By Alison Feinauer
My friends asked me to do a triathlon with them. I’m like, “Nah, I’m not really and swimmer or biker. I’ll come cheer.” Then I thought, why not. Something new may be just the challenge I need. So I decided to try to train for it. I went swimming for the first time in ages. Another friend of mine gave me some tips on swimming: the right way to breathe and hold my hands to get the most distance out of each stroke. The first time I tried, I went longer and faster than I ever thought I could. And I actually enjoyed it!
Part of my swimming story is when I was little; I was in the beginner’s class for about 5 years in a row because I just couldn’t learn how to swim. There was always a fear paralyzing me. I was afraid of the water, and my mother kept putting me through the same class thinking, “this year she will get it.” Around age 9, I finally moved on. My mom had to make a choice each year to keep me in the basic class because she knew it would be worth the hard work.
When I was 6, I almost drown in a pool at Disney. A little boy convinced me to go to the middle with him, and then he left me. I was under water for a long time. Satan tried to take my life when I was only learning the basics. Is he trying to take yours too?
As I was reflecting on this, I was reminded of that the first 5 years of my ED healing journey. I felt like I was stuck in the same basic class, learning the same things over and over. Little did I know, 30 years later it would pay off. Do you feel stuck in the basics like you just can’t move past that one thing? Is Satan trying to discourage you? I encourage you to keep at it. Allow God to keep teaching you the basics.
The basics are this: He loves you, and he wants you to love who He’s created you to be. Seems simple, right? Ha! It takes years and the Holy Spirit to really believe that. We have to come with open hands and hearts each morning and ask God to teach us that. The fear that used to grip me, is now propelling me forward into freedom to try new things like a triathlon. Is there something new He wants you to step into? Or do you need to revisit the basics? One is not better than the other, but we’ve got to move.
Father, teach me to love you and love myself. Remind me of the basics of your love for me. I give you an open heart so that I can receive your love. Crack whatever hardness covers it so that I can fully feel it and believe it. I’m asking you to help me make space and time to swim in your love for me. Drown out my fears with your perfect love. I know the healing that will come when I lay down the weights I’m carrying in exchange for your presence.