Default Settings

This weekend it was beautiful in Denver, so Shelley and I took the boys for a hike. The area, known as Red Rocks, is a gorgeous setting. It has huge rock outcroppings, a path/trail that the boys can handle and then a popular amphitheater. We wanted the boys to see it, but as we crested the final stairway I was reminded what makes the place so popular.

It’s not because of the concerts that go on there, but instead because it is a workout mecca. The steep seating sections, the stairs and the atmosphere make it virtually an outdoor gym so people flock to it especially when the weather is nice. And by people, I mean the fittest of the fit. There were skimpy shorts, workout clothes and entirely too much skin showing. I had a moment of panic, bouncing my eyes in every direction, wondering how Shelley was feeling, thinking I should cover my kids’ eyes, yet not wanting to cause a scene with any of it.

For a minute it felt like I was in some overpowering situation where these evil people were casting a spell on me drawing out the lustful urges inside and creating an out of control monster. Like somehow seeing these people and being in this setting should cause fear and intimidation. For years that was my default setting; to be in a situation like this and freak out for nearly having an anxiety attack.

Then I gained some clarity. I didn’t need to freak out. I’m not an out of control lust monster. I don’t have to live in fear. I am a dearly loved, infinitely valuable child of God. My worth and value are rooted in my identity in Christ, not whether or not I lust and not in my physical fitness. These people aren’t evil either. Some of them are probably followers of Jesus. Some of them have a struggle with vanity. Some have no idea what it means to leave something to the imagination. But they aren’t evil.

The default freak out setting can change and instead become a calm, secure, grounded setting.

Does that mean I can be reckless with my eyes? No. Does that mean we need to hang around the place for any extended time? No. Does it mean I need to cause a scene? No.

Remember temptation and lust have no control over you. You don’t have to live in fear and anxiety. You are a child of the risen King, dearly loved and infinitely valuable. You’re not a monster or a pervert. Your default setting can change and become calm, secure and grounded.

4 thoughts on “Default Settings

  1. I recently found out my soon to be ex-wife has been working out there on Sundays. Of course my addict wants to go and see all the women getting hot and sweaty. Definitely a triggering environment that sober Eric knows he should avoid. Thanks Jason for letting me know I don’t have to go there even if my addict is yelling in my head that we deserve to go look now that my wife has decided she doesn’t want to stay married. Focusing on recovery is so much better than falling back in the 33 year pattern of my lust programming.

  2. I am tired down in my bones from being excited by women’s body parts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have a beautiful, loving, supportive wife and great daughters. Yet every woman that is not my wife or daughter is fair game for eye-rape. I feel like a perv and hypocrite.

    HELP!!!

  3. Thanks,
    I work in law enforcement in Washington DC, I see this all day long now that’s its getting warm. This was much needed information.
    Steve

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