Updated: Jul 27, 2021
Whenever I dive in a calm covers me as I submerge. It's usually brisk and smooth all at once.
My hands cut through the surface and the waves glide over my head. What happens next feel instinctual. One hand pulls to propel me forward, the other follows. It's repetitive and mundane, but the simplicity of it comforts me. My mind goes blank except for the gentle reminders to pull, propel, follow, pull, propel, follow.
I fell in love with swimming because I felt more alive doing it than anything else.
Since I was eight I have been on a swim team. About every four years or so I would take a break, but I always came back. I just couldn't quite understand why.
The conclusion I came to is that swimming was a place of calm in times of chaos, lessons in self-control and contentment when the world was recklessly screaming freedom, and consistency and commitment in seasons of confusion.
Swimming adopted me when the world rejected me. When I didn't have a place to fit inside the culture around me, swimming gave me an outlet, a breathing space, a way to cope. Water was my safety.
Yet, I had to learn that the feeling I had towards swimming was really just a slice of how Jesus eternally adopted me when the world rejected me. In John, Jesus said, "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." Note especially the "I have chosen you" part. As much as swimming gave a safe space and a way to cope, ultimately Jesus calls me to lean on him for the times I don't fit into the world. Swimming was never meant to be my final safe haven.
It's only a vessel.
It's wild how God so intricately designs abilities and interests and timing for people to uniquely find their niche. Mine started with water, connected me to service, and got me here.
In Romans, Paul said, “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”
My calling, my gift, is to serve people. It can look really different too. Sometimes it looks really raw and spontaneous. Sometimes it looks more prepared and articulated. This month it will look like pledging my birthday with a 10,000 yard swim. To me, it's all for the Kingdom.
I hope you will consider giving in the name of clean water and the Gospel for my swim-a-thon, definitely, but even more so I hope you will truly seek the calling God has placed on your life and pursue it.
There is nowhere you will find you fit more precisely.