In life we will all face challenges that will seem impossible to handle and for most people who fear challenges, will run because the situation seems impossible for them. Challenges or trails are inevitable, you will have to face them. And with the right attitude backed with persistence you can overcome any obstacle that comes your way. Challenges are good because they are the fire that will forge the steel within your soul. Steel is forged in the hottest temperatures to ensure that they are strong and ready for what they are built for. Challenges will build character and that character will launch you into your destiny. Whenever some people see a challenge, all they see defeat and they complain but I want you to see opportunity. If you have the attitude of, “I can do it!” you will begin on a personal journey to success. Every single success in the world had to face challenges. Kind David had to face Goliath, Joseph had to face prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Jesus Christ had to face the Roman torture, Andrew Carnegie had to overcome poverty, John D Rockefeller had to face business rivals and many more.
But Allow me to share a personal story of a challenge that I faced when I was 20 years old. In the summer months that I had joined the Navy, I was in Great Lakes, Illinois. Like all new recruits in the Navy, I was alone and I was in Division 312. I'm not going to lie, being away from all that I knew my whole life up until I was gone was quite scary. At this time, I knew I was still being taken care of with somewhere to sleep, having basic clothing and food to eat. I still missed home but in the end, I knew that the military was a way for me to have a better life.
In boot camp, you are challenged in every aspect of your life. Everything from listening to someone speak and having someone tell you when to wake up and how to fold your uniforms. Every person has survival instincts and that instinct will keep you going when it gets really tough. It is through these intense times that your character is formed and you will find out what you are really made of. You will either fall flat on your face or you will keep going when the tough gets going. For some people, emotions will run high and for others, they will keep their emotions in check so that they can get through whatever task comes in front of them.
So throughout my time in boot camp I had no idea how to shine boots or really iron my clothes because up until this point in my life I have never really had to do it. But I met people who knew how to do those things really good and I began to make friends with those people and I was able to learn. They would kindly show me how to do things that I was struggling with. The one thing that I have always had is the ability to adapt to my surroundings. So I paid real close attention and especially to detail because it was going to get me through inspections. I got better at shinning my boots and many other things. But one thing is for sure, in all military boot camps is the bed inspection! You see at Naval Bootcamp everyone has a bunk bed partner and when your RDC (Recruit Division Commander) shows you how to make your bed, they allow you to use your bunk bed partner to help you because of #1. You are timed and #2. The sheets and pillows how to be folded and placed a certain way. Well… during the bed inspections, I had no one to help me because the guy who was sleeping above me was always exempt from the inspection due to a medical reason. He had ingrown toenails. So during times, we were not doing much of anything I would take the initiative to learn how I was going to function on my own.
Everyone in Naval boot camp is given a small spiral notebook and within the spiral notebook is information that you have to memorize such as Enlisted Ranks and Officer Insignias and who is in various leadership positions. So having this spiral notebook will be my partner in making my bed. I am not lying when I say this. As God as my witness, I utilized this spiral notebook to help me succeed. When our Division had our first bed inspection by a Chief, I remember the Chief calling, "Port-Side you have 5 minutes to strip your rack accordingly… Go!” So I stripped my rack and made my smiley face with my blankets and my thick blanket was at the end of my rack. That was easy. But the real challenge was making the bed. When the Chief yelled, “Port-Side you have 15 minutes to make your rack according to regulations… Go!” It was sink or swim at that moment and I refused to go down without a fight! While everyone was making their racks with their partner... I was by myself. I would quickly whip into action and put the first sheet on and the second sheet with the 45-degree angles and I would quickly run to the other side of my rack and do the same. In my mind, I was focused and determined to make my bed how I was told to do so. Nothing was on my mind but following the directions that I was taught. Now, this is where my spiral notebook came in handy, as I would lay the second sheet down I would put the spiral notebook at the top of the sheet so it would hold it down as I would gently tuck in the sheet at the foot of the bed. At this point in the game, I look at the others who were making their partners bed and I was already done. I had 5 minutes to spare and I was making sure that my rack was good to go!!! I would be walking around my bed looking at the small details making sure everything was perfect and I did all by myself. At this point in my life, I knew that as a young Christian, God was with me. He had put me in this position to strengthen me deep down inside. Now that I am 36 years old, God was preparing me to handle tougher situations where I would be alone. And as time has passed, I have been through dark times where no one was nearby. No one! I would cry and no one would hear me. But as soon as the crying would stop I would pick myself up and begin to declare with my mouth that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Yes, I would begin to pray and worship God right where I was and by doing this I would give myself spiritual strength. The whole entire point of this story is to share that whatever struggles you are going through, you can and will get through them. Look at all challenges as a test. It is a test to see what you are made of. This is one small story in my life. I hope you enjoyed it.
What is one challenge that you faced in life where you didn’t know if you would make through but you did.