When I was a child, Momba enrolled our family in swimming classes. Scott (my older brother) successfully mastered all tiers required at a very fast pace. He was so impressive - earning badges for every level he would complete.
Being two years younger than Scott, I remember being so jealous as I watched him progress in rank from mere "tadpole" to "shark" in only a few short weeks. It made me want to move along faster in my own swim class - ultimately proving to be a great challenge for my instructor to keep my attention and focus.
So I admit, I took a little longer in learning the "correct" way to swim because I wanted to swim my own way and equal to the level of my brother. Graciously, my swim coach remained patient until I finally listened and learned. As a result, Momba's hope for us was fulfilled, and today both Scott and I are terrific swimmers.
When a person is introduced to the water, it can be quite intimidating. Many are fearful that they will drown, so instructors generally keep them at the shallow end of the pool. A coach's only objective is to have the student get comfortable being in the water. This can include floating, gliding with one's face downward in the water, opening one's eyes under water, kicking, and learning to tread by bobbing above the surface. Similarly as believers, Christ gives each new Christian time to get comfortable with Him as we grow and mature in our faith.
When we first accept Jesus as our Savior, He knows that in order to guide us toward becoming more like Him, we must be willing to not only dip in our toes - but step into the water and learn about WHO He is. We must accept His credentials and abilities. When ready, we then start to put our whole confidence in His wisdom to teach us the skills necessary to become a good swimmer - like Jesus. As we wade further into His presence, we become comfortable to open our eyes under His protective grace and see the world from a different perspective.
In my case, growing in faith was not much different than my learning to swim. Sure, I signed up for the class and got into the water. But after that, I began to look at all my brothers and sisters around me who were more advanced in level. I wanted what they had... and I wanted it NOW. This resulted in me pushing away my Instructor and trying to swim "my own way". I finally became so frustrated that I ended up backsliding and back paddling away from showing up to class altogether. It's true. I stood in the shallow end of the pool for many years of my life doing nothing except to wade in lukewarm water.
Only when I realized that my way was going nowhere did I admit my wrongness. I stopped looking at other Christians in comparison and began to focus exclusively on my relationship with Jesus. With that life-changing decision, I gave up my need to find instant satisfaction and was able to begin learning from my Teacher.
It is the same for all of us. When we are able to listen to our "Swimming Coach" our skills will improve and we will become more and more proficient in the water. As we continue forward in our training, we will be challenged in ways different than before.
When we master doing laps, our Instructor will push us further to trust His promises and commands so that we can learn the correct technique to avoid drowning in deep waters. This can be very frightening. Sometimes our heads may be completely submerged underwater or we may even be asked to jump off a scary platform into an abyss of uncertainty. But He assures us not to fear, because He is with us - guiding us, and at the ready to jump in and help whenever necessary. He tells us not to be afraid. He is nearby and at the ready. Yes, our gracious and wise Teacher coaches us to believe His promise that nothing will separate us from His security - for HE is our life preserver!
Yes, learning to swim has proven to be a good parallel for my life of growth in Christ. You see, if we commit to it, learn it, and stick with it... in the end we will be rewarded with many badges of honor and embraced by our fellow classmates for our success. Our parent, our Almighty Father, will be pleased because His ultimate plan for us was accomplished, and the price He decided to pay for our lessons (Jesus) was indeed worth it!
I love to swim. Sure, I'm not crazy about holding my breath in the deepest and scariest of situations, but I trust the instruction of my Swim Instructor. Through it all, I am confident with His promised hope that I am always swimming upward and will one day gain that glorious, celestial breathe while I look joyfully into the proud, welcoming eyes of my faithful and patient Teacher! WOO HOO!
In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. (Psalm 31:1)
© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson