When I was in high school, I was hanging in a backyard pool with friends taking a swim. I had learned how to swim when i was younger, but this time I was caught off guard. I was lying on a pool float when one of the kids in the pool surprised me, popped up under me in the water, flipped my float over and pulled me. I was so surprised, I completely panicked, floundered around and almost drowned. Ever since then I have had a complete phobia of water.
Over the years I have been able to mentally calm my nerves to allow myself to get into the water, but only waist deep. And please don’t splash water near my face cause I’ll have a total mental meltdown and hyperventilate. But now with all the traveling I do to so many beautiful islands or destinations along a shore, I couldn’t help but think of all the missed opportunities I haven’t experienced only seeing the beauty of the water from land.
Faith over Fear
In 2015 alone, I went to over 10 beautiful locations with beaches, luxurious pools, snorkeling through coral reefs or some other cool water sport to partake in. And I only had the courage to get in the water once out of all those time for cave tubing, since it seemed pretty tame floating down a slow moving river looking inside caves inhabited by ancient Mayans and bats hanging overhead.
Now don’t get me wrong, it was such a fun experience and highly recommend it if you ever visit Belize. But when we came out of the caves at the end of the tour, you were allowed to get out and swim around or jump off a semi-tall embankment for fun. All the these little kids and older adventurers were jumping in and I couldn’t even get in past my waist in the water. It was so demoralizing to not be able to jump with everyone else and just enjoy.
This brings us to 2016, where I have a upcoming trip planned to a new continent for me (AFRICA), South Africa to be exact. And I cannot go on another trip and not experience everything the new adventure has to offer. So I decided to take a leap of faith and dive into the unknown and take swimming lessons to help me get over my fear of water. I am stepping out on faith and trusting God to make sure I swim and won’t sink, but more importantly I’m trusting Him to use this problem to show me a better me.
My situation is nothing too scary to overcome when you really think about it. It definitely a legitimate fear says WebMD, so it you know it real (Just kidding, but not kidding). But when you find out that that I will be going to South Africa solo, you’d think that fact should actually scare me more then if I can get in the ocean while on my trip.
It’s Only a Metaphor
But regardless if I sink or learn to swim, hoping for the later of course, its only a metaphor for the tough choices in life we face. You can sit at home afraid to take a chance at truly living or seeing the world because you have no one to go with you or you can’t find the time. That’s such a sinking and fearful mentality to live with if you are always finding excuses for all the things you want to do in life but haven’t done so yet.
On the other hand, I have some good news! It’s never too late to set out and conquer your fears and live out your dreams. I never thought I’d be an independent off on solo adventures, let alone really learning who I am as a woman, as a black woman and foremost a child of God. I couldn’t believe I had been living my life in a fearful, slowly sinking way.
Jumping into the Deep End
So this week I start my swimming lessons. I am totally freaking out as I don’t know what to expect. Will I get some little meek lady who won’t be able to handle me and we both go down? I really would prefer someone named Olga or a Hahns like in my fairytales who will make sure I don’t sink and teach me living changing swim skills. But forgot my fantasies and focus on the message at hand:
It is never to late to stop sinking and learn to swim
As long as you are on this Earth, its never too late to take a chance and live life to the fullest.
- Take up a new hobby
- Volunteer for a good cause you always had on your heart
- Reconnect with long lost love ones or find someone from your past that helped you and thank them
- Start your new career, take that new job or start your own business
- Plan a trip or and life-changing adventure
- READ a book
No matter what it is, do something that you’ve never done before or something you always wanted to and didn’t have the courage to try. On my journey I have to decided to better myself and swim more, have more faith and find my happiness everyday. No more sinking and fear of failure, rejection or the unknown. It will still be scary at times, but how will you ever know if you don’t ever take the first step off into the water and swim.