I remember learning to swim as a kid. I remember getting the confidence to throw my head in the water, using the float to get used to the feeling of lying flat, learning how to use my arms so I could move forward. Before too long I was confidently thrashing around in the shallow end of Limavady leisure centre pretending to be a shark, racing the old ladies doing their pedestrian breast stroke across the pool thinking I was Duncan Goodhew (that gives you a picture of how long ago this was!) I was super confident in the water and I loved it.
One day in the pool I remember being dared to go up and swim in the deep end. I’d heard rumours of the deep end; it was a far away place that I only walked past on the way to my shallow end playground. I had concerns about what lurked under the water there but not wanting to seem like a softie I decided to go up and give it a go.
I jumped in and in an instant I turned from a confident shark into a terrified limpet that clung on to the side of the pool with everything I had. I was petrified. The fear of the new depth I had now encountered had paralysed my arms which were go good at propelling me in my shallow end; I was stuck!
Thankfully within 5 minutes a nice lifeguard helped me out and transported me home to the safety of the shallow end where I resumed my shark racing duties, much to the older ladies delight.
In time I learnt that swimming in the deep end was the same as swimming in the shallow end; the only difference was the cost if you got it wrong; (and the fact it was colder which has always made me suspicious) Every thing I’d learnt in the shallow end was fully transferable and I began to get experience in the deep end and after picking up a few extra skills I was soon terrorising the proper swimming cap swimmers, once again much to their delight.
I’m amazed how much this same analogy tracks me throughout my life. I’ve learnt to do so many things in my journey which I forget to transfer once I move into deeper water. Decisions that I made on a snap take more energy than ever, things that used to be simple become infinitely more complex. Once again I find myself clinging onto the side fearful of what lurks under the surface.
I’m deeply thankful that I have a God who reminds me that he has already taught me to swim; a God who is asking me to move to deeper waters because He knows I can swim there and He knows He will teach me more as I push off (note that its when you push off that you tend to learn most). I know it costs me more but the cost is more than worth it.
As we move forward in our lives, as things get deeper and life seems more complex, lets never forget the strokes we already know. Let’s cling to the Saviour and not the side of the pool.
Ps. Sorry if you were any of those older ladies or swimming cap swimmers (I was young)