What Stress Fractures are Teaching Me about Sexuality

First my left foot…

I have to talk about stress fractures because they are entirely transforming how I walk – literally!

The story goes that I began a training schedule in February with the goal of a half marathon in June. On March 26th, while running on the side of the road, I stress fractured my left ankle. And to be completely honest, I didn’t know what I had done, but the pain prevented basic walking without an extremely exaggerated swagger that resembled the hunchback of Notre Dame.

After a trip to the emergency room, an X-ray, lots of ice, and Advil, I received a less-than-exciting prognosis that ushered me to an uninvited threshold – would I learn to walk again?

Let me be clear, I did not see this as a threshold or an invitation into something new. Nope, instead I took my usual optimistic stance, “It will heal, I will hit the pavement again quite soon and all will be well.” Because isn’t that what typically happens with bones? They break and then they heal?

But what I didn’t realize is that subtle fractures can also injure the other bones around the fracture which makes the healing different when it’s not a clean break.

…And then my right foot.

Well mid-summer hit, my left ankle had healed, and I began running again and three weeks later, out of no where, I stress fractured my right ankle.

Great.

As one of my friends said, “Get really mad at God – this sucks.”

Ok, maybe I did get mad, but when you have two major stress fractures within 5 months of each other, a whirlpool of fear opened up for me. Will I ever be able to run again? Or even walk without pain?

Vanity and my deep love for shoes even led me to mournful thoughts for the cute shoes that I might never again be able to wear.

What does this have to do with sexuality? Great question – I thought nothing, until the other day while in the pool doing some swimming therapy exercises, the only thing running through my head was:

 “This is not where I want to be, nor where I thought I would be.”

I mean here I am in the water, and this familiar realization, “Wait, I have been here before, I KNOW this feeling of wanting to ignore pain or even to deny there is any pain.”  And I knew, just knew, deep inside that one of the reasons there is so much disordered sexuality is that we have experienced a stress-fracture to our truest identity as men and women.

When God made man and woman it was with intention, with purpose – the genders hold a glimpse of who God is and our differences are not something we need to “fix” but some we desperately need to explore.

Inadvertently, we take something that God designed as good, our sexuality, and often innocently and unknowingly our sexuality gets a “stress-fracture.” But we keep limping, changing relationships, partners and family structures trying to find a way to make the “pain” normal.

What does a sexuality “stress-fracture” look like?

  • defining our identity through how much sex we get…
  • crude jokes that devalue men or women…
  • physical or emotional use of someone as a sexual object…
  • entitlement to sex in marriage…
  • entitlement to sex outside of marriage…
  • using pornography as a form of intimacy…

Pain, what pain? I am not in any pain. The list could go on and on.

Healing from our stress-fractured sexuality

So how do we heal our stress-fractured sexuality?

Our God will use everything we experience in our life for one purpose – to draw us closer towards seeing fully our Creator.

My ankles are healing (at least now I have calcium deposits that show up on the MRI – they tell me that’s good). I cannot see the healing, it’s a process. And I must experience it.

~ becky

Next blog let’s talk about what it look like to numb the pain and keep going. No really, I do this. Does anyone else?

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