Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand Isaiah 41:10
When I speak to groups about leadership, I often start off with a story. I talk with the group about the story of Theodore Roosevelt Jr. His father, of course, was the 26th President of the United States. Roosevelt Jr. has a lengthy back story, but I will mention only this- he was not supposed to be on Utah Beach on June 6, 1944, and he had to fight to get there.
Finally given permission to directly lead his men into battle, Brigadier General Roosevelt was confronted with the chaos and terror of D-Day. He was the highest-ranking officer in the first invasion wave, and he would have it no other way. He would personally lead the way.
In the confusion of the landing, everything went wrong. His landing crafts had drifted far from their designated landing site, the promised air cover had not done the job of clearing the beach and providing craters for cover, and they were under heavy enemy fire. When asked by his lieutenants about orders for what to do, Roosevelt calmly said, “Gentlemen, we’ll start the war from right here!”
I love that. Roosevelt showed calm and clear leadership under extreme pressure. He had fought with his superiors to even be with the troops – Generals no longer were on the front lines with their troops by World War II.
The mental health concept I also love is this- when we are confronted with difficult situations, there is no time for self-pity, blame, and inaction. Roosevelt spoke the obvious truth that, if the troops did not rally and move forward immediately, they would be wiped out. They had to rally together and be united in the effort. They also needed the belief that they could still be effective warriors, and that they could actually do something. They were not defeated just because the odds were so against them.
Roosevelt Jr. gave his men hope, courage, and direction that day. He would be dead just 5 weeks later of a heart attack. That was one of the reasons that his superiors had not wanted him in the front. His health was that poor. Later, Roosevelt would win the Medal of Honor for his actions that day.
I tell that story at times to my clients as a reminder that no situation is hopeless unless we deem it to be so and then quit. When we quit, it is hopeless.
So, whatever you are facing, have the hope and courage to take action Don’t wait for something else to happen- start the war from right here.
Prayer: Thank you Father for examples of hope and courage. Give us that strength right when we need it, Amen