Military Ministry

Please click here for our June 2017 ministry update.

STARTING A NEW YEAR

I don’t know how 2017 was for you… it might have been great, or it might have been terrible.  But if you’re reading this, there’s one thing I do know: you’ve got another year ahead of you named 2018, and it’s here.

How will you find the strength to deal with it?

I have a quick story and a phrase that might help you in the tight spots.  But more importantly, I’d love to hear from you.  What’s your go-to when it comes to facing challenges or crises in the moment?

Quick Story

Back in the day, I was in Undergraduate Pilot Training via the US Air Force.  Having made it over half-way through, I went on to the advanced jet trainer, the T-38.  I’d like to think I was confident, but not cocky, but I suspect those lines were blurred then.  Until the day I got the cockiness knocked out of me.

That was the day I met the great ego equalizer: the emergency procedures simulator.  In a single 1.3 hour simulator session, instructors could literally throw anything under the sun at you.  There were the favorites (engine failure on takeoff, engine fires, electrical failures) and then there were the scenarios that no matter how good you thought you were, there was no surviving.  Massive wind shear on final was the beginning of my ego crushing day.  I “died” in a dramatic fashion off the end of the runway.

But here’s what I learned: don’t let what happened in the past continue to affect your present.

I know, easier said than done, right?  But here’s how it played out for me.  That wind shear scenario was not survivable, but I didn’t know that at the time.  I felt like I crashed on a simple approach to the runway and somehow latched on to the idea that I was terrible and would never make it through pilot training (notice the generalization and the projection of the future).

As a result, I died many more times that day.  I messed up things I even knew how to do correctly.  Imagine the ramifications for someone like you, warriors, that have to stay in the fight regardless of what just happened.

I had let one situation get inside my head and dictate the rest of my performance in that simulator.

And I heard about it too… from the instructor… with many colorful adjectives and general disparagement of my character.  But it was in the debrief afterwards that he said a phrase and gave me a philosophy of life that I still live to this day.

“New Day, New Jet”

Each time the instructor reset the scenarios, he would start by saying, “OK, new day, new jet.”  Meaning, the past was wiped out and we were starting fresh.

It was true about the “jet,” but it wasn’t true of me.  I wasn’t starting fresh.

And that’s what he told me.  He said when it comes to flying, what happened in the past (even a second ago) is nowhere near as important as what’s happening right now.  To survive, I had to constantly renew that mindset of letting the past go and processing what was going on right now to get ahead of the game.

The alternative was to crash and burn.

And so, I adopted a new phrase, and a new mindset; “New day, new jet.”  It served as a reminder to set aside the past and deal with the now in an ever-changing environment.  It encourages me to stay in the fight right now, and not try to fight the past (which I cannot change) nor the future (which I cannot control).  It helps me bounce back more quickly when I make mistakes or come up short.

Now I know that life is much more complex than this simple phrase.  We can not and should not just wipe out our past.  Our past may need to be dealt with.  It might require professional help, like therapy.  That’s OK.

But when you find yourself “in the mix” and need to just get through the current emergency, it just might help to set aside any mistakes and start fresh in the moment.

It’s a new day, new jet… and you have the aircraft called 2018.  You’ve got this, as long as you’ve got the right instructor pilot.

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Is 43:19 ESV)

Fight the good fight warriors!
Pastor Bill
The Xena Project

Stay tuned for more information that will continue to build resilience and faith, especially for Veterans, First Responders, and their families, from The Xena Project.  Want to help The Xena Project change lives?  Check out the rest of the website and consider taking a swipe at the “Donate” button.  Your support means so much to so many… Thanks a million!

 

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