Box Jumps and Recovery
And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” Acts 3:4
I go to a CrossFit gym where we employ somewhat arbitrary exercises as part of the training program. One of these exercises in particular – the box jump – is not my friend. I’m vertically challenged and at 30 inches tall, that box is nearly half my height. I’ve learned, through painful experience that when I jump, I must keep my eyes exactly on where I want my feet to land. Where my eyes look, my feet follow.
Twenty box jumps gets boring though and sometimes, I get distracted. Maybe I get tired or maybe I start looking around to see who’s faster than me. Then . . . I miss the box. My toe catches on the way up and I have that split second to panic before my shin slams into the unforgiving wooden edge. You’d think I’d learn. It should be habit by now. Still though, knowing how easily distracted I am, I must force myself to look at the box. This isn’t just with the first jump. I must do it every time. 30 jumps means 30 tiny choices. When I don’t consciously make the choice, I get distracted and – BAM – bloody shins and a bruised ego.
Where our eyes go, our lives follow. This is a principle of faith that Jesus taught Peter while walking on the water and, in today’s passage, Peter passed on the lesson. In the story, Peter and John met a handicapped beggar who asked the disciples for help, not seeking transformation, but rather money. Peter, who had no money, replied, “Look at us”. And he fixed his attention on them (Acts 3:4-5). After looking in the right direction, the man’s entire existence was transformed. The same principle applies to us. Because our behavior follows our life-focus, we must learn (as with box jumps) to fix our eyes on where we want our lives to go.
In my drug addiction, my life was daily focused on the obtaining, hiding, and using of my pills. Now, in recovery, I don’t do it perfectly, but I begin every day by turning my gaze to God instead of myself. Every day, I get sidetracked and so every morning, I must do it all over again. Bloody shins are far from the worst thing that my life-distractions have caused me. If I want to live in the freedom and peace of God’s path, then daily, I must abandon my distractions, keeping my eyes on him.