I didn’t go do a polar plunge or swim laps in a pool.
I started swimming towards the shore of a vision I’ve had for a few years.
I just did a quick search for the meaning of vision, in hopes to put a put a bit of context to my swimming adventure. A vision can be a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination. It can also be something sensed, that’s immaterial or intangible. Super clear, right? Follow along here for a minute…
So I’ve had this vision for a few years that there is a dark sky and deep waters in front of me. I know I have to go into the water that’s choppy, like a storm is close. I can’t see an end. It feels like an endless ocean with a strong undercurrent swirling just below me. I have this deep knowing that the waters won’t overcome me; I won’t be lost in them and the undercurrent won’t consume me. Yet when it’s dark, kind of scary, an undercurrent tugging at me and there’s no end in sight, well, why would I want to go in?
For a couple years now I’ve seen it. I’ve resisted it. It just feels yucky. But I’ve known I needed to understand it. And I’ve known I needed to go in the water.
Last spring I met with a Spiritual Director. That’s a person that can help you listen deeper and discern answers as you seek to grow in your spiritual life. It was pretty amazing. I told her about the dark ocean-like vision I’ve had. I also told her about other visions I’ve had about my path. That’s a long story in itself, but God revealed a wide path that continued on for my life. He showed me a winding path that was entering some mountains. There would be hard moments, but I also had a deep reassurance that my path continued for a long journey.
As I shared this, she asked a few simple questions of the ocean vision. “Is there a boat around? Or a life jacket? Maybe a dock to rest on? I would like to see a place for you to find rest.” Things changed dramatically after she asked this.
There wasn’t a dock, but there was another side. Some of the darkness began to clear up. This was a lake. A big one, but it was still a lake. There was another side! I could still feel the undercurrent yet felt that same sensation of knowing the undercurrent wouldn’t consume me.
We began to explore the undercurrent a bit more. It was kind of like leaning into fears that aren’t so scary when you turn on the light. I realized the undercurrent was the regular demands on my life that will always be there. Being a mom to teenagers and doing it alone; routines of laundry and dishes and housework that must be done; paying bills and balancing a budget; finding places to fit in running and fitness; making time for friends and crazy adventures. The list, the undercurrent, could go on. Those things are in my life and will be, but God is calling me to more.
Let’s explore that then. What is the more? Why am I being called into the water?
An answer came that quick. And the skies got a bit brighter.
It’s the writing, speaking, encouraging, equipping, motivating, pastoring others. It’s the blog and books and conferences. It’s pointing others to know Him. He’s calling me to do His work. And some of this work is life-long for me, but there is some hard work that must be done now. It has to be done in the deep. With Him.
I visualized myself standing on the shore. I looked at Father God. I could sense what was waiting for me on the other side of the shore. Something I’ve been praying about for a long time. I didn’t really want to get in the water though. I told him I could swim, but I’m not that great. I kinda wanted to take the path that I could see going around the lake.
“Stop dancing on the shore. I have called you. I have equipped you. I am the one growing you. I am the one perfecting you. I have not called you to walk on the path around the lake like I have others, so stop going that way. Quite dancing on the shore and get in the water. Let’s go.”
Yep. Pretty clear words.
Recently I realized I’ve been dipping my toes in the water. I’ve waded in a bit. I was sort of treading water part way in. Getting comfortable with that undercurrent tickling my toes. Seeing what was on the other side of the shore.
Today, something in the sermon at church changed my focus. Sharpened it a bit. And the reminder came to me. I’m called. I’m equipped. It’s all here, with His help. I can do the hard work. Now. Now is the time to do the hard work.
So I started swimming.
I stopped treading water in place and started swimming.
The more you practice at anything, the better you get. While I feel like I’m not a great swimmer now, I know I’m capable of the hard work and will improve. I’m reminding myself I can do hard things. I can survive the undercurrent. Maybe I can even create my own current. With His help.
Today, I started swimming.
Not just to swim or avoid the undercurrent or even just to say I got off the shore. I started swimming to be obedient to Him, to follow Him, to get to the other side and continue on the path ahead of me.
I’m sure there will be hard days ahead. I know it’s just for a season, until I reach the other side of the shore. I know I’ll get there. And I already know I won’t be worn out like a sea tossed castaway. No, I’ll get out of the water, get that hug, and start down the next part of the path.
I can do hard things. And so can you. Where has He called you to go? Are you dancing on the shore too? Or today, are you ready to start swimming?! Let’s go!