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Posts Tagged ‘heroic battles’

The 99% Game Plan

September 24, 2010 1 comment

Part of being young is being stupid. As a boy growing up in the days of Evel Knievel, I was inspired to more than my fair share. They knew me by name in the ER. I remember one particularly nasty little altercation with the ground. Gravity was involved – as it often is. We had a trampoline in our backyard, and I was getting quite good at a full flip with a half twist. I practiced this over and over. In my mind, I was an Olympic athlete executing a perfect 10. One sunny Saturday, I decided that doing a dismount like the pros do would be just the thing to put the polish on the routine.

I started out by just jumping off the trampoline and landing on the ground with a flourish. I would try to point my toes and give a little wave of the hand, with all the snap an untrained seventh grader could muster. It was pretty pitiful. It really needed some pizazz. I don’t know when the brilliant idea of adding the flip with a half twist to the dismount struck me, but like a space rock hurling from the outer reaches, strike it did. I knew I had to try.

Well, I started practicing these little dismounts. The great thing was that the ground was even a little wet and soft. It really didn’t hurt so much landing. It looked awesome! After ten or so times, my socks were nice and wet and the trampoline was getting wetter with each try.

You know where this is going, don’t you?

The bones in my forearm made two neat, audible snaps… clear as a bell. I can still hear them today. Time slows to a crawl when you’re watching your arm bend into a neat little right angle between your elbow and wrist!

My bright idea turned out to be less than stellar. There were a lot of places I could have stopped this little event from happening. Let’s list some:

  • Don’t buy a trampoline
  • Don’t do dismounts without a spotter
  • Don’t do dismounts at all
  • Stop if the ground is wet
  • Use pads on the ground
  • Go watch TV instead
  • Be really, really skilled in falling so I can avoid breaking my arm

There were so many better boundaries that I could have put in place. By doing this crazy flip off the trampoline, I was just setting myself up for a potentially life changing injury. I was relying on my skill in the latest of moments to avert disaster.

Somehow, we think that the place to put the boundary is where our toes are right up against the line between sanity and sin, when we’re struggling to stay on the sanity side of the line.

We let all these thoughts rattle in our heads… Fantasies that inspire acting out. Desires that sooth the pain and hurt from years past. Eyes that roam. We decide that if we ever find ourselves at that certain website, or in the park, or going to lunch with that woman in accounting, or face to face with a prostitute, that we would run. If those are our only boundaries then we are kidding ourselves.

Putting our only boundaries at the end game is creating a 99% failure plan. It’s the Hail Mary play – a desperate plan in a desperate moment almost certain to fail in the long run. It’s like jumping from an airplane with no parachute with the plan of finding a soft spot to land. The reality is that temptation starts as a small seed – a little 1% thought. It’s tiny but can grow to immense tragedy in our lives.

Next article – Drastically increase your chances for success – the 1% rule.

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Start thinking about the positives

May 10, 2010 1 comment

I have been on both sides of this issue; steeped in sex and living in sexual purity. There aren’t many people out there who have really lived both sides. I can tell you with certainty…given the choice between the two I’d choose sexual purity any day!

So often the battle seems to be about the struggles, hard work and effort that it takes. It’s important to keep the positives in you mind as well. Here are some things that started happening to me as I became more victorious over my sexual sin.

Less Shame. Sexual sin creates massive shame in our lives. We feel terrible about what we are doing. This is the red light on the dashboard telling us that something needs attention. Shame bleeds into every aspect of our lives. One place it showed up for me is in my relationships. I found that I felt so bad about myself that I felt ashamed around others. The last five years have had so much less of that shame. I can look people in the eye with thinking “If they only knew how black my heart is”.

Accomplishment. It really feels great to look back and see how far I have come. My life today is 180 degrees different than it was before recovery and it feels great. I feel so much more able to achieve the things that I need to achieve. Sexual sin really sinks it’s talons in our hearts. Thanks be to God…it’s one of my crowning accomplishments of my life.

Much closer walk with the Lord. Ten years ago I thought that it was impossible to have a consistent quiet time. Now its four out of seven days. That is paying huge dividends in my heart and my understanding of who God is.

Respect from my wife. Just the other day she looked me in the eye and said. “You have really changed. I don’t know what it is for sure and when it exactly happened but you are totally different.” Man! That feels like streams in the dry, hot, thirsty desert! It feels so good to know that she sees my efforts, respects me as a man who takes responsibility and does the right thing now. It’s great to feel like her hero, a Godly man, an overcomer. Hearing her express that and seeing it in her actions makes a HUGE difference to me.

A better relationship with my wife. The days of blaming her for not living up to my distorted sexual standards are over. This has made such a huge difference in all areas in our life together. There is so much more peace. It’s funny but when you are so focused on a goal sometimes it actually drives a person in the opposite direction. The more you try to make it happen, the more the other person goes the other direction.

Prayer. My prayer life was nonexistent before. Really, the only prayers I would say were when I was asked to pray in public. I spend most drives to work praying now and they are far more focused on me learning who God is than me asking God for some favor.

Spiritual Direction. Before I was so clouded with sin that I could hardly hear the Holy Spirit shout. Now I have some pretty clear direction and a very clear sense of what I need to be doing. It is very freeing to be able to say “No” because I truly know that I am not called. I am free to say “Yes” to good things that I have been called to do and work wholeheartedly in that direction.

Peace. No more covering tracks. No more fear when someone is using my computer. No more worry about being discovered, about people really knowing who I am.

Friends closer than brothers. Before I wondered if people would still like me or accept me if they only “knew what I knew” about myself. The good news is I have found brothers that won’t “run from the room screaming” when I talk about what I think is my worse stuff. I know men who have been engaged in heroic battles of good and evil and have won. They are truly modern day heroes that nobody knows. Don’t get me wrong, I have some great friends from before that are still friends now. It’s just that I now know that there are people who accept me…all of me…with the love of the Lord. Wonderful!

What I am trying to say here is that it’s important to have a sense of where you life could go and who you could be if you focus on this issue and whip it. I have been on both sides of this issue; steeped in sex and living in sexual purity. There aren’t many people out there who have really lived both sides. I can tell you with certainty…given the choice between the two I’d choose sexual purity any day!