does have its advantages.
While I was searching for a little inspiration to start this piece, I started reading Charles Stanley’s Life Principles Bible. I took special notice to life principle #15. The title reads:
“Brokenness is God’s requirement for maximum usefulness” – Charles Stanley
To be considered for the jobs with most of the responsibility in Christ, we needed to have been taught leadership by God. God’s way of training us for leadership is not easy by no means. God is a leader who leads by example, not by position and orders. When we are asked to undergo God’s bootcamp for leaders, you best bet that God has already experienced what you are going through in the man, Jesus Christ. To be a true Godly leader we must be broke into acts of self sacrifice.
So we are here, on earth, consistently lifting the weight of adversity by God’s righteous will to do what? To become leaders!! We are all called into some form of leadership by God, even if it is just leading our family. We are not called to hold down pews. Every type of training God has to offer is so that you will become more like Him, strong and able to handle tough decisions in love and self sacrifice. The Marines know what it takes to build fighting men. God knows what it takes to build fighting Christians and that knowledge is perfect. Let God train you and you will find a better, more stable, more mature, and more respected leader that is within you.