I swim. I swim a lot. Too much. It’s something that I’ve definitely prioritized above everything else in my life - including my relationship with God. It was my one focus in life. I was told that I had the chance to do something great and I was ready to do anything in order to get there. I had to practice this hard and go these times and get this fast so that I’d get calls from these colleges and get this amount of scholarship and be this happy. It was a perfectly formulated plan to get everything I wanted. The only problem was that nowhere in it was God.
And honestly I can say that the last 4 years have been a struggle. The plan worked great up until I had to go “those” times. Time after time after time again I touched that wall and looked up at the board only to be disappointed yet again. And after two years of the same disappointment, I was just so done with everything. I hated my coach for setting up false expectations for me, I hated my parents for not understanding the time and money they were wasting, and I hated myself for not being able to go the times I was supposed to go. So one day I walked out. I told my coach I was done and I walked out on the one thing I had put as number one in my life for the past 8 years. That was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Swimming is all I’ve ever known. It’s been my whole life. The time I’ve invested in the sport is ridiculous. And to think that maybe the one thing I wanted in my entire life was something that I actually didn’t want at all? That’s crazy. Everything that I’d known was crashing to the ground with the realization that maybe I didn’t actually want to swim at all. Ever. So I quit swimming. But I went back for all the wrong reasons. I was too scared of a future without swimming. It was too different. Too uncomfortable. I felt like I had an obligation to myself and my parents for already putting in so much time and money to at least finish the plan like I was supposed to. Get my scholarship. Hopefully like one of the five schools I secretly all despised because they weren’t the ones that were in my original plan. It was all very cynical. And selfish.
But I mean, God still provided, as blind as I was to His provisions and blessings. I signed with Northeastern University, albeit quite bitterly and with much disappointment because it wasn’t the Big 10/SEC/ACC school that I had been told I’d be fast enough for.
Cynical. Bitter. Disappointed. That pretty much summed up all of last fall. I hated going to church and I never wanted to talk to anybody. But over Christmas break, for some unbeknownst, miraculous act of God, I decided to tag along with some friends to a church conference in Chicago. And so I went. Not really expecting anything. Of course, God works. It was ridiculously amazing how evident God worked in my life that week; how He put me in that conference to listen to the things I did because they directly applied to everything I’d been struggling with. For five days, they kept pushing and pushing the Gospel message. “You know Jesus died for your sins right?” “Yes of course, obviously I know that.” “No you don’t understand. He DIED for YOU.” And a light bulb went off in my head. I’ve known this stuff my entire life but never have I ever truly realized the importance of it. How insane God’s love for me is. That he loved me as an individual so much that he sent his only son down as a sacrifice to die for me. And then multiply that love by hundreds of billions for the rest of the people that lived, are living, and will live. It’s ridiculous. I can’t fathom it. Nobody can.
It dawned on me the amazing greatness of the Gospel. And I realized how foolish it was for me to push off baptism all these years. What I thought was a good, reasonable excuse to not get baptized was just that: an excuse for myself. Selfishness. But baptism is an act of obedience to God; one that I want to fulfill. I’m not ashamed of my faith anymore. I want to proclaim it. I don’t want to swim for myself. I want to swim for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31.