My wife, Becky, was six months pregnant with our first son (fourth child) during my last deployment. The plan was to come home for the birth and then go back to work, but sometimes plans change. Days before I was to return home for the birth of my son, my Special Forces (SF) team faced a major setback when one of our vehicles hit an improvised explosive device (IED) returning to our base after an intense mission and fire fight. Everyone in the vehicle survived, but the injuries sustained by our men would not allow them to operate for the remainder of that deployment. The team went from 11 SF Operators to 8 in the blink of an eye.
Life constantly presents us with choices. It’s the space between circumstance and response where our battles are won and lost. The duty to my team led to the contemplation of my roles as a husband, father, and leader. I understood there would be times I’d be faced with challenging situations in difficult circumstances (Click here to check out how you can prepare yourself to deal with difficult situations before they happen).
Understanding the things in our lives that are worth sacrificing for provides a sense of purpose. Discovering our purpose allows us to better measure our focus and actions. Purpose can be found in serving others in need.
The question we must ask ourselves is, “are the things we’re placing our focus on getting us closer to fulfilling our purpose or taking us further away?” If our thoughts, feelings, actions, and relationships are not in alignment with our purpose it’s time to pause and reflect. Defining the principles, ideals, and values that are most important to us gives us ready-made answers to the many questions life presents us with. We’re either getting closer or further away from fulfilling our purpose, there is no middle ground. The choice is ours and ours alone.
After seeing our vehicle blown up and assessing the damage to my teammates at the blast site, I made an instant decision to forgo returning home for the birth of my son who was due in a few weeks, the lives of my teammates depended on it. Becky and my children were safe. They were cared for and provided for. They had shelter. They had running water. Air-conditioning. Indoor plumbing. Refrigeration. Hospitals nearby. No threat of imminent danger. In our position, we had none of the above. I knew my soon-to-be-born son would appreciate that decision when he was old enough to comprehend it.
What in your life is worth sacrificing for? If you can’t answer that question I challenge you to use the principles presented and commit to discovering the answer. A life of purpose is yours for the making.
De Oppresso Liber,