Yesterday a friend and former colleague asked me how swimming lessons were going, and I didn’t really like my answer. The truth is, it’s not going was well as I would have hoped.
I mean, overall I’m happy with the fact that I’ve jumped in the water so to speak, and I’m becoming more comfortable taking this new risk. But, I imagined myself swimming laps. And thus far, I haven’t done much of that. I’m beginning to have a sneaking suspicion that perhaps I’m just not cut out for this. I struggle to relax in the water still, my floating is atrocious, and by that I mean, I can’t float at all. And more often than I’d like, I still forget to hold my breath and move my legs at the same time. So what ends up happening is in moments of panic I suck in gallops of water.
In some ways I do feel like a failure and a prisoner of my own expectations about how much progress I feel I should be making. At the end of each class I ask my instructor, so how do you think I’m doing, you know compared to where I should be? She can probably tell that I’m fishing for some kind of affirmation. Usually what she offers is a reminder that I’m going to progress at my own pace. And this: she’s constantly reminding me that my biggest challenge is simply learning how to relax. It’ll always be hard to float or even trust my body in the water if I’m constantly tensing up. So, relax.
Story of my life. Good luck with that one coach. I really think that’s why this season of learning how to swim and tackling this personal challenge is instructive for me in so many other areas of my life. One of my favorite scriptures in fact is Jesus saying essentially the same thing: relax. I’ve got you.
We get to choose how we view the world, and how we respond to the circumstances of life. I can choose to trust in a God who loves me to take care of me, even in the water. Hopefully I can remember this lesson at the pool today.
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.Jesus (Matthew 6:30)