Last year I decided it was time for Annalyn to take swim lessons. Little did I know that the lessons at our community center are in such high demand. When I called at 11 am on the day non-member registration opened, I was told that the classes were all full. Indignant, I asked, “Don’t you save room for non-members?” [Members were allowed to register starting two days earlier.]
The patient girl on the phone informed me that people start calling the minute the center opens on registration day. You know, at 5:30 am? Right.
So, last year, Annalyn took swim lessons at the YMCA.
It went fine. Not great, but fine. She loves (LOVES!) the water and “swimming,” so I knew it was something we would do again. And I was determined to be one of the [insane] people on the phone the second registration opened this year.
[Quit. Those gasps of insincere surprise are not helping.]
Of course, in typical giving up on perfect fashion, I missed the first session of lessons this summer. But I just couldn’t settle for lessons at the Y again. The community center offers more lessons for a lot less money, and several people have told me how great they are. So we waited for the mid-summer session.
I still didn’t call as early as I should have and had to sign up for twice-weekly lessons instead of Saturday morning. But it’s been a great arrangement. Annalyn loves her swim lessons, her teacher is patient, and [have I mentioned?] they cost less than that other place.
Despite her enthusiasm for swim lessons, though [as in, “I! Love! Swim Lessons!”], Annalyn is not looking like the next, female Michael Phelps. Last year, she would barely put her head under by the end of the session. This year, she’s ALL OVER that, dipping under the water every five seconds and shouting, “Dunk! I’m dunking, Mommy! Dunk!”
But when it comes time for the students in her class to jump off the side of the pool, she digs in her feet, shakes her head and says, simply, “No.”
Ah, yes, that’s my stubborn girl.
“Just jump in!” I tell her. “It will be fun! I promise.”
“Have I ever told you to do something that hurt you?” I ask.
“What is my job?” I prompt. “Right. My job is to keep you safe. Jumping in is safe!”
“And so fun,” adds Mark. “I love jumping in! You’ll love it, too.”
I’ve gotten so frustrated, watching her through the glass, shaking her head and mouthing to me, “Noooooooo.” Before every lesson, we’ve talked about jumping in and how it will be fun and she should do it. She agrees, reluctantly, and I think, “Yes. Today will be the day!”
But it’s not. It’s not the day, and we are back where we started. And I feel disappointed that she’s not doing this great thing that she’s supposed to do, this thing that she’ll love doing, this thing that she’s here to learn. I’m frustrated that she won’t believe me, that she doesn’t trust me.
And I wonder if this is how God feels about me sometimes.
“Just jump in!” He says. “It will be great, I promise.”
“I will always keep you safe,” He says, “and besides, this will be so much fun.”
“Why won’t you do this? This thing I made you to do? Why won’t you trust me?”
I have this beautiful bracelet from (in)courage that Lisa Leonard designed. It says, “Dream God-sized dreams.” I recently got the chain replaced and I’ve been wearing the bracelet every day. I have to. I’m sticking my toe in the pool, and I know God is going to ask me to jump any day now.
Sometimes I think I’m pretty brave, but I sure don’t feel that way right now. I feel overwhelmed and under-qualified and unprepared and, in general, crazy. But mostly, I feel scared. The pool is big and it might be deep and it’s probably cold and I’m just not sure anyone will catch me if I jump.
Still. I don’t want to be a scared little girl, afraid to jump, missing out on the amazing thing God has for her.
Despite my frustration with Annalyn’s refusal to jump in the pool, I’m working to be patient with her, to encourage her and celebrate the success of “dunking” herself, and to love her no matter what she chooses. And as hard as that has been [because patience is not exactly my thing], I know it will pay off in the end – and I know that God is teaching me so much more than kicking techniques and how to keep water out of my nose.
Because I want to jump in. I do. The pool can’t be that deep. Right? Right?!
What do you do when faced with a scary but exciting opportunity? How do you make yourself “jump in the pool”?
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