by Dani Catherine
Swimming is not my gifting. I know how to swim, and by swimming I mean doggie paddle. The thought of holding my breath for a long period of time terrifies me, so I usually opt to do the doggie paddle and sometimes I even consider not going in the pool or ocean at all. And recently, I almost wore a pair of swim floaties from Paige Eavenson’s 3 year old daughter, who is a better swimmer than I. I didn’t have a specific event happen to me that has caused me to not like swimming…I just have an irrational fear of it. When I had knee surgery in February, I knew my workout routine was going to have to change. My physical therapist suggested that I started to swim instead of doing my normal boot camp workouts. I cringed at the thought of swimming laps in a pool, especially at the gym with aspiring professional swimmers next to me. So, I was challenged to get out of my comfort zone of doggie paddling, and I added “Learn how to swim like a fish” to my summer bucket list!
My gal pal, Taylor, went with me to swim laps for my first time ever. She has done triathlons before, so I knew she would be able to show me the proper form and techniques. She showed me a few things about swimming and then we were off to the races with our swim caps and goggles. While she was on her 5th lap, I was still on my 2nd. I felt like the water was winning and in my head I kept putting myself down. I kept saying “I don’t think I am meant to swim…I am not doing it right…the people in the other swim lanes are probably making fun of me.” Such irrational thoughts, but I thought them. Taylor kept telling me I was doing great and was encouraging me to keep going. So, I kept going. I started to “Praise Swim.” I started to praise God and thank Him for a breath of life, the two arms and two legs I was using to swim and for the memories I was making with a dear friend. I realized that I sometimes get so caught up in “what is going wrong” or “what I’m not doing right” that I forget about the things that I am blessed with. The moment I realized that it wasn’t about how fast I was or what others thought of my swimming, was the moment I started to find joy, and swimming became easier.
After our first swim session, I started to attend the gym regularly to practice my swimming. I am now fully comfortable in the water and I am not fearful of what others think of me while I am swimming. The one thing that I was so scared of doing, is something I now enjoy doing! I finally faced my fear!! I learned that no matter how hard something seems and no matter how scary it looks, to ALWAYS put my faith and trust in the Lord and to praise Him for everything He has already done! I know sometimes we get scared to try new things, but what if we didn’t try?…would we ever know that we might have enjoyed it? What if we faced our fears?! I challenge you to try something you are afraid of doing and have faith in yourself!! I promise you that God will show you joy in those fears!
Is there an activity that you are afraid of doing? If so, what is it?! How can you push through those fears? Share your comments below!
Dani Catherine is the Communications Coordinator for the Beautiful Ministry, as well as a full time Substance Abuse Therapist. Dani loves to bake, eat ice cream, paint, snap photos and spend time with her loved ones…especially her dog, Jeter!