You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
Even the birds aren’t awake yet, I thought to myself. As I slipped from the pool’s edge into the water, I shivered from the chill. I took a deep breath and bobbed my capped head under the heavily chlorinated water. As an asthmatic, many sports were hard for me, but I excelled at swimming because I could control my breath.
A shrill whistle sung out and echoed throughout the hard walls of the gym as I shot myself off under water from the pool wall to begin a swim practice that, while rendering me exhausted, would fill me with exhilaration and strength.
I spent many days swimming as a young adult. Swimming did not come naturally to me; it was a skill hard won with hard work. I spent hundreds of hours practicing, many weekends at swim meets, and during one summer my hair was very nearly green from the chemicals in the water. Whenever I would become exasperated with myself, my coach would encourage and challenge me to keep on going, helping me to adjust my method so I could be an effective swimmer.
Even now at sixty-one years young, although I do not have as much opportunity to swim, I love the chance to dip my head under the water and shoot off the wall again just as I did when I was a lanky teenager. Though my muscles are weaker than they once were, swimming is a skill that has never left me.
Swimming taught me to see God as my coach in the midst of life’s trials.
In my race of life, there have been so many times where my spiritual muscles felt exhausted, my heart was sore, and I didn’t think I could hang on for another lap of life.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:24,
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.”
God’s goal for working in my life is always to help me build stronger spiritual muscles; I cannot grow stronger on my own. John 14:26 says:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
In all of our trials, God is with us, training us and encouraging us to stretch the spiritual muscles He has given us. We do not have to face trials alone. God is always with us to comfort and guide us, even when we are unable to feel it.
As we live by faith, we are under the guidance of the Holy Spirit training and instructing us how to live a righteousness life. When we see our days as a part of God’s training for righteousness, it strengthens us to not compromise.
God walks beside each one of us, offering encouragement and giving us the strength we need to fulfill our potential.
God loves you. This simple truth is one of the most easily forgotten or misconstrued. It is easy, when encountering difficulties, to go to dark places in our minds, thinking maybe God is disappointed with us. However, the scriptural representation of God heartily contradicts this idea.
Hebrews 4:15 shows us that God’s attitude toward us is one of sacrificial love and deep understanding of our need for Him. It says:
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”
When you pray, do so with the confidence that God loves you and understands every trial you encounter.
To quit before reaching the finish line deprives us of the reward of completion and the strengthening of our character.
God is not so concerned that we are always happy as He is committed to helping us become mature and learn to be content. Begin to ask God how He wants you to live out your role in the story of life He has granted you.
How can you live truthfully, heroically, and faithfully in such a way that you will fulfill the very destiny for which you were born?
Chapter 5 of Own Your Life is about looking to God as your life coach and owning His training in your life.
Last week we did a giveaway of 4 copies of Own Your Life for two sweet readers. The winners are:
Both winners have been emailed.
I am so thankful for all of you and pray you are encouraged by these samplings from Own Your Life.