Look, Grandma! I’m Swimming!
Written by Chant’a Collier
Have you ever thought you were good at something only to find out you were wrong? I learned this lesson by watching children take a swimming lesson.
In an attempt to start swimming for exercise, I was surprised to learn that I was not actually swimming. I was just trying my best not to drown!
My experience—watching three small children during their swimming lessons, getting advice myself and then beginning my learning process—reminded me of some spiritual life lessons.
Barely staying afloat
My decision to start swimming was due to my attempt to lose weight to stave off diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Finding a gym with a pool became a priority for my husband and me. With the help of a close friend, we chose one and started going. After watching my husband swim, I decided to join him two days a week, using exercise equipment on the other days.
Rodney is an excellent swimmer and, in human fashion, I compared my swimming style to his, which helped me discover some problems. I wasn’t comfortable in the water, I wasn’t breathing correctly, and I was splashing. I struggled to get from one end of the pool to the other.
Recognizing the problems with my swimming style triggered a memory of when I first began receiving literature from the Church of God. I realized something was wrong in my life, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I was struggling and splashing by making wrong decisions. There was no comfort and no room to breathe. It was hard just to stay afloat.
Reading the literature helped me to realize that change was needed. Part of that change came when I was welcomed into the family of God. Fellowshipping with other “swimmers” helped me improve my stroke.
John wrote in 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Changing direction in life became important to me, and I was ready to start this journey with my new family.
Watching His children
Rodney agreed to help me improve my swimming style. He assured me that I wouldn’t drown and encouraged me not to be afraid of the water.
To feel calm, he explained, I needed to practice my breathing first, breathing in through my mouth and out through my nose. He taught me how to count to make my breathing consistent. Then I learned how to properly glide my hands through the water to keep from splashing.
Within a week, I was getting more comfortable in the water through practice.
During our time at the pool, I watched little children during their swimming lessons. Some were so frightened they screamed in terror. Others wanted to jump in the water to show what they could do before the lessons began.
As the lessons went on, I could see growing confidence in those terrified little ones and stronger skills in those who were there to improve.
Watching them made me reflect on my own past. As I started to attend Sabbath services regularly, I felt unsure but not terrified. It was an exciting time to learn what the Bible actually taught about life, love and the true worship of God. There were times when I jumped in and times when I sat back and watched.
As the years went by, I felt more confident that I was on the right path.
Fellowshipping and watching God’s people gave me the strength I needed when times were tough. Their example helped me get up when I fell and gave me the encouragement I needed to keep going when I wanted to give up.
My swimming has improved so much that last week I swam 20 laps in an hour and 20 seconds. It may not seem like much to avid swimmers, but it was a milestone for me. I no longer fear the water, and now when the water gets in my nose, I deal with the sting and keep going. I have even started to improve my technique for the backstroke.
“Look, Grandma! I’m swimming!”
Watching the little ones learning to swim over the past few weeks reminded me of my grandson who, at the age of 4, was so proud to float, he yelled out to me excitedly, “Look, Grandma! I’m swimming!”
His lisp made me smile, but I shared in his excitement.
I knew the feeling
It’s been 36 years since I walked into Sabbath services. Different leaders, several pastors and a host of spiritual family members have left their mark on my life. There are times when the sting is there—times when I have to stop and float. There are still times when I’m out of breath and times when others splash me. But “swimming” through life is easier now.
People sometimes ask what we would say if we could give our younger selves one piece of advice. I would say to that young lady:
You have been struggling to swim. Relax! Learn the skills from God’s Word to guide you, look for the good examples of others and let your Father in heaven rejoice over you. Remember Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
If you would like to learn more about making the necessary changes in your life, download our free booklet Change Your Life.