If you’ve watched the movie “Brave Heart,” you should be familiar with Robert the Bruce. William Wallace, the hero of the movie, touches the heart of many including Robert the Bruce, a Scottish noble whose betrayal of Wallace leads to his execution. However, in real life, after Wallace’s execution, Robert the Bruce was so inspired by his life that he rose up and lead Scotland to freedom.
Robert the Bruce in 1329, as king of Scotland, requested on his death bed that his heart be removed from his body and taken on a crusade by a worthy knight. James Douglas, one of his best men was at his side and took on this responsibility requested by the king.
The heart of the king was put in a very small container and hung around Douglas’ neck. He carried it into every battle for the defense and freedom of Scotland until early spring of 1330. That spring in an ill-fated battle he found himself surrounded and death was certain and soon. In that moment Douglas reached for the container around his neck and pulled it off of his head, threw it deep within the enemy’s ranks and with a roar he cried out to his men, “Fight for the heart of your king!”
The Brave Heart movie is one of my favorites, but what Robert the Bruce did is what I called forward brave heart. He was determine to follow his king’s heart or die. That image, or even that last battle cry, lingers in my mind as I think about the internal battles of everyday life, the shortcomings or successes as an athlete.
One of my biggest fears in life is to succeed at something that in the end was not really worth fighting for. Have you ever thought about that possibility?
Once in a while I double-check the direction of my goals, dreams or visions to see where I am heading. I need to do this because I don’t want to be trapped pursuing a goal for the sake of a goal. I don’t want to be trapped in the idea of pursuing a “passion” without defining it for myself. I think when we don’t clearly define goals, visions, or passions, we quickly start to borrow from the common definitions of the masses.
The reason we have to borrow is because most of us have not taken the time to sit down and think carefully about our why, our purpose, our calling for the seasons of our lives.
This is exactly where I was a few years ago. I remember I wrestled because I was told that I could be a world champion and Olympic gold medalist. And so I worked hard to pursue those goals without questioning if any of those goals were being pursued as an end in itself. Also, I didn’t questioned whether those goals were mine or someone else’s. To be clear, I don’t think those goals are bad and if your path is taking you to be an Olympic athlete or compete at the highest level you can, and that is on the table, more power to you.
However, when we don’t stop to question the driving force behind our pursuits then we run the risk of chasing a goal because “someone else” told us, “someone else” dreamed about it, because “someone else” will be happy, because “someone else” was told by “someone else.” Your contribution to that goal sometimes is very minimal, but most of the work is on you.
I literally wrestle because I was told many things, positive things, which helped me. But what most people don’t tell you is what happens when you grab for a goal so strongly that your identity, worldview, or perception of success is completely dependent on whether you “win” something — and then that doesn’t happen.
Oh, yeah, some people do say something; “Try harder, don’t give up.” If you end up accomplishing those goals, someone will say, “Do it again!” That does not solve the existential questions of life, however.
It took some time, but when suddenly I started to lose wrestling matches that I thought I should have won, my worldview started to shatter. After all, I worked harder than they did, I thought. I sacrifice so much, I definitely deserve it, I thought.
With this kind of foundation in life, there is no surprise that sadness and depression are knocking at every disillusion. But unknown to me, Christ was behind the scene fighting for my heart. He was so serious about pursuing my heart that he was willing to die for me.
And because no one else in the world really understood the gravity of how lost I was despite being defined as a successful athlete, I had to at least listen to what Christ had to say.
So I started to read and listen to this historic person, named Jesus Christ. When reading the words of Jesus I think people have at least two reactions. One, we simply reject what He has to say about our lives or put Him off as another nice religious person. Or two, we begin to see that Jesus not only describes best our greatest problems, but that He also provides the remedy for them.
I just don’t know of anyone who died and resurrected to save me. If this is not true or historically verifiable by most people then I am a fool for following this king. However, if you go where the evidence leads you and find out that it is true, then that is a king worth following because He fought for your heart and my heart until the last breath.
Since I am very skeptical and analytical in mind, religious talks don’t fill me, but challenging and debunking claims of truth helped me somehow get closer to the truth that Christ is the King of kings. And, as Robert de Bruce had a change of heart by the bravery of William Wallace so I am having a change of heart, little by little, by what Jesus continues to do in me.