Your Race

Your Race

My coach yelled, “You don’t jump hurdles!  You run hurdles!”  This made no sense to me.  How was I to run hurdles if I didn’t jump them?

To run high hurdles, you must time your steps from the start so that when you approach the first hurdle your lead foot is far enough away from the hurdle that you don’t hit it, yet close enough to the hurdle that you are able to make it over.  Once over that first hurdle, you have nine more ahead of you.  Between each of the hurdles, you must take three steps.  If you don’t, then you experience pain because of the fall.  If you take five steps, your race appears to be stuttering.  If you take four steps, you are approaching the next hurdle with the wrong lead foot and are apt to go down.

When your timing is right - lead foot up for the first hurdle, three steps between each following hurdle - that race appears to be graceful and effortless.  That’s a race you can win.  But, timing is not the only thing that goes into winning a high hurdle race.  Once you are going over the hurdle, clearance is important.  Time spent floating in the air is not time spent running the race.  You aren’t running if you don’t get your lead foot back on the ground.

This is where Coach became so frustrated with me.  I was jumping over that first hurdle, not running over it.  The rest of the race was a disaster of bungled steps far from graceful or effortless.

Our recovery from sexual addiction is a series of hurdles.  It is a race that we want to win and one we need to remember.  “You don’t jump hurdles!  You run hurdles!”  Have you been jumping through your recovery?  If you have, it is not pretty, and you are not likely to win that race.  You need to run, not jump.

Let’s look at the recovery race we are running.  We need to be prepared to run.  We need to start and then look to the first hurdle.  Lead foot up, watch our clearance, over the hurdle, snap foot down, trail leg follows as we place our lead foot for the next three steps.

What training and preparation do we need for our addiction recovery?  We need to learn the rules; the vocabulary that will allow us to express and understand our feelings.  We need to build our muscles to make us stronger; stretch ourselves.  For our recovery from sexual addiction, this training and preparation would be exercising and practicing our faith.  We must understand we cannot run this race on our own.  Preparation includes dressing for running.  We must learn God’s word.  For God’s word is designed for running races.  It is well suited to give us confidence and a firm grip with sure traction.  Addiction recovery cannot occur without the Word of God.

Our recovery starting blocks are admitting our problems, humbling ourselves, and becoming accountable.  Without that, we are likely to fall flat on our faces just as we have many times before as we tried to deal with our sexual addiction.

With a good start and proper timing, the first hurdle of attempted sobriety will be approached correctly.  When that first hurdle is approached it is a step, not a jump.  This is running the hurdles.  The runner must be committed to his race.

Once over the hurdle, the trailing foot can still cause the runner to trip.  This can be something that was not "cleaned out", a phone number, an app, or even a person who was not deleted from your life.  The runner isn’t going anywhere if his feet are not on the ground striving toward the finish line.  The trail leg must stretch forward and become the next step.  When the lead foot is planted on the ground, the trail foot must be reaching as far as possible to make the fullest stride possible.

This allows the runner to cover the ground between his hurdles.  This is attending our Captives Free meetings regularly, doing the assignments, making regular calls to our accountability brothers, learning how to express our feelings, and developing open and honest relationships.

As the runner covers the ground between hurdles, the focus must always be on the next hurdle.  It is important to note the stride is far more important than the speed.  A runner will not win a race using five steps quickly.  The same is true of our recovery from sexual addiction.  When we are running the race there will be distractions.  We must stay focused on the end of the race and not allow anything to distract us from running our race.

How many hurdles are there in this race to recovery?  Everyone’s race is different.  We will all face hurdles as we run.  Some of us will have false starts, while others may get tripped up and sprawl across the track.  Each of us has a decision to make:  to run the race and face our hurdles.  The really good thing about the race is there is a finish line.  I believe our finish line is becoming free from the captivity that sexual addiction has entangled us.  So, remember, “Run, don’t jump your hurdles!”