A big, smiling welcome to you! This post is part of a series I’m working my way through in the month of October, called Swim Your Own Race. If you’d like to start at the beginning (it is a very good place to start, after all) you can do so, right here. I hope you enjoy diving in!


Funny thing I’d love to mention to you. Just a little while ago, I was looking at something I’d written down in my prayer journal, and I came across a prayer I’d written down early one morning this summer. The sun was shining through the trees, my garden was growing in the backyard, and I was awake and thankful and grateful, and full of things to praise the Lord for. Even though it was near my Dad’s birthday and I was missing him more than usual, still I felt the weight of all the gifts, and told the Lord I could only trust Him and smile at His goodness.

That was not this morning.


This morning I woke up wondering why the Tank had to get up at half past 11 for a drink of water, which meant shortly after I’d settled myself back into bed and nearly fallen asleep the Belle woke up and needed some juice and why didn’t we just get in bed at 8:30 last night and call it a day, I am tired.

(Nevermind that the Hubs had just gotten home and was having dinner at 8:30…)

Sometimes I look back on the days when I was in college, and I made good decisions about studying and exercising and resting (most of the time) and I didn’t have to get up particularly early most of the time. When I woke up in the morning, a big smile covered my face, my arms stretched toward the sky… it was what I’d imagine it looks like when a Disney princess wakes up in the morning. Birds singing, light streaming through the window, happy thoughts brimming over…

That was not this morning, either.

Poor Hero Hubs.

The truth is there are seasons when you are ready and excited to dive into the race for the day. Things seem to be going well, perhaps you’re excited about what’s happening in your life, and it’s easy to give thanks and find joy.

But then there are seasons where it is — literally or figuratively — painful, just to get out of bed. A struggle to schlep to the shower. Where you wonder how people survived before the advent of coffee.

Those are the laps in the pool that are hard to complete. Not impossible, but surely a challenge.

In the pool, facing a lap that you don’t feel ready to swim typically requires you to do a couple of simple things. First, maintain a careful awareness of your pace to make sure you’re not going at it too hard to finish the race, and second, stay focused on just completing the next stroke.

In high school, one of my best friends {Camden, the same friend from the anklet story} swam the 500 meter freestyle race. To help the swimmers keep track, we had these plastic boards where we could flip the numbers over. We plunged these into the pool with the number of laps completed (or remaining… I can’t remember) so that the swimmer in that lane could see where they were in their race and pace themselves accordingly.

Camden was skilled at pacing herself as a distance swimmer (unlike yours truly) but there were races where I could watch her, or some of the other swimmers in the pool, and see that it was a challenge just to get each arm up out of the pool and plunge it back in again.

If you’re in a season like this, it might be a good time to look at your pace. To ask questions about what you’re requiring of yourself and how you could do things differently to make sure you’re getting rest and taking care of yourself.

Once you’ve asked that question, know that sometimes these seasons are ordained by God. A swimmer working toward a quicker pace in the pool will train their body to handle a greater amount of challenge and resistance. A believer being trained to run their race with endurance will endure seasons of hardship and learn to lean more heavily on the Lord and His Spirit to see them through.

If you are in the midst of a season where you’re struggling just to get one arm out of the pool, know that there is a God who sees you in this circumstance. He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith, which means He can author something beautiful, even out of the hard places in our lives. The places where we just want to stop — we don’t want to swim another stroke.

Don’t let the big picture overwhelm you. Don’t allow a sense of fear, in questioning how long you’ll have to endure this particular season, trouble your heart.

The race happens one lap at a time. Life comes one day at a time.

Keep asking for, and giving thanks for, your daily bread.

Keep asking for, and giving thanks for, the strength and help you need to make it through this day.

You are not swimming next week’s race right now. You are here, and all you have to live is today.

Look for God’s goodness in this lap friends… I believe you’ll find it.