Hello, how are you, g’day and 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!
An important part of improving your swimming is training with resistance. Many athletes cross-train, and might do different types of resistance training in the gym, but swimmers also often train with resistance in the pool. They pile on two or three swimsuits to add resistance, swim in panty hose (we enjoyed laughing at the guys when we did this at swim practice in high school) or put on a drag suit — a suit specifically designed to create resistance.
Resistance training forces you to work harder to make your way through the water, and strengthens your muscles in the process.
I used to love to go for jogs in our beautiful neighborhood back in South Africa. We lived in a sweet little village called Gordon’s Bay, and the running joke in the area was that Gordon’s Bay is the place where the wind was born. We moved into a big complex there with houses and apartment buildings that sat on a beautiful harbour. There were lots of boats and geese and palm trees and the views of the nearby Hottentots Holland mountains were spectacular when the sun set. There was a boardwalk and brick path around part of the harbour that made a great walking or jogging circuit.
On one particular afternoon I went out for a quick jog. The weather was a bit windy, but still nice and mild (for Gordon’s Bay anyway). There weren’t many people in our neighborhood at that time of year, because so many people who own property in the complex just use it for a month or two out of the year. So besides a very occasional hello here and there, it was mostly me, my shoes and my thoughts.
One of those funny moments showed up totally out of the blue — do you know the ones? You just start thinking, Man life is good. This is so lovely. I’m in such a beautiful place. I am glad to be alive. God is good. I kind of marveled at that precious, heart-full-to-bursting moment, and then just smiled thinking wisdom has taught me these moments never last long!
Then I turned a corner to continue the jog out onto the jetty wall which encloses the outermost section of the harbour and what should meet me but BLINDING GALE FORCE WINDS HOWLING PAST MY EARS AND ATTEMPTING TO STOP ME DEAD IN MY TRACKS or blow me into the water. And as life often does, so I was presented with the choice, to jog out onto the jetty as intended, or turn around and enjoy the wind on my back for a while. It’s an Irish proverb after all.
I instantly thought about the moment before. When everything seems to be cheesecake and chocolate soup, you will often come across a bump in the road or a fork in the path. There you meet the opportunity to take the path of least resistance, and it is especially tempting when you are afforded opportunities that will require you to work harder than you want to.
This challenge immediately translates to many areas of life: choosing to tell the truth regardless of the consequences, choosing to act according to what you know is right, instead of what everyone expects of you, or what will be easiest. It may mean fighting for a marriage that seems like a losing battle, or standing up to your boss when you know he’s doing something that isn’t right. Earlier in the day, for me it meant dealing with areas where I was holding offences against others, and asking them to forgive me. Especially if you want to live for what is right — you are consistently going to meet obstacles.
These opportunities are defining moments in our lives.
The moments when we choose the path of most resistance, because it’s the right path, are the moments when our true character is revealed, the moments when it’s clear what we’re really made of.
I pressed out onto the jetty, all the way to the end, where I could give the fishermen a good afternoon and a wave, then turned around and started heading back. Although my character may not have vastly improved by that simple decision, I knew that choosing the path of most resistance would make me a little stronger for the next run, and perhaps even able to stand when the real gale force winds blew through our little housing complex in Gordon’s Bay.
If you are swimming for greatness in the race of your life, don’t be afraid when you’re met with resistance. Resistance is a part of the process — often a place where the very hand of God is writing your story, training you so that you’ll be prepared for what He knows is further down the road that you don’t see yet. Sometimes you’ll have the opportunity to choose to face that resistance head on, or back down and choose a different route.
May these words encourage you today: Don’t be afraid to press on when you meet resistance. You may be on the precipice of a defining moment in the race of your life. The results of swimming your own race, even when it’s a tough one to swim, will be nothing short of glorious.