When I began writing this blog, I had a lot to say about becoming untethered from hurtful thoughts and habitual behaviors. It’s a natural place for a recovery teacher to begin. However, there is more to living well and in alignment with God’s will than identifying false beliefs and refraining from taking action in them. There comes a time when we need to move forward into freedom by taking a risky step into new territory.
LOOKING INTO THE FEAR
I recently took such a leap of faith. It was a jump into the deep end of a swimming pool. Perhaps to you that’s not a big deal, but to me it was monumental! I’d had swimming lessons…some forty-ish years ago…teachings that went largely untouched. Our family did not have a pool, nor did we have a membership to one. The opportunity to put those water drills to practice were few and far between and the longer the time span between trips to the pool, the rustier my abilities became.
Confidence in my abilities dampened, running south through doubt right into a sinkhole of anxiety. If I could no longer swim, I must then be at risk of drowning. Doesn’t that logic make sense? I thought so. I was convinced.
Once married and choosing vacation destinations, we would often choose warm places to travel. It was an effort to beat the cold, drab winters at home. Here, I got by sitting daintily on the water’s edge, toes splashing friends and family.
“Mom, come swim with us!”
By the time children came along, I was used to being warm and would evade the tempting cool waters.
“That water is too cold! I don’t want to be cold!” I’d say. In my heart, I wished I was confident like they were. It looked like fun and I felt the party-pooper. I was missing out on time with my kids.
LOOKING FOR CONFIDENCE
Living untethered…writing and sharing vulnerably in public…has built my confidence in taking the risk to do the things I have put off out of fear. In my very first post (link to that post here), I listed three guidelines:
Living Untethered is no longer being tied to hurtful thoughts but thriving in truth.
Living Untethered is moving freely in the personal joys and talents God has gifted.
Living Untethered is about feeling relieved by the limits of my own strength and resources, knowing my ends are the beginning of the strengths and resources of God and of others…endless!
The second listed item is the “moving forward” guideline. Acknowledging the past hurts and their resulting wrongful thinking patterns without taking action against them indicates a choice to remain a victim. (Ouch! That’s a zinger!)
Perfectly aware that my swimming pool anxiety was hurting my life, it was now time to move forward with a big splash. I’d tried wading in the shallow end over the years, only to exit the same way once I became uncomfortable. This was my go-big moment.
TAKING THE PLUNGE
I don’t know what made me think to don goggles before I leapt, but I was glad I did! Jumping in with my eyes open gave me a sense of control. This was not a close-your-eyes and blast-into-the-dark-abyss moment. I could see exactly where I was and where I needed to go. Where else could I use goggles (not literal swimming goggles-Haha!) to assist in taking a leap into fear and freedom?
Since I took the plunge, the pool has become my friend. Each day I swim a few laps, tread water and practice breath control. I am continuing to stay afloat of what has held me down for so long. I’ve made a custom out of the deep-end-hop, choosing it over the shallow side easy-in. With my momentum building, I don’t want to give myself the temptation of leaving an escape route open.
Conquering a stronghold far exceeds the affirming and awesome feelings of self-discovery! I am rejoicing in this new territory! It is nice to be a swimmer, better yet a victor over fear!
What fear is holding you back from living free? What is your risky first step?
Fear is the enemy. You too can look it in the eye and yell, “Cannonball!”
“And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.” – Psalm 27:6