I was out for a trail run the other day when it hit me: the parallels between running a trail and taking the journey of masculinity and leaving a life of pornography, lust and masturbation (PLM) are many.
Both require putting one foot in front of the other and moving toward something.
It’s elementary, of course, but so much of life in general — and this journey to freedom from PLM in particular — comes down to simply moving your feet.
For years i went to an intense Bible study that was exclusively for men trapped in PLM. And every couple of months or so a man would shrug and explain that he hadn’t been able to stop looking at porn because God hadn’t taken away his addiction and desire for it.
Promptly one of the leaders would always interject that the man had to give it up, not rely on God to magically take it away.
Trail running is a reminder that unless you start moving you won’t get anywhere. There is also the added benefit of the visual object lesson when you run a trail: the path is not smooth. Tree roots, uneven terrain, and mud make the journey a challenge.
You might twist your ankle. You will, certainly, get dirty. Sometimes the path isn’t even all that well marked out, and you have to persevere in the midst of it. At times, you will blaze your own path.
In a world so enraptured with pornography and the culture that has sprung up surrounding pornography, it is a trailblazing experience to walk a different path.
Running a trail is a fresh reminder of these truths. It is also out in the open; away from distractions such as TVs and mobile phones, that a man can catch his breath and think again.
The quiet of the trees. The rhythm of footfalls on a soft path. These unclutter the mind so barraged by images and sounds of pornification which surround us.
For me, a trail run allows me to get my heart back. King David said that he ran in the path of God’s commands because He had set David’s heart free.
On the trail. Run wild. Run free.