This blog recounts my fitness journey into the sport of triathlon and the gifts God has blessed me with while on it! May the movements of my life boldly proclaim that the sparks we encounter in scripture will kindle hope in our lives!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Embrace the Athlete

All during the 2008-2009 school year Abigail and Lydia had swim lessons on Monday afternoons. I swim while Lydia has her lesson. Most of the other moms sit and visit while they watch their children swim and that's nice. I've enjoyed that too, but I've always wanted to be the mom that got in the water and I felt like it just wasn't possible for me. I've come a long way. I'm sharing this from a journal entry at the end of April 2009...

Interesting experience at the pool yesterday.

The water was a little cooler than last week.
I noticed that my suit is definitely too big now and have no idea when I'm going to find the time (much less the inclination) to shop for a new one.

There was a man using the lane and he was clipping along at a pretty good pace. As I walked down the ramp into the water I began my usual argument with myself.

It doesn't matter how much I prepare ahead of time, I still end up in the argument. The argument used to begin long before my body hit the water, however, and I'm very thankful that has changed. It used to begin as I started packing up the swim bag before leaving the house!

“Just start swimming.”

“What if someone sees me?”

“Of course, someone will see you, silly, it doesn't mean they'll pay any attention.”

“What will they think? People will think I don't belong here, what am I thinking?”

“You do belong here! You were created/fashioned to be so much more than what you are, but you have to pursue it!”

“I don't swim very well. What if I mess up and they are laughing at me and I just can't see them laughing? Especially if I swim in the lane. I want to, but I probably don't belong in the lane. When will I be good enough to swim in the lane? But, someone might think I'm a dork because I'm not swimming in the lane.”

I just can't win when I argue with myself like this.

Most times now I just dive under and drown out the argument. I've purposed in my heart to do battle, though I can't seem to win it yet. I'm determined to keep fighting until I win - and it's over.

This time, Abigail snapped me out of it. “Mom, aren't you going to swim?”

I remember why I'm here. I have a calling. I don't care what anybody thinks except The One who has called me to it because He knows the desire of my heart and He put it there. I want to accomplish this for myself, to be a different person than I have been. Restored, greater, more eternal, living more in the Kingdom than on this earth and this is one more thing I need to do to get me to my goal.

I give Abigail a smile and a little wave and get started.

Of course, I'm not in the lane. I'll swim along the outside of the lap lane in the open swim area - with all the kids that are splashing and swimming all around.

I check the clock and I determine to swim the full length of the pool, which I've not done before. I've been told I need to do 9 laps (olympic distance pool) to make it the ½ mile I'll need to to be able to swim in July. I tell myself to take my time and just keep swimming until I make 9 laps. Freestyle. And I'm going to breathe on both sides as much as possible and pause if I need to but start right back again. I'll work on the battle for the lane another day.

I made it to the end and back twice before I needed to take a break. That's 4 lengths. Abigail looked at me with big eyes. “Mom, did you go all the way?” I laughed a little bit and allowed myself to be delighted, “I did, I went all the way-4 times!” Two laps down!

I was ready to start in again and the man in the lane approached me at the rope. He was a very non-threatening sort, but I started to panic a little. He was still breathing heavily from his last lap.

“You should use the lane.” He said. What?!!

He continued, “Even if I'm in here there's plenty of room for us both.” I thought about this for a minute. Did I have to say it out loud?

“Well,” I began, “I'm just not a very good swimmer...”

He cut me off. “You're trying, that's what's important, and you don't need to keep running into all those kids.” (The kids that are there for free swim actually stay pretty well out of the way!) “Use the lane. I'm done now. Even if someone else comes, they'll share, you should use it. Keep at it.” And he hoisted himself out of the pool and left.

I want to cry now just thinking about it. What a gift that was to me.

As I held my breath and ducked under the lane line I was thinking about “embracing the athlete” and wondered if this counted.

I looked down the length of the pool.

I was in the lane!

I determined to swim for as long as I could swim. I relaxed and enjoyed the rhythm and kept at it. I sucked in water about 5 times and had to flip over or stand up in the lane while I choked on it. I stopped to catch my breath at the end of the lane about 3 times. And I made it 5 more laps of the pool. It was an awesome moment. God is soooo good to me.

1 comment:

  1. Wow what a fantastic experience. It's so amazing when God sends people like that man to bless you and encourage you. Great job!! Keep listening to God! Niki xxx

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