Whirlpools & Swimming Upstream

Summer is finally here, or almost here for some.
The weather is heating up, the sun is shining a little brighter.
Everything is better about summer, right?

Sometimes.

Now that it’s summer, people will start swimming.
I’ll probably swim some too.

I used to swim in my grandparents pool since I was a baby.
I would swim at my friend Katie’s pool down the road.
I would swim as a camp counselor with my kids.
I would swim to keep up my strength as a lifeguard.
I would swim with friends at neighborhood pools.
I would swim with my staff as a relaxing reward at the end of a difficult week.
I would swim to reach a child going under.
I would swim to anchor and later repair the water trampoline in the lake.
I could go on and on and on.
My summers revolved around swimming.

I’ve learned a lot about life and my faith through swimming.
When I swam, the Lord seemed to always use that time to whisper (or shout, on occasion) the things in my life that needed to change, or that I needed to share.
I’m going to blog a lot these next few weeks about those times; so grab a float and a nice glass of lemonade (that’s my personal fave) and enjoy this journey with me.

When I was younger, my friend Katie and I would swim in the pool that was in her back yard. 
Our favorite past time – well, other than playing mermaids, of course – was creating a whirlpool.
 Do you know what I’m talking about? Is that bringing back memories for you too?

If not, let me give a brief summary.
When attempting to create a whirlpool, it’s best to be in a round pool.
Those inside the pool begin swimming in one direction, gradually picking up speed.
After getting progressively faster, the water flows just as quickly in the direction you’ve been swimming and begins to make waves and splash over the edge.
Just as soon as you pick up the most momentum you can, you turn and attempt to swim in the opposite direction. The key word is attempt.
The water continues to move in the original direction and it sweeps you off of your feet and carries you backwards in that direction.

Katie and I would do this each time we swam.
There’s been times I’ve swam with friends at other times – even in college – where we did this same thing.

As I’ve grown older, I began to think about this seemingly pointless but fun activity and began learning a lot about myself. Swimming in a whirlpool is a lot like life.

It’s simple to follow along with what’s going on in pop culture and coast by.
It’s more difficult to turn the other way when it goes against what you know to be true and right.

It’s easy to laugh along with friends when they make fun of someone at lunch.
It’s more difficult to turn around and push back against the current because it’s wrong.

It’s convenient to keep quiet when you hear someone putting down others or the Church.
It’s more difficult to stand up for what you believe in and to defend those doing their best.

It’s less work to copy the answers off of someone who did their work and prepared.
It’s more difficult to schedule time to study and ready yourself, or to admit when you haven’t.

It’s sometimes more fun to ignore the teachings of the Word and indulge in that of the flesh.
It’s more difficult to hold back or even to not allow yourself into a situation even when it’s what you want.

It’s immediately satisfying to give in to every desire you have for yourself.
It’s more difficult to practice self control.

It’s faster to cut corners to get a job done quickly.
It’s more difficult to work diligently and with attention to detail even though it’ll take longer.

It’s nice to cut off the alarm on a Sunday morning and skip church after a late night.
It’s more difficult to get yourself up and get to Church.

As G.K. Chesterton put it, “A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”

This is one of the quotes to which I live my life by.

As a believer, I am only truly living when I am living for the Lord.
I am only living when I am speaking out against injustice.
I am only living when I am serving for the Kingdom.
I am only living when I am helping to make disciples.
I am only living when I am sacrificing.
I am only living when I am speaking life and truth.
I am only living when I am making the choice to do what is right, even if it isn’t cool.

I am dead when I live for myself.
I am dead when I turn a blind eye or cover my ears.
I am dead when I am serving only my own wants.
I am dead when I am not setting an example for others; or even worse, turning others away.
I am dead when I am selfish.
I am dead when I am speaking words that cut down.
I am dead when I am making the choice to do what is cool, even when it isn’t right.

It can be scary, and difficult to swim through life.
We are always one direction away from being swept into the current; from going under…

Which is why we need community, and accountability.
It’s easier to fall in with the direction the water is going when you’re on your own.
It’s also easier to keep fighting against the current when you have someone by your side.
When we engage in community we can lean on each other, we can experience struggles and victories together. When we engage in community, we can know that there are those with the same mission – the same end goals as us helping each other to reach the finish line. We have others to live life with.

Community, as well as accountability, is a unique thing. And it’s amazing. Find people who speak Truth into your life, who walk with you – starting where you are. Surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you. Make sure you have those in your life who aren’t afraid to call you out in love when they see you falling in step with the world. Strive to be that person in other people’s lives.

I am not saying that it won’t be one of the hardest choices you’ll make – to follow Him.
I am saying that it’s the opposite. There will be times of trouble, it will be difficult, you will stumble at times and start to get swept back by the waves. But it doesn’t mean you have to give in. Eventually, you will become stronger, and what swept your feet from under you when you first began will be easier to push past. That doesn’t mean there won’t be more obstacles ahead of you, simply that you will be more prepared for them.

Keep swimming. Keep fighting. Keep growing. Keep learning.
Look closely at your life and your decisions – really look.
And then ask yourself: Am I dead or alive? Am I going with the stream or against?
If you’re deadwhat are you going to do about it?
If you’re alivehow are you going to stay that way?

Thanks for letting me live life with you guys.

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2 Replies to “Whirlpools & Swimming Upstream”

  1. How wise you are beyond your years! I am so proud of you and I am smiling big seeing how God is molding you and creating such a wise and tender heart in a beautiful young lady! Love you so much!

    Like

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