Bouncing. It’s a word that almost screams fun. Bouncing balls. Bouncing off the walls. Bouncing on trampolines.
But what if bouncing was actually useful?
For me, bouncing has become a new way of living—my new normal. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I am called to live a life that climbs above—goes beyond—what the secular world offers. If you, too, are a Jesus follower, you know what I’m talking about … Righteousness. A very religious-sounding word that turns many people off right away.
The word can sound snobbish, even “holier than thou.” But it’s meant to be an accepted challenge from God. It’s what HE wants for us—in us. However, for must of us, whether you’re a man or a woman, it seems to be a lofty goal.
Before we move into this whole “bouncing” concept, there are two things about righteousness that we all should first understand:
- Righteousness is Not Earned, it’s Given – Upon accepting Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we are MADE righteous—perfect—in God’s eyes and mind. All past, present, and future sins are made null and void by the blood of Jesus. No condemnation from God. Ever.
- Righteousness is Also a Form of Living – After accepting Jesus into our lives, we realize that we have a newly-acquired desire to live for Him, which means leaving so much of our old selves—behaviors—behind. We want to live out that righteousness that God sees in us. This, right here, is our common struggle as brothers and sisters in Christ.
That said, hopefully, the following concept and practice of “bouncing” will make living a life for God—and each other—a little bit easier.
We all know that to stay healthy, one does not go swimming in infected ponds, eat tainted food, or jab oneself with dirty needles. We stay healthy by staying where healthy lives are developed and nurtured.
While living our lives this side of Heaven, we human beings live, eat, breath, and interact in the midst of a world of hurt—people and things that can harm us. This is where and why “bouncing” can become an asset.
Note: Ladies, what I’m about to write next may sound as though it’s a men-only subject. However, though we men have a higher propensity for visual struggles, as will be described, there are struggles that you have that, while not exclusive to women, are just as difficult to manage. So, please, stick with me.
For many years, back before God performed a major breaking in my life, I did a lot of “trying” to fix my situation. I had even counseled with a pastor at a previous church and told him of the challenges I was having.
That helped … for a minute.
During my continued search for help, I’d also found a few books to read. One book, in particular, gave me an insight that has definitely aided me since the time of my breaking.
The book is Every Man’s Battle, by Stephen Arterburn & Fred Stoeker, and in this book is a chapter called Bouncing the Eyes, in which the authors detail a way to help keep one’s mind from getting detoured to lustful thoughts and dwelling on lustful images or people.
You can win this battle by training your eyes to ‘bounce’ away from sights of pretty women and sensual images. If you ‘bounce your eyes’ for six weeks, you can win this war.
The problem is that your eyes have always bounced toward the sexual, and you’ve made no attempt to end this habit. To combat it, you need to build a reflex action by training your eyes to immediately bounce away from the sexual, like the jerk of your hand away from a hot stove.
Further in the chapter, he continues,
When you start bouncing your eyes, your body will fight against you in peculiar, unexpected ways. Sexual sin has an addictive nature, and your body will not want to give up on its pleasures.
Arterburn makes it clear that we’ve got to identify and remember what and where our biggest visual stumbling blocks have been. And we’ve got to mentally prepare. Once our eyes make contact with those things, we are to bounce our eyes immediately from those images that are not good for us. And no double-takes after that bounce takes place. Begin to thank God for even the smallest successes, knowing that you’ve got His approval and His pride. Keep that initiative going … forever. It will get easier over time.
Bouncing More than Your Eyes
Several months ago, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and conveyed that protecting my relationship with my girlfriend was not going to happen only with the bouncing of my eyes. He designed a three-discipline bounce list for me:
The concept for your thoughts and your heart are exactly the same as that with the eyes. You just need to remember that you are doing all of these things for the three people most important to you: God, your significant other (boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé, spouse), and yourself.
When it comes to bouncing your Thoughts, once again think about your hand jerking back from that hot stove. Those thoughts may be about lustful things, or bitterness toward someone, or even gossip. If you know a thought is wrong, bounce it immediately to another thought. Maybe even develop a “go to” thought when you find yourself in need. Maybe you’ll say to yourself, “Every time I bounce my thoughts, I’m directing my next thought toward [name that important person/thing here].”
Remember: No double-takes. Don’t permit a return “glance” to those thoughts; run away to something better.
The third type of bounce pertains to the Heart. For it is the heart that is the instrument of betrayal on so many levels.
This bounce can be particularly difficult, as it deals with past relationships. Happy memories with someone else. Remembered images of what you liked about that special someone you cared about in the past, whether the images are of something sexual or just a certain warm look that he or she gave you.
Those who are blessed by having married their high-school sweethearts—who have stayed lovingly faithful—are probably at lower risk in this area than those of us who have been in multiple relationships. And if you’ve been in multiple sexual relationships, this can be even tougher, but it is essential.
You’re in love with someone right now (or you’re going to be)… or you’re married, or engaged, or maybe it’s just that you don’t want to be a serial dater… Bouncing your heart is critical to making your current or future relationship work.
There are so many triggers for heart memories: It can be a familiar-feeling touch. It can be an unkind word from the person you’re with now. It can be a fragrance. It can be just an out-of-the-blue, random thought. Irrespective of the trigger, each of us must bounce away from the thought of a happier moment or intimate occurrence with someone from our pasts. It must bounce toward what we have now—what we can make better. Not doing so will result in resentment, in one form or another, whether that resentment is light or volatile.
We even have our imaginations that can work against us within our hearts. Those bad persons who left us—or from whom we finally and wisely parted—can be reimagined to be better than those men or women actually were. Don’t allow yourself to glamorize what was a bad past involvement.
Leave all past relationships where they belong by immediately bouncing your heart back to the right person, whether that person is your ‘significant other’ or God.
Remember my friend, Mike, the chain smoker? He had the wisdom to not say, “I’ve decided to stop smoking, and starting right now, I’m not going to smoke another cigarette.” Instead, he mentally positioned himself to make a change. If you are not willing to let go of hidden or pet sins, then you’re not going to have much success with this process. However, if you’re able to spend some time contemplating just how much you want to keep—and even improve—your current life situation, you are enabling yourself to start having victories. You have to be mentally prepared to start “bouncing.” It’s a decision, not an attempt.
For some (like myself), it will take praying two Dangerous Prayers: “Search me” and “Break me.” I was willing to endure whatever God wanted to do in order to be free and to have a chance at a healthy relationship. It might not hurt to watch those two videos.
The healthiest relationships are those longed for, worked for, and protected. Once you’ve gotten past the “longed for” stage and have begun working on the relationship, you have got to start protecting that relationship with all of your heart.
And all of your thoughts.
And both of your eyes.