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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Swim Lessons

“You need to trust the water. It is your best friend.”

This, coming from a 21-year-old who began swimming at age three and who has competed professionally, advising a 40-plus-year-old who has never swam. I always wanted to learn how to swim, but did not know what to expect other than being in water and learning the “easy” techniques. Boy, was I wrong!

My biggest setback was not trusting myself to know that the water and my body could hold me up, instead of drown - if I relaxed. Throughout the process, my coach was there telling me, “I am right here, I won’t let you get hurt.” 

I gave it a try, but was overcome by images of drowning and thoughts of how my family would react to my death. The few seconds I would relax my body and follow her instructions, I found myself floating. But as soon as I realized I was floating, fear would grip me and I would start to go under water. I WAS AFRAID!

Her parting words were simple. “Spend as much time as you can in the water so you can be comfortable in it. Also, get the swim goggles so you can see under water. Maybe that will help overcome your fear.”

I reflected on those words, “You need to trust the water…,”  “spend as much time in it...,” and “get the swim goggles…”  Four things came to mind as I reflected on my trust journey:

  1. The Coach is always present: How often do we act as though God is not present when we are going through life’s challenges? We become stuck and drown the voice of the Holy Spirit because our fear is so paralyzing that we do not give God a chance to work.  Deuteronomy 31:6 states, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or panic before them, for the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (NLT). If we listen to the small instructions God gives us in moments of fear, we will float on our backs and not sink.
  2. The Water is our friend: The image of water in the Bible symbolizes new life, God’s promises, cleansing, etc. (John 7:38, Psalm 65:9. Ephesians 5:26 respectively). God’s Word is there to give us instruction and renewed life daily. Psalm 119:105 states, “Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” (NLT). Do we trust the Word to hold us up and float when life rages on or are we trying to trust in our own inabilities?
  3. The Eye Goggles: I purchased the eye goggles and what a difference they made! I am still fearful and not able to float on my back, but seeing the bottom of the pool has been a game changer. I am calmer. I strongly believe God wants us to use our eyes of faith to see the bottom of our pools and know it is not as scary as we think it is. Romans 1: 17 states “The Just shall live by Faith.”  We just need to trust our Coach because He has walked the floors of our pools and they are conquerable.
  4. The Renewed Mind: Having negative thoughts while going through life is never helpful. Think about it, I was rehearsing my funeral during my first lesson. Yet, I am still here. Ephesians 4:23 states, “Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”  We need to think on God’s Word when life happens. Philippians 4: 8 should be our guide in all things and thoughts. 

I head back to my second lesson this week and I hope these first few lessons I have learned will be evident. My coach will be present, I will trust the water, I will walk the floor and my mind will be renewed.

Copyright 2016, Towera Nyirenda Loper. Used by permission.

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