Friday, January 4, 2013

Stretching a bit...

My youngest entered the world full of confidence. The doctor handed her to her Daddy at birth and she promptly cooed at him -- as if to say "I know you've been waiting for me your whole life!"

Perhaps the fact that two adults and three 8-year-olds were immediately enthralled by her every movement gave her such a healthy self-confidence. Or maybe it is just the way she is wired -- confident that she can master any task.

Whatever the reason, I was unprepared for the trepidation she exhibited when invited to join the most senior swim program at our swim school.

My little red has been swimming at Hubbard Swim School since she turned six months old. I was anxious that she be confident in the pool in our backyard and we were diligent in those lessons. She promptly developed a love of water that makes me smile. And so I was not surprised when her coach moved her up to Hammerhead Seniors. I was tickled as a matter of fact.

But my little swimmer had a look on her face last night -- her second time in this new group -- that I didn't recognize on her. Oh, I knew the look. I feel it quite often. But this little girl never has that look -- the one that says "I am not confident I can do this. I am a little scared."

Oh mercy. I looked at the pool, saw the lanes turned from short-across-the-pool-lanes to long-the-length-of-the-pool-lanes and honestly, I wanted to grab her up and bring her home. She is little after all.

And frankly, I am so accustomed to her marching in to a situation with confidence that this threw me for a loop. I really wanted to protect her from the fear.

But I knew that wasn't right. I knew "rescuing" her in this situation was not the right answer.  Ok, so I had to text my hubby so that he could hold my hand through the first few minutes of class. I needed the assurance that I was doing the right thing pushing her.

Within minutes, she was smiling and doing her thing -- swimming like the little fish she has always been. And she was proud of herself after. Exhausted. And still a little doubtful. But the smile on her face as she told her Daddy she DID it, well, I know she will continue even though she finds it a challenge.

I thought about her in that big pool long into the night. I thought about the fact that this is a new year and already I am contemplating some new things that have me feeling a bit apprehensive:

I have committed to a cyber-Bible-study with some friends in Minnesota that will push me spiritually but is also a training program for runners so it will also push me physically. I had sighed several times yesterday as I wondered if I can really do this thing. (You can check the Bible Study/Run Trainer here, if you are curious or want to join me!) It won't be easy, I am not in any shape to run a big ole' race right now. But I am committed to try. (And I have typed it in black and white so you can hold me accountable!)

I am reading some challenging books right now. One that is in particular challenging me in some of my thinking. I will confess that I prefer to read books written by authors that agree with me theologically -- but 2012 challenged my theology and so 2013 is a year where I want to examine my beliefs scripturally, taking them before the throne in prayer and study rather than taking at face-value speakers and authors. It is going to be a painful stretch.

Sometimes it is easier to keep to the short lane. To keep swimming in the little laps that make us feel accomplished, well-trained and GOOD at what we do. But not this year. This year I will follow the lead that my little red is setting, I will attempt to swim the long laps. I will reach out beyond what is comfortable for me physically, spiritually and emotionally, and let God grow me in the way that He wants me to grow.

And you know I'll share it here -- the good, the bad and the ugly. Cause typing my blessings means I am counting them out loud!