I have started this blog post 3 ways and erased them all, not liking what was being produced. I know what's in my heart, but finding all the words to share it comes as difficulty lately. I think because of how deep it runs.
I shared in my last blog (the little moments) that I am learning to swim. That's right, learning to swim. I am 32 and do not know proper technique. I can doggy paddle the length of the pool. I can swish my arms and kick my feet. But when it boils down to actually swimming, I cannot do one lap in a pool if my life depended on it.
I've had this wish list I've kept for a couple of years now. My friend, Tiffany, and I started writing down all the crazy things we wanted to do in life. Oddly enough, we both wanted to learn to swim. Well, I decided this year that I am tired of sitting on that list. And there are things I am capable of knocking off without having to spend a ton of money. And so I said that before the year ended, I would learn to swim. Saturday I endeavored into that for the first time.
I got the proper arm and feet motion going. Know what my hindrance is? Putting my face in the water and popping out briefly to breathe. I am scared of it. I get panicky and then can't breathe at all, which you can imagine leads to disaster in the pool. For some reason, keeping my nose under water and breathing out, then taking short breaths, scares me to death. So I bring my head up and just breath above the water. You can imagine how exhausting that is when swimming, to try to constantly hold your head above the water. It was day 1 of swimming. I can't expect to master it all in one time. I made good progress, and the next time I go this week, I will do better at keeping my face in the water. Determination can carry one a long way. I either want to do it, so I push through the fear, or I don't and I give up. All these years, I have given up. But this time....this time will be different.
Fear can be crippling. Fear can keep us from wonderful experiences. Fear can raise anxiety and exhaust us. Fear is the opposite of faith. Think about that. If I'm afraid, I"m not trusting someone or something. I'm afraid to put my face in the water because I fear I won't be able to breathe. I'm not trusting myself in this case, or that many people I've seen do it. Yet they are class 1 swimmers, so why should I think it will be harmful?
Fear can keep us from saying yes to God. Think about it...Let me use some examples from my life.
-I was afraid to change jobs to the marathon office back in June....fear could have prevented what is now a dream job and one where I am thriving. There were what ifs for me in the scenario, but If I had listened to that fear and not to God I would be missing out on a lifetime experience. And those what if thoughts have become "thank you God" moments.
- I was afraid my first race I ever ran. I worried about getting lost on the course, about not finishing, about looking stupid, and the list goes on. But If I had said no and listened to those fears, I would not be who i am today because running has played a part in shaping me to a certain degree, both physically and emotionally. And even spiritually.
- I was afraid to begin a 5K in memory of my mom. But I put my trust in God and guess what? We've now awarded 3 scholarships to students in need and I have an amazing job because I said yes to that.
- I was afraid to be me. I was afraid to allow myself to be used and to be true to who He has made me. And in that process, my faith was crippled to a certain degree. Now I am thriving because I am being who He has made me. And my faith runs deeper than it ever has.
Fear can be crippling. It is the opposite of faith. Maybe you're afraid to change jobs because you're comfortable where you are, but changing jobs could lead to amazing things. Maybe you're afraid to leave a relationship because you don't want to lose someone, but perhaps that's what God's asking you to do. Or on the other hand, maybe God is asking you to stay in one in order to work His miracle of what only He can do. Fear or faith? Which will you choose? Perhaps you're afraid to start something because you fear failure (could be starting to run, could be starting to lose weight, could be starting to write or to run a business....could be a list of anything) . But if you never start, you'll never know. Don't let fear cripple you. Trying and not succeeding the first time is better than never giving it a chance and always wondering if you could.
Fear or faith?
Swimming is a small example of conquering a fear. But this week, I will conquer the fear of putting my face in the water so that I can learn to properly swim laps. And who knows where it will lead? Perhaps a triathlon one day.... or perhaps just a newfound way to exercise. Either way, I'll be conquering a fear.
What will you choose today.... Fear of ________________ or Faith in the One who knows everything about our days and our life???