Operation Restored Warrior is a ministry to the military where they go after these guy’s hearts. SEALS, Rangers, Special Forces, Delta Force, Marine Recon, Airborne. Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq veterans are invited to a 5 day of intensive, Wild at Heart like encounter at a ranch in Colorado. What they find as they go into their story and lives is that it is actually the wounds from their childhood that define them more than the military. There is an event that happens in war that brings it to the surface but as they step back and look at it, in the 100 men that have come through this program, every single one of them have a childhood wound running deep.
As SEALs, Delta Forces, etc. they’ve figured it out that “you’re on your own”. To the world, they’ve proven, “I have what it takes”. There is no question, they are the real deal. But they hide behind it and Satan absolutely takes them out. Most have personal lives that are destroyed, family lives destroyed. Many times it is from them trying to exert total control over their lives and it just doesn’t work. They look, to the outward world, like a man’s man (their pose) but they have father wounds, a search for validation, etc.
95+% of these men, in this ministry’s experience, when they first come into the military, are wounded, wounded men. They come in trying to get validation through “Do I have what it takes?” They get that answered in the military way i.e. they reach the “best of the best” status but they never get it answered at the heart level. Becoming a SEAL is really no different than an utter drivenness that propels you to becoming the CEO of IBM. We may reach “that place” but it never answers the heart question.
These guys – our most elite warriors – usually have no idea there is a spiritual battle underway for their soul. They go off to war and experience some horrific things and then are pretty much left on their own. It has some devastating consequences. So in this ministry, they go at their pose and their wound. “What is the message of your life?” And they have them tell their story.
For 80-85% of them one of their biggest wounds from childhood is abandonment. Remember, these are Navy SEALS, Special Forces, etc. They dig deeper and ask God, “What else?” What else is in my story? What was said against me? What were the lies spoken into me?
They gave an example of a Staff Sargent who led 12 men based on intel that insurgents were building and stockpiling IEDs. They go in. Break into 3 groups of 4. Head into a big area of high grass. They walk into a booby trap, ambush and fire fight. Right off the bat, his best friend by his side takes what proves to be, a fatal head wound. Then two privates get shot. He’s tending to his friend and returning fire. Down to his last 100 grounds and two grenades, he has enough ammo to just get out.
So he fights his way out of the grass and rushes back to post which was nearby, rearms himself with as much ammo as he can carry and goes back, by himself. He takes out the entire insurgent group and uncovers the largest stash of IEDs in Iraq. Sets Al Qaeda way back. He’s awarded the Silver Star. He’s a guy hero’s are made of.
When he gets to the ranch, he’s totally taken out. They go into his story and the singular message of his life from his father is “You’ll never get anything right. You’re such a screw-up”.
You can guess what he was hearing in his head and his heart after this battle – “At that moment in the battle, I should have known better.” And he lived with that. And it ate him up. Sometimes God will raise events to unearth these agreements we make so that He can heal them. He was shut down, carrying deep guilt and shame stemming from a foundational belief of “I can’t get anything right”.
We have to heal the soul. Drivenness cannot fix this wound. “I’ll deal with it” won’t cure it. Walling it off and compartmentalizing it won’t make it go away. We have to invite Jesus into these wounds. What was He saying to us as little boys when these wounds came?
So they took this Sargent back into the battle. Satan was there pounding away condemning him. So in listening prayer they asked him to go back into the battle, into the pain, the smoke, the gunfire, etc. where all his team died and invite Jesus into this deep wounded space.
“What is Jesus saying to you right in this moment?”
And it happens almost every time they do this with these men, this man said, “Jesus is saying to me, “I’m His son. I didn’t mess up. I did what I was trained to do. It wasn’t my fault”.
These men are gladiators and it defines their lives. They hide behind it. It works. For a while. Until an event like this happens and the walls come crumbling down. Eventually the drivenness doesn’t anesthetize. The booze doesn’t make the pain go away. The porn doesn’t bring healing. Eventually they look UP.
When they look UP and invite Jesus back into this most wounded and sometimes ashamed places, they receive healing and truth and restoration.
So…what about you? “What else?” What else is in my story? What was said against me? What were the lies spoken into me? What agreements do I carry like “I don’t matter” or “It’s up to me” or “I’ll always be a screw-up”?
Perhaps it’s time you drop the pose and pull off the bandages and ask Jesus into your wounded places.