How do I begin to summarize my experience at the Wild at Heart Boot Camp in one neat, tidy blog entry? I guess I need to resolve the idea that it can’t really be done, and that both you and I would be far better off understanding that my experience and revelations will most likely pop up in blogs from here on out as different teachings rise to the surface in relevance when life triggers them.
I had an amazing experience–a life-changing experience. The fear that rested in the pit of my stomach throughout the weekend was this: "What’s going to make this different, Joel? How is the change you feel in your spirit going to stick this time when similar experiences have left you the same? Why do you think you have what it takes now?"
It’s far easier to come back from things like the Wild at Heart Boot Camp with few expectations for yourself. That way you don’t set yourself up for failure and disappointment. I was tempted to do it–literally. It wasn’t just a thought that crossed my mind here and there, but a constant prodding to "take it easy" on myself and not get my hopes too high–to "be realistic" and not expect the sweeping changes to feel necessary.
That’s exactly what I was told to expect, and that’s exactly the lie most of us buy into time and time again. We’re told we don’t have what it takes–that our lives are a case study in failure, in dreams unreachable, in hopes dashed, in settling for less than our heart’s desire, in living sinful, pitiful excuses of the Christian life.
Don’t you feel like that sometimes, if not most of the time? Aren’t you plagued with the sense that there is more out there to be had? But aren’t you a little timid putting hope in it? Do you feel a little embarrassed thinking YOU could have it? Does it seem a little ego-centric? Do you feel like you aren’t worthy of the great life God offers…because of things x, y, and z that you’ve done or have been done to you?
Well, that’s a lie. That’s a lie and that’s a lie. Our lives are bigger and have greater potential than we can possibly imagine. Just look at the story we’re part of: an all-powerful trinity existed before time. A rogue servant of the king rose up against the all-mighty and challenged his authority. The uprising was squelched, but players not destroyed. A glorious universe was spoken into existence and at the peak of this creation was a man and woman–whom the creator set upon the throne of Earth to rule and reign over. The rebellion deceived the man and woman and now the creator is set to win back his people–his bride. The glorious, sinless groom humbled himself and died that his bride might live forever.
What a tale! And we think the price of gas is important!?! Give me a break…the stakes are WAY higher. We’ve just been taken out of the Great Play and told our role isn’t important. We’ve been defeated–told it’s too late and that there are others designed for the really important things of God.
I’ll say it again: it’s a lie, it’s a lie, it’s a lie. We DO have a role to play. Just look at the life of the first and only man to completely fulfill God’s perfect will for his life: Jesus of Nazareth. He was born illegitimately to poor parents in an animal stable and was taken back home to a crappy town to be raised by a blue-collar father who eventually vanished from the scene. Jesus wasn’t married, didn’t have kids, didn’t own a home (let along a fine wardrobe) and didn’t have good looks.
Yet, this man walks upon the scene and declares that he’s come to "heal the broken hearted and set the captives free." Who does he think he is?
Some of you say, "Well…he is the son of GOD…and kinda God incarnate." True…but doesn’t scripture tell us that we are God’s children as well (Gal. 3:26)? Did Christ NOT become fully human–that he could be our sacrifice and fully bear our sins? Did Christ NOT tell us that we would do even GREATER works than he–because he was going to the Father?
The call on all our lives is of EPIC proportions–just like Christ’s. He just didn’t mess it up like we do. But the thing is, because he didn’t mess it up–because he went all that way and did it right–we get to live in freedom from our shortcomings. There’s actually more responsibility on our end because we are now without excuse. "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness" (2 Peter 1:3). We’re still called to fulfill our EPIC callings.
Believe it folks. And don’t believe it in a "Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so" way. Believe in the depths of your heart. The Bible isn’t a story of exceptions to the rules–freak, miraculous instances that only take place for a choice few people. It’s a story of what life with God is like. It’s a story that we’re all wrapped up in. And it’s a story God desperately calls us to engage in.
The world NEEDS us to live lives that people write history books about. God has chosen us–mankind–as the transport system of his love. That’s what we’re enlisted in his army for. When we signed up for the "Get out of hell free" salvation card, we were really signing up to be bearers of his name and message–to rule and reign as his representatives on earth. That was the original plan before sin fouled things up. And that’s what salvation is all about: restoring us to the original state.
Think about that: we were once glorious–as God intended us. Doesn’t that stir an itch in you to get back where you were–like an athlete who was once the star player but suffered a terrible injury? The knowledge of "what could have been" is haunting to the player–it’s what drives him or her in rehab. Yet, we’ve come to just accept it. We’ve torn our ACL and just live with it. We call up the second hand store and ask for a cane or crutch rather than the physical therapist with the question of "When can I play again?"
I could go on and on. That’s just a snippet of what I brought back with me from Colorado and Eldredge’s Boot Camp. I’ve been fighting majorly to maintain that mindset. That’s what this entry title is all about. It’s a mindset we’re feared of having. It means hell for the enemy when we live with purpose–when we live like our lives matter and that something great is at stake.