There’s a little book that I would highly recommend you reading titled Make Your Bed. It was written based on a graduation commencement speech that Admiral William H. McRaven (←click the previous link to see the YouTube video) gave at the University of Texas back in 2014. Admiral McRaven basically lists 10 principles that he learned as a Navy SEAL, all of which are powerful and potentially life-changing.
I concluded my Easter 2018 sermon @APCofCburg with this powerful quote from Admiral McRaven’s book: “Tonight, you will have to be your very best. You must rise above your fears, your doubts, and your fatigue. No matter how dark it gets, you must complete the mission.” I attempted to explain to our audience through this illustration, that Christ completed His mission, and we too must complete our mission. Over the last few days, I’ve really been pondering this very idea. Here are a few points that I think we all should contemplate:
- Identify your mission. This is your inevitable starting point. If you have never developed a “life mission”, now would be a good time to start. I have a saying that I frequently use, if you don’t aim for something, you’ll be sure to miss. Of course, every time I say that to my kids, they look at me like, “Dad, what does that even mean?”
The point is this: if you don’t have a mission, you’ll never know if you are actively working to complete the said mission or not!
- Maintain your mission. Have you ever tried to change the diaper of an active baby? Let me break it down to you. The mission would be to change the diaper. However, if you have an active baby, maintaining the mission might be a little difficult. Kicking legs, the newfound freedom to go ahead and “let it go” while no diaper is on (know what I’m saying here?), flailing arms, grasping hands, the constant squirming, and on and on and on. Needless to say, maintaining the mission can be quite challenging, if not impossible at times! In life, maintaining our personal mission will forever be a constant struggle. Fears. Doubts. Fatigue. Amongst many other adversarial challenges, will play a constant role in whether or not we can maintain our mission or not. But remember, you must maintain the mission in order to ever complete the mission.
- Constantly reevaluate your mission. I wrestled with whether to include this or not. Honestly, some might say that your mission should never change, and I get that. However, I do think that we need to constantly (at least be willing) to reevaluate our mission. I believe it’s worth mentioning that based on the various seasons of life, our mission could adjust, and maybe even drastically change from time to time. The mission of a high school student would probably be different from that of a single mom, raising 4 children. Albeit, for both parties involved, survival might in fact be the overall mission! But the specific details of just getting through the day, week, month or year would be vastly different.
- Complete your mission. And this my friends is what Admiral McRaven was really attempting to challenge the graduates of UT. Complete the mission. No matter what. Complete the mission. After you’ve identified the mission, maintained it, reevaluated it…it would all be in vain if you never completed your mission. And be sure that there will be plenty of obstacles standing in your way as you attempt to complete your mission. Whether they be from your competition, your enemies, your weaknesses, or even self-constructed obstacles, you will face some resistance along the way. But make no mistake about it. You must complete your mission!
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