I love to swim. My mom says that I was jumping into the pool, where my dad would catch me, before I even turned one. We lived in Southern California and my grandparents had a pool. I can’t remember those times, but I do remember always loving the water.
My kids love the water too. We’re fortunate to have a pool in our backyard, which my husband graciously keeps up all year long, and from Memorial Day to Labor Day we love that pool. But never more than this year. The kids beg to swim, and so as soon as Bray or I get home from work we are all in the pool. I think we’ve been in the pool almost every day this month barring rain.
Here’s the thing – I’m not actually swimming a lot right now. I am in the pool. I splash around with the kids. We have them in arm floats (except for during swim lessons) so we jump in and we practice floating and kicking and we spin in circles and splash but we’re not doing a lot of actual swimming.
I may have mentioned in passing that I’ve gained too much weight this year. I’m almost 25 pounds heavier today than I was in May 2011 on my five year wedding anniversary when I’d achieved Weight Watchers Lifetime status and weighed less than I did on my wedding day. I’m incredibly embarrassed to admit it. I anticipated some creep but not this. It’s my fault. I am eating irresponsibly and not working out enough. I’ve done boot camp on again and off again since last summer but not diligently like I had. Bray’s considering going on weight loss program with me this summer, mostly as a support since he’s still very slim, and I’m trying to regain my discipline. In that effort, I woke up early this morning and swam laps.
I really swam. Up and down the pool. No breaks. Breaststroke. Freestyle. I loved it, I was completely winded, but I truly enjoyed those minutes. Everything was quiet and still outside. I had time to think. I had time not to think. I counted the back and forth for most of those laps. Nothing else. One. Two. Three…..Eighteen. Nineteen. Twenty.
When I got out, my time in that pool felt like my whole life. Moments of discipline, but large gaps of no discipline. Doing just enough to make it look like I am swimming when I’m really not. Physically. Spiritually. Professionally.
I eat a salad for lunch but a cupcake during the office snack hour. I work out early one morning but take the rest of the week off. I read a scripture passage one morning but don’t study scripture until I am once again convicted. I pray for my kids every night but don’t wake up and seek God’s guidance over my actions during the day. I write a blog post but never finish my book chapter. I pay to go to a writer’s conference but don’t stay up late working on my proposal. I’m splashing, not swimming.
It’s fun to splash. It’s easy to splash. But I will never ever see the best God has for me if all I ever do is splash in the pool of His grace and faithfulness and direction. Unless I dive in, swim laps, spend time in the quiet waters, that pool won’t do me much good. My lack of discipline will always leave me 25 pounds too heavy, out of touch with the Lord that I serve, and wandering in the desert instead of marching into the Promised Land. I realize my weakness and that I will never have adequate discipline in my own strength. Thank Heavens, literally, that I serve a God so much bigger than that. A God that grants discipline though I’m terrified to pray for it. A God that is begging me to take the time to really swim.
Phillipians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (NKJV)