The last four days have been absolutely amazing. I had the chance to spend time in the mountains of Colorado and attend the Wild At Heart Boot Camp. It was an experience like I could have never imagined. I am going to attempt to do this Boot Camp some sense of justice in sharing some of my experience. First, if you have never heard of the book, Wild At Heart, it is a book that I would highly recommend. A friend of mine, KC, gave me this book a few years back when I was going through a great deal of life struggle and trying to return to God. The book sat on my desk for well over a year before I finally picked it up in the summer of 2013. When I finally did read it, it was life changing for me and really began to drive my journey. Definitely a must read.
Wild At Heart was written many years ago, by John Eldredge. He heads up Ransomed Heart Ministries in Colorado Springs.The unique thing about John is that he is real. He is not a religious theologian and is truly after God’s heart and helping people find their way to God. John and his small team conduct this and other Boot Camps. They are there in person and genuinely care about the hearts of men and helping them discover who they really are in God’s eyes, the image bearers of God, and discovering the wild and masculine nature of God and themselves. The journey also takes you through your wounds, renouncing and forgiveness of those that wounded you and of yourself, discovering your real name and identity in God’s eyes, becoming the warrior we are meant to be, learning to pursue the beautiful side of God’s image in Eve, and discovering that we are in fact God’s sons and how he wants to Father us into our inheritance in His kingdom.
Let me just say that this is not your run of the mill, hand holding, singing by the fire, men’s retreat. This is a raw and real treasure hunt getting into the heart of a man. The Ransomed Heart team, guides you through a real discovery journey in addition to a great deal of time to yourself to just walk and commune with God. Again it far surpassed anything I could have hoped for or expected. In my time of prayer and being with God I heard Him talking with me like I never had before. He opened my heart, opened my eyes, and allowed me to discover freedom and my true self. Putting aside the poser in me and the fig leaf that has plagued man since the fall of creation when Adam chose Eve over God. If you think I am crazy about hearing God speak to me, you’re wrong. He talks to us, we just have to be willing and open to hear it. All those thoughts that run through your head are not just you. You just have to listen.
Let me get into the setting. We were high in the Colorado mountains at Crooked Creek Ranch, near Fraser, CO at about 8,500 feet. What an awesome and majestic setting with the snow covered mountains rising high around us. Crooked Creek is an incredible place. It is a Young Life Camp and they set it up right. I was completely unplugged from the world for the first time in a long time. That in of itself was incredible. I was able to eliminate all distractions and let my heart experience every aspect of what God had in store. In the time leading up to the trip, I knew the enemy was attacking me. He was pissed and trying to dissuade me. I could feel it in my attitude at times, constant headaches, and feeling anxious and fears. He was relentless, so I had to be relentless in my prayer and arming myself. Getting there was half the battle.
So now I am there. What to expect. First, I was fortunate to be roomed with guys from Georgia. That was cool. Guys from all walks of life. Pastor, retail, emergency services, doctors, and more. All different guys, but all on the same journey of discovering who they were as men and discover everything God had for them. I had the chance to really bond with these guys I now call my Band of Brothers. This is something I never had. Guys I could do life with, so very blessed to have these guys come into my life and share the experience with them. These are connections I look forward to maintaining once home.
Through the experience, I was also able to further discover the larger story I am apart of. How my life plays an intricate part of God’s larger story. There are some, even so called religious leaders and Christians that will say God does not have time for all the small things in our life. I’ve heard this before. Let me tell you, He cares about every single bit of it. He cares if we skate through life in our own small story. He cares about the wounds that help bring us into sin and our false self. He cares about every single bit of. Above all, He has told us our hearts are good and made new because of Christ Jesus. Our hearts are not bad and we do not have to spend life carrying the burdens of our wounds. We can have life, in Christ, and we can live free from the bondage of sin and the religious veil that God himself tore in two, but so many religious ‘christian’ denominations have put back up with rules and false dogmas that are not from God and keep people in bondage.
So let’s journey a little into the sessions we did have. John and his team talked through various aspects of the masculine soul, our woundedness, our real identity, the warrior in all men, the lover in us and the beauty to rescue, and our place as God’s sons and allowing God to Father us as He desires. These guys shared so much Truth from Scripture and then their personal testimonies and struggles in life. It helped to make it all very real and relatable. We spent time in deep prayer together as a group, about 440 guys. Something else I have never really allowed is people to pray over me in a time where I was just broke down. Two team members walked to me, sat with me, listened to my story and then just prayed over me. They genuinely cared and it was something I desperately needed. I have always put on a false self shouldering many burdens that weren’t mine to bare, even acting strong when I was completely broken. I could bare my heart to these guys and my Band of Brothers free from any judgment, and they the same. Words can’t even begin to describe the power God poured into this time.
The greatest part of it all was being able to sit by myself or walk around and just talk to God and listen to what He had to share with me. Those moments of prayer, listening in silence with no distractions , and writing in my journal what I was hearing was incredible. God helped me to renounce my wounds and agreements, discover my real self in His eyes, discover the warrior in me, where I need to better pursue my bride and better initiate and validate my children as they come into being young men and women, and validating me as a man bringing me into sonship with Him. Simply incredible time with the Father. I could go on there forever.
Another part of the journey was the adventure. Discovering the sense of adventure that we lose when we leave childhood. Growing up it was all about adventure and discovery. We lose that when we become adults and the world tells us otherwise. There’s so much to see and learn about in God’s kingdom. As part of my journey, one of my brothers and I strapped on snowshoes and headed up the mountain behind us. Probably pushed near 9,500 to 10,000 feet. We met up with some other guys and made the long journey to the top and down the other side. The view of the valley from up there was breathtaking. It was a challenging hike trudging through 2+ feet of snow and tested you physically as a low lander, but we pushed through and made it. God had something special for the few of us that got to experience that.
All in all this was a journey I desperately needed and I am ever thankful that the Father brought me on this trip. I discovered a great deal about myself and feel very ready to go back to the world as a changed man with a renewed since of hope, armed with the armor of God, and ready to fight for my heart, the heart of my family, and to help others discover the heart of God and all God has for them in their lives. I am thankful for the connections and new Brothers.
I firmly believe in the ministry that God has inspired John and his team to share with the world. It’s very powerful and speaking to men and women all over the world. We had guys from Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, and Brazil among other places. People may think they are just about making money, but they are not. The cost paid for the event with all the food, which was awesome, accommodations, and resources was well worth it. It’s not overpriced. They only run a couple of these events a year on purpose, and all money for resources purchased there (books, DVDs, audio resources ) is donated. They don’t keep a dime of that. It’s very real. They invite us all to take the message and resources out to the world to share with others. I intend to do just that. You guys, I highly recommend you taking a look at this book and others they have if you have not. If you have questions about it, let me know. If you feel God calling you to a Boot Camp, go. You will not regret it. This won’t be my last event. Ladies, I recommend you check out Captivating, written by John and his wife Stasi. My wife read it and it’s been life changing. They also have a Captivating events for women in the same type of setting, but geared toward the feminine heart. My wife plans to attend one in the near future. Discover that you are the image of God’s beauty, mercy, and tenderness. You are the final touch of God’s creation.
I know I have shared a lot. This is just the tip of the sword of all I experienced. There is so much more, but I will leave it at this. Men, we are the image bearers of God’s wild and masculine side. We all need to discover this and get out from behind the fig leaf, the poser that we all are behind. Take this journey. Check out Ransomed Hearts website htttp://www.ransomedheart.com. It’s journey I promise you will never regret.
Until next time, God Bless.