I wasn’t a real great swimmer as a child.
That kind of sucked because you had to pass lifeguard’s swim test to gain access to the diving board at the pool and everyone knows that’s where the cool kids hung out when they weren’t sneaking off to smoke. I mean, it was the ’80s.
My basic problem centered on that whole sinking feeling you get when you enter the water. When that feeling would hit, I’d feel the need to do something to get it to stop. I’d start kicking my legs and doing all kinds of funky things with my arms in an attempt to stay atop the water, all of which of course only led me to sinking faster.
The problem was I was trying to do too much instead of trusting my swim instructor who assured me if I’d just be still and relax, I’d stay afloat.
As poor a pool swimmer as I was as a child, I’m probably a worse life swimmer today.
As soon as that all too familiar sinking feeling hits, I feel like I have to start doing something. I have to start moving forward, working harder, and really pushing myself to assure I stay afloat. Perhaps it’s a bit of an obsessive compressive disorder or simply a side effect of an anxiety problem, but when those moments hit, I just can’t be still.
Much like swimming, too often this only causes the sinking feeling to increase and the only result is me going further down.
The Psalmist tells us that when we’re surrounded by chaos and feel like we’re sinking to be still, or perhaps more accurately, cease striving and know that God is God.
For me, that’s often the hardest thing to do when I’m sinking, but in reality, just like with swimming, it really is the key to staying afloat.
That’s not to say surviving life is completely effortless, I mean, this isn’t a Bob Marley song, but I think trusting God and being still is how we begin to rise back to the surface. I think it’s how we get back to the point where our efforts and our work are productive rather than destructive.
I think being still is how we begin to do less sinking and more swimming.