It was a flashback that took me by surprise. We were snorkeling off the beautiful crystal blue coast of Roatan, Honduras and enjoying God’s creations in the underwater. I soon witness a woman begin to freak out. She was almost in a panic.
“I just saw the ocean floor disappear. I can’t swim here, I’m too afraid.” And she quickly headed back to the pier and got out of the water.
If you can swim, you can swim.
After years of lifeguarding, I began teaching swimming lessons. I had started a new session and had an older gentlemen enrolled in my class. He was determined he was going to learn to swim and conquer his fear of the water.
We practiced breathing, kicking, floating, and swimming for weeks. We were in the shallow end for most of our lessons and he was succeeding. As our last lessons approached, I told him we’d be heading to the deep end and finishing out our sessions there.
He balked. He tried to talk me out of it. But I assured him that he can swim. He was prepared and ready.
He knew everything that it took to swim.
He could swim! But something about changing locations and embarking into deeper waters had him a little stirred up.
He lower himself into the water and held tightly on to the side. I swam out a little and assured him he knew how to swim. After long-drawn-out minutes, he pushed away from the side. He was swimming. Full beautiful strokes. I was so proud!
Swimming along side of him cheering him on, all the sudden I see a panicked look come over his face. He was no longer concentrating on swimming, he was focused on the depth of the water. Fear pierced through his eyes to me. I was talking to him calmly, reassuring him that he was half-way there. “Put your head back in the water and keep going,” I nudged.
Fear overtook him.
In the blink of an eye, he went from a swimmer to a drowning victim. He was so scared that he pulled me under as I tried to help him. Thrashing around made the rescue hard, but I swam him back to the shore thankful for my instructor’s lessons.
With his head down, he was embarrassed. He told me he let the fear overtake him. He had forgotten that he could swim and could only focus on being swallowed up by the depth of the water.
Are you swimming in the deep?
Fear stops us from living out our life to the fullest. We let the unknown or unwarranted fears stop us cold.
Even when we know how to swim, how to serve people, or how to live in our strengths — we let negative thoughts stop us. We take our eyes off where we are going and look at how deep we’re in. The depth of our journey’s freak us out.
Maybe you’re afraid you won’t have the words to say or that you’ll make a fool of yourself so you stay in the shallow end. But I challenge you to swim a little deeper. You know the right moves — don’t let fear stop you from an incredible experience.
QUESTION: What fear is stopping you from experiencing more?
After wrestling with the word rescue for months, I decided to bring this word to life. I’ll expose the truths stirring in my soul regarding this daring, venturesome, and fearless word. Oh how I’d love your input too!