As fifty young lieutenants gathered for their first day of Armor Officer’s Basic Course, the Captain standing at the door watched down the hall for the Squadron Commander, who was expected any minute now. As he arrived, the Captain called the room to attention with the words, “Gentlemen, the Squadron Commander.” I stood to attention with the 49 other young officers.
As the Commander made his way into the room from a door which was behind us, he began to walk towards the front but he never put us “at ease” or “as you were.” He let us stay in that attentive state with growing expectation each step he took towards the front to address the group. Although we were ordered to a position requiring eyes straight ahead so we couldn’t see him, we could hear every step. He had knee-high leather cavalry boots which squeaked the squeak of moving leather with each step, accentuated by the clicking of the heels of his boots hitting the wooden floor.
Once in front of the fledgling warrior leaders, he said, “Gentlemen, you only need three characteristics to be a great Armor leader . . . audacity, audacity and audacity!”
The charge was simple and empowering. Be bold. Go for it. Take the fight to the enemy. Be great. That charge, given over twenty years ago, resonated within me then and remains impactful to this day.
Some of us were, by our nature, more audacious than others upon arrival at our Basic Course. The Commander wasn’t taking a poll or evaluating that difference. He was simply calling out that which he knew we needed to succeed in the places where he and subordinate leaders were going to train us. He was simply calling out that which would be needed in battle.
There is eternal purpose in each one of us. There will be intersections of opportunity to step in faith towards the destiny we were created for and we’ll have to decide. We make a choice, take a turn and live with the consequences. Depending on what’s been called out of us and what we adopted as our eternal characteristics, our satisfaction with the results may vary.
Depending on who we are allowing to speak into our lives, we will either grow into the fullness of our potential or live with regret. If nobody is speaking into us, then there is nothing that can be awakened which isn’t already active. If we are inviting people without the basis and authority of Truth to invest their words in our development, then we are limited by the constraints of the temporal. If, however, the charge is eternal, then the eternal is awakened and the limitations are sacrificed to make room for greatness.