This is a picture of my community pool. This is where a miracle happened. This is where God winked. This is where fear was conquered.
This past Sunday my husband and I participated in a "Couples Challenge" with other couples from our church and neighborhood. The challenge consisted of a 16-lap swim, various body weight exercises, and a 3-mile run. When my husband first mentioned this "challenge" to me several weeks ago, I just laughed. I wasn't interested. Afterall, other than floating on my back and swimming doggie paddle style, I didn't know how to swim. I had no form.
Although I'm fairly athletic, I had this fear factor around swimming. I attempted swimming lessons as an adult to learn "freestyle" but it didn't really work out. I could sort of do it but not really. It was ugly. I felt like I was drowing every time I tried. I always felt like I was swimming for my life as if I had a shark chasing me while trying not to drown. It probably didn't help that my instuctor was a former Navy Seal and I felt like I had more of a drill seargent rather than an instructor. It was terribly uncomfortable. I was always tight and tense in the water and I never learned it.
Two weeks before the challenge date, I start getting all these emails from people participating in the challenge. The couples were talking about how they were training for the event. Some did it while on vacation while others practiced their swim in a lake or their run in our neighborhood . At first I was annoyed to get these emails because it assummed that I would participate. I copped an attitude. I was thinking, how did I get on this email list when I didn't even agree to do this. Apparently my husband signed us up. One week before race day, I realized we were participating whether or not I could swim. I decided then to sign myself up for 2, 30-minute swimming lessons. Breast stroke was one of the swim types listed so I asked my instructor, Alicia, to teach it to me. I had my 1st lesson on Monday and my 2nd lesson on Thursday. Race day, mind you, was Sunday. On Monday, we used a kick board and I learned the motion for the legs. On Thursday, I learned what to do with my arms, how to push off the wall, and how to combine the arms with the legs. Alicia was incredibly patient and encouraging to me. After putting it all together, I could swim a lap. And after some practice, I could swim 2 straight laps with plenty of energy left. That was a miracle! And the strange thing was that I enjoyed it! It was fun and relaxing exercise. I had never EVER EVER in my life been able to swim 2 straight laps. I hugged Alicia. I couldn't believe it. Learning how to swim has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I felt like I had just learned another language. I felt unstoppable. This opened new avenues of adventure for me. The thought had crossed my mind how cool it would be to do a sprint triathalon if only I had not feared the water. Well now, I have conquered the water. To God be the glory! Thank you Jesus! Philippians 4:19 says, "and my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." I felt so empowered in learning this little bit of swimming that I have decided to continue taking weekly lessons to learn the other styles of swimming.
Now back to the race. It was a team effort so I only had to swim 4 laps while my husband swam 12 laps. We placed 4th out of 6 couples but I was pretty darn happy considering we only trained together for 2 days and I learned a new skill out of it. Not to mention we had fitness instructors, a former coast guard member, and college swimmers in the group. We're talking about a very athletic bunch we have here. I was just thrilled to have conquered a fear and learn how to swim.
What's the moral of the story?
Luke 17:27 says, "what is impossible with man is possible with God." Sometimes the "thing" that you fear the most just needs to be handed over to God. Don't attempt to do it alone in your own strength. Ask for God's help. Because I had a horrible past experience with swimming, I had a mental block around it. It felt like it was the impossible. When faced with "the impossible" believe God will see you through it. Trust that He will make it possible and He will show you a way.
What's that thing you fear that if overcome could have a huge positive impact on your life?
What's the upside of overcoming your current fears and handing it over to God?
Fear is a miserable thing! It keeps us from realizing our full potential in life. See fear for what it is...a lie. When fears creep in your mind, expose it. Pray about it, talk about it with friends or write down your thoughts in a journal. The more airtime you give fear, the more ways you'll come up with to overcome it. Overcome fear through exposing its lies and overcoming it with the word of God. What is FEAR? False Evidence Appearing Real. It's like seeing a shaddow of a spider taking up an entire wall and assuming that's the actual size when in reality it's only 1 centermeter in size. Act on your fears, trust God, and find a treasure.
"One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do." - Henry Ford