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By Jamie Warner –
So often, life can turn on a dime. One minute you think you’ve got “it” all figured out, even if your “it” is misery and hopelessness, at least you’ve got “it” down. You know what the score is. You think you know what’s what. And then… rock bottom. And sometimes, when the bottom falls out of rock bottom, you find yourself at Mighty Oaks’ Legacy Program.
Last month’s group of Warriors was in that place. All twenty-four of them. The ice breaker exercise revealed a common theme amongst the men: despair and depression. And for some reason, the number 24 kept coming to mind as a theme for this group. Truth be told, I’m a huge fan of the band Switchfoot, and their song “24” kept coming to mind when thinking over the week. Turns out, it’s fitting. Bear with me as I walk you through the connections.

The first night, rife with despair and depression, reminded me of parts of the first stanza:

…Twenty-four failures

Twenty-four tries

Twenty-four finds me

In twenty-fourth place

Twenty-four drop outs

At the end of the day

Life is not what I thought it was

Twenty-four hours ago…

For all of this week’s Warriors, life was not what they thought it would be. One would think, after years of honorably serving your country, you’d feel on top of the world. If not first place, certainly somewhere in the top 10. And yet, a reality of war is the battles follow you home in your dreams, nightmares, and attitudes. Life can take a dramatic turn in a single day – 24 hours – for good or ill.

And I’m not who I thought I was twenty-four hours ago

But the mission of Legacy Program is to break-down strongholds and misperceptions, to dismantle the false assumptions we so often repeat as “truth” and shed a new light on them, to recognize that we so often wear a mask in the attempt to hide what’s really going on in our lives and hearts and to take the courageous step of removing that mask in a bold step towards authenticity.

Twenty-four reasons to admit that I’m wrong

With all my excuses still twenty-four strong

You see, no matter what our “reasons” or “excuses” for the chaos and destruction we’ve waged on our family and friends, there is purpose to our lives. And there is a Creator who has plans for our lives, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future. Legacy Program is about understanding that we were created to live authentic Biblical lives, taking responsibility for our actions, control of our fears, and leading those in our sphere of influence.

See I’m not copping out, not copping out, not copping out

When You’re raising the dead in me

When we come to the realization that we are in control of our decisions, that we can choose how to react to any given situation, we begin to see ourselves, not as victims, as victors! When we decide to not cop-out, to not make excuses, but to take responsibility for what we can and to lead, then the game changes. We begin to see every day differently.

I want to see miracles, see the world change

Wrestled the angel, for more than a name

For more than a feeling

For more than a cause

I’m singing Spirit take me up in arms with

You And You’re raising the dead in me

Twenty-four voices

With twenty-four hearts

With all of my symphonies

In twenty-four parts.

I’m not copping out.

Not copping out.

Not copping out.

And that’s exactly what the group of Warriors did in San Miguel, California, this September. They stopped “copping out.” They rejected the lies of despair and depression, stagnation, and hopelessness and embraced the hope and joy and purpose that comes with aligning their lives with the life they were created to live. Lives were saved, families are being restored, and Legacies are changing for the better.