While I was swimming this morning the Lord spoke to me in wonderful ways ~ I just love it when He does that!
Until last week I had been swimming in a 25 meter pool, normally at some point between 9 and 11am. I was generally the fastest swimmer, if not, then certainly in the top 3 fastest swimmers in the pool at any time. In all honesty, I often found myself being proud of this fact, and enjoyed being better than others ~ I have always been competitive!
Last week I decided it was time to challenge myself and mix things up! From 6-8am, the pool lowers the dividing barriers that create the 25 meter pool, classes area, and dive pool, and the full 50 meter length is open. I knew it would be more of a challenge, and thinking that I’m just too good a swimmer for the 9-11am time slot ~ I set my alarm, and was in the pool shortly after 6am! Well…I was no longer the fastest, that’s for sure!!! 3 lanes were set apart for swimming team training, then there was 1 ‘fast lane’, 1 ‘medium lane’, and 1 ‘slow lane’. Needless to say, I opted for the ‘fast lane’ because I’m always the fastest! WRONG!!!
It appears that the only people who swim at 6am are SERIOUS!!! As I pushed myself harder than ever, I was barely keeping up with half of the ‘fast’ swimmers, and I was passed by the other half! I was out of my comfort zone. I was still faster than most in the ‘medium’ lane, and my pride would not allow me to go there!
Today was my 3rd 6am swim. Again faced with the decision of which lane to swim in, I settled into my swim in the ‘fast lane’. As I swam, God put a message on my heart.
Last week I measured myself against the swimmers at 9-11am and thought of myself as better than others. I was measuring my abilities against the more casual swimmers and I was prideful. I thought, “I’m good, I don’t really need to improve.” Now, suddenly placed in amongst more competitive, talented swimmers, I felt unaccomplished, and inadequate. God impressed Romans 12:2 upon my mind:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Rom. 12:2 NIV
When I compare myself against other people ~ I am conforming to this world. I am using the people around me as my yard stick so to speak, and seeing how I measure up.
~ “I go to church more than she does.”; “I read my bible more that he does.”; “I don’t drink, or speak, like they do.”; “I volunteer in the church more than that person.”
That is NOT what God calls me to do. Comparing ourselves to other Christians around us is dangerous.
Scripture is my guide
Christ is who I am to strive to be like (Rom. 8:29), and I will never fully accomplish that goal until I am made new in Heaven (Phil. 1:6), because we all fall short of the glory of God daily (Rom. 3:23).
So, what then do we do. Do we accept our failings, and swim along in our comfort zone, or do we push ourselves, training, and striving toward that goal (Phil. 3:14)?
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” 2 Tim. 3:16-17
As I began to look around me last week, and realized that I was the only one in the ‘fast lane’ training with no aids…I needed the tools to train…
If I want to become a more proficient swimmer, and make gains, there are tools I can use. Today I used these and worked HARD!!!
“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Heb. 5:12-14
I do not want to remain a swimming infant ~ I want to use the tools available to me, and train myself to be a mature swimmer. Likewise, I do not want to remain an infant in my faith. We have the tools available to us to become mature in our faith. We need to study Scripture, which is profitable for our training (2 Tim. 3:16), we need to spend time in prayer, in fellowship with God, and we need to learn from those around us.
You see, I could have chosen to stick in the ‘medium lane’, in my comfort zone, prideful that I was faster than those beside me OR I could choose to swim with those who are at a level I desire to attain and use the tools that they employ. When I swim in the lane with those more skilled and trained than me, I push myself. They encourage me, and spur me on (Heb. 10:24). I observe them, and learn from them. They cause me to strive for greatness, instead of settling for mediocre.
Who are you ‘swimming’ alongside in your life? Have you settled in a place of being satisfied with mediocre, or are you learning from those who are more mature in their faith than you are, and spending time training in God’s Word daily? I encourage you: