Years ago, I was tucked in a cubby aboard the Pacific Grace sailing ship with thirty young Christian leaders from across Canada. It was part of the Outdoor Christian Education Leadership Program we were enrolled in called Kaleo. The sailing ship was meant to teach us about leadership.
Instead of leading, I laid curled with a crooked heart rate and low temperature in the bottom of the moving vessel. I could hear lapping waves and lively footsteps on the deck but I was too cold and sick to move. I remember feeling so useless as I compared myself to the other leaders aboard … I could hardly sit up…. Some leader.
The eight-month leadership program was designed to be a metaphorical green house where young leaders could take great strides of growth to reach their full potential. Growing as Disciples and following the strides of Jesus was our greatest aim. That week, the only strides I was concerned with were those between my cubby and the ship’s edge … should I need to throw up.
The symptoms plaguing my body that week would eventually be diagnosed and I would be prescribed different treatments to support my heart. A prescription consists of instructions given by a professional to bring restoration to a person. It is extremely important to me to take care of my physical heart. Doctors support me, but ultimate I take ownership of my heart, and heed their wisdom. Similarly, I am the only person capable to create and maintain a heart-prescription for wholeness in my life– and the same is true for you.
The most important heart prescription includes instructions to maintain a vital relationship with the living God. I’ve been given very specific instructions to take care of my physical heart and when I ignore these instructions I feel the ramifications right away. When I neglect heart-wholeness however, I don’t always feel the consequences quickly, and so I must be intentional to remember that I cannot have a strong heart if it is not whole.
My Strong Heart Prescription
1. Soak your heart in grace every morning and every night.
2. Diet: Follow a prayer plan. Your heart will starve without this.
3. Diet: Feed your heart imagination, awe and wonder.
4. Remove the Ego from the heart as needed, and apply the words: Fully Loved. Do not strive to earn love anywhere, love others freely from his vast overflow.
5. Watch your wait. Trust that God is always up to good on your behalf.
6. Weigh in before you work out. Let God weigh in on your plans before you carry them out.
7. Courage repetitions. Get out of your comfort zone often.
8. Lather with Hope Soap. Practice writing gratitude and scripting the things you are looking forward to each day.
9. Meditation Medication. Practice meditating on God’s love.
10. Daily Dose of Diversity. Build relationships with a wide variety of people and experience the creativity and vastness of God’s heart through each one.
Lying in that bed on the Pacific Grace, I was convinced that the most valuable leaders were on the deck doing amazing things for God. However, God doesn’t place his created ones on a “value scale” dependant on their performance. We are all of equal value because we are all His workmanship. Since then, I’ve discovered I cannot add value to me, but can always add value to others by worshipping who He is with my whole strong heart. Thus … the most important part of the whole-heart prescription…
Integrate all of your dear life under one bold banner: Worship. Don’t allow compartments to fragment your heart. Keep programs, commitments, responsibilities and relationships in one worship-centered container. Bring all of yourself, heart-mind-body-spirit, into every space you enter as a living sacrifice to God himself. This, after all, is to live with your whole strong heart.
Perhaps the most important leadership training I have every received happened in that tiny cubby on the Pacific Grace. God so often works unlikely miracles in the most obscure places. I think God’s greatest Grace unfolds when He reminds us that strong-hearted leadership is always rooted in simple and consistent companionship with Him.