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Posts Tagged ‘reducing temptation’

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.

Fire Drill – Magazine asiles

May 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Magazines in America are getting very aggressive in their attempts to get you eye. A trip to the grocery store is like a leisurely stroll in a mine field. The worst thing about magazines are the covers that use airbrushed women get grab your attention. The problem is that once you see it, it’s in your brain.

I do three things in the grocery store. First, I avoid the magazine aisle if at all possible. I find that for me it’s better to not go there to begin with. Second, if I have to go to the aisle then I look at the ceiling, the floor or the cart that I’m pushing. Lastly, the checkout aisle. I look at candy, the scanner, the cashier’s face, the card reader, the stuff in the cart. The key for me is looking at anything other than the magazine covers.

To Do List – Turn from your sin

April 30, 2010 Leave a comment
Think about 1 Cor 10:13. God promises a way out. All too often we sit and pray and ask God to deliver on his promise and we feel like he never shows up. We get madder and madder feeling like God abandoned us and that he doesn’t exist. The reality is that instead of using God’s way out we are waiting for God to do it all for us.

Porn. Get rid of it. If you don’t trash it you will go back to it. This stuff has no business being in your house, your computer or anywhere else that you can get to it. Throw away all videos you have, including the R rated videos. These are triggers. Stay away from convenience stores. You don’t need to have the magazines screaming at you from the rack.

Affairs. If it’s a relationship you need to break it off immediately and never have contact with that person again – ever. If it’s internet chatting, Facebook or other “social media” that you use, then you need to abandon/delete those accounts, delete the emails and the email accounts. Purge everything. Don’t leave any stone unturned.

Denial runs strong here. It’s pretty common for someone to think “You don’t understand how bad my marriage is. My spouse doesn’t understand me. Sex is lousy. They are always on my case or worse yet, absent. But this person I have the affair with…we study scripture and pray together. I married the wrong person. It was my fault, not God’s. Somehow I missed that special person God picked out for me. Now I realize it. We belong together.”

Let me be perfectly clear here. This is all a pack of lies designed to mess your life up. If you are married to them, then they are God’s choice for you. Honestly, I have never seen a failing marriage where both people were not at fault. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work on your marriage.

Prostitution. Never return to that area where you would go to hire them – ever. You need to avoid the temptations that get you hooked in. Stop carrying money and get some accountability for the cash that is in your pocket.

Have you ever heard the joke about the guy in the flood? He was resolved that he was going to have faith in the Lord – that the Lord would save him. Warnings came and he stood his ground, A Sheriff’s car came buy and he stood his ground even though the water was rising. A boat came by and he stood his ground. He ended up drowning. All the while we has believing that God would deliver him. When he got to heaven he asked God (quite angrily, I might add) where was he? God responded “I sent, warnings, a car, a boat. What more do you want?”.

Think about 1 Cor 10:13. God promises a way out. All too often we sit and pray and ask God to deliver on his promise and we feel like he never shows up. We get madder and madder feeling like God abandoned us and that he doesn’t exist. The reality is that instead of using God’s way out we are waiting for God to do it all for us. We have lots of ways that God has given us in the form of filters, delete buttons, brothers in the Lord. We are swimming in help, we just don’t take it.

Victory Is Possible is written by someone who has struggled with sexual sin for decades. I have found victory since 2005. I am not a licensed or trained counselor or pastor and do not pretend to be one. I post my experience here in a hope that you may learn from that experience in your own journey of recovery. As always…I encourage you to seek the the will of the Lord and the advice of wise friends, counselors and pastors before making major life changes. You may contact Victory Is Possible at victoryispossible@gmail.com. All contacts will be kept confidential.

H.A.L.T.S!

April 9, 2010 Leave a comment

This is a great acronym to learn. It tells you when you are most likely to be tempted and when you are most likely to give in.

Hungry
Angry
Lonely
Tired
Stressed

Hungry? Eat.
Angry…what’s bugging you? Think about it and deal with the issue in a Godly, productive way.
Lonely. Call a friend. Make a friend. Be a friend to someone. Plug in a and serve the Lord somewhere.
Tired. Get some sleep.
Stressed. Talk about it. Call your accountability partner.

This almost sounds too obvious to say but there are so many better solutions for these issues that sexual sin. Although sexual sin helps you feel good short term, in the long run…it’s just a deeper hole.

Fire Drills – Traveling

April 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Here is another one that I hear quite a few guys do. When they travel some guys are tempted to watch the bad stuff on TV or go out to strip bars or worse. How they deal with this is to line up brother ahead of time to check in with by phone. For some guys it may be first thing in the evening and then later at night. For other guys check in frequency may be every few days. It all depends on the guy, his struggles and the trip.

The key is having  a brother who know you and who cares for you to check in with. It doesn’t have to be the Spanish inquisition, just some gentle questions:

How was your day?

What else are you doing on this trip?

How did your meeting go?

Feeling tempted?

What’s you plan if the temptation hits later tonight?

I’ll be at home tonight but I’ll keep my phone on for you.

Easy thing to do that can make a huge difference.

Fire Drills – Traveling – TV

April 6, 2010 3 comments

Hey…here is a real easy fire drill that just takes a little forethought.  I know a guy who used to watch x-rated videos. Now that he is clean and sober he no longer does that. Problem is that he travels. Even being in a hotel with a working television is a temptation.

His solution? Duct tape! First thing he does when he gets in the room is unplugs the TV and wraps the plug in duct tape…lot’s of duct tape! Seems to be a good deterrent for him. Now when he is tempted it’s so much effort to get the TV on it stops him cold!

Bouncing Your Eyes

April 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker and Mike Yorkey in their book Every Man’s Battle describe a strategy they call “Bouncing your eyes.” It has been a very helpful idea for me. The basic idea is to “train” your eyes to automatically react and look away from your temptations. Remember last week’s email on fire drills? This is really just a specific kind of fire drill for your eyes.

You start out by identifying a situation that tempts you, for instance, a jogger on the side of the road. Decide now that you are going to look some other direction. I look at the lines on the road, the other side, the car in front of me or even the rear view mirror. The key here is you look anywhere (safely please) other than the jogger.

Wait a minute! The first look is free right? No. Wrong. Negative. Never! That idea is sheer nonsense invented by a lustful, deceitful heart. If it’s lust, then the first look is never free. It’s the start of a process that leads to full blown sin.

You gotta practice! This is like lifting weights, the longer you train the more you can lift. Don’t expect to be Arnold Schwarzenegger on the first try! The first time your brain is going to scream, it’s gonna hate not looking. You’ve got to keep at it and practice. It gets better with practice.

If you do this enough it becomes an automatic reflex. The other day I had a situation where the gal on TV bent over right in front of the camera. I am certain that the only reason the shot was in the show was to sex it up. It was after my eyes automatically jerked to the other side of the TV before seeing anything that I realized “Hey, I didn’t even have to think about that, my eyes looked away automatically.” Persistence pays off!