My senior year in college, I had to take a physical education course or I was NOT going to graduate. It wasn’t that I was not into fitness at the time, this requirement just slipped my mind. I chose to take beginning swimming because I’ve always wanted to learn to swim. To be honest, I actually “learned” as a child at the local YMCA, but I never quite figured out how to do it correctly. You see, my whole focus was being terrified of drowning so the goal was to just get to the destination (usually, to whoever the instructor was) and then come up for air. I never learned to breathe.
I had the same mindset my senior year at UGA. The whole semester I was in this class, I
never learned how to come up for air while swimming. I feel the instructor let me get away with this because I could actually swim, while holding my breath. Even when I took on the challenge of swimming in the 15 feet of water, I held my breath the entire time, swam the length of the pool, and came up for air when I reached my destination.
“Britt, what’s the point of this ridiculous story other than to make us laugh at you?”
Well….my swimming skills are similar to my life skills and how I handle my God-given purpose. When I get an idea for teaching a lesson, come up with a new strategy for branding myself and my organization, R.A.D.I.A.N.C.E., or even when God gives me an idea for a book, I DIVE IN HEAD FIRST! I’m ready to work, and I swim and swim, expecting to reach my goal….WITHOUT BREATHING.
Here’s the thing: Every idea, every attempt, every event is not always going to work out the first time. But if you take it on by jumping in without thinking of ways to come up for air if it doesn’t work, then one of two things is going to happen.
- You’re going to keep pushing yourself until you reach the other end of the pool and realize you’ve really achieved nothing.
- You’re going to burn out, stop in the middle of deep waters, and possibly sink.
“Britt, I don’t get these metaphors.”
Okay… basically, you will run yourself ragged before you actually reach whatever goal you’ve set for yourself. You should never come out of a pool gasping for air because good swimmers know how to breathe while they work. Good entrepreneurs know how to pace themselves, strategize, and take moments of reflection to reevaluate if what they are doing is working. The same goes for good authors, good teachers, good….anybodies with any type of goal or ambition.
I’m not the best at this and often when things don’t work out with my plan A, I walk away. I go on a entrepreneurial hiatus, I get writer’s block, I start looking for other non-teaching jobs on Indeed.com (lol)…. but seriously, I slick give up. Like what entrepreneur do you know actually takes a hiatus…can’t make money like that, chile! But for me, it takes a lot of spiritual guidance from my support system to help to understand that if it’s actually broke, I need to fix it. I have to find different ways to accomplish the same goal…not totally walk away from it.
I can’t lie y’all… it takes breaks away from everything, like the one I received this week, to truly realize that I needed to breathe. When school is in session, and grad school papers are due, and writing deadlines need to be met, and money for R.A.D.I.A.N.C.E. is needed….it’s hard for me to think clearly because I’m trying to manage everything without taking a breath. I’m working on it though…and the following reminders have really helped me:
The plans are already set, you just have to pursue them. – Jeremiah 29:11
Keeping my mind on the fact that God “knew
me” before my mama and daddy decided to “do-the-do” and have children always keeps me going (Jeremiah 1:5), but to push that even further, and know that He has already established plans for my life that are going to help me prosper, makes every setback and mistake worthwhile. It’s all a learning process to remind me to continue to depend on God because He is the one in charge anyway.
Commit your work to the ONE who gave you the gift and it will come to fruition. – Proverbs 16:3
Everything I do, should be for the glory of God. I know everyone isn’t Christian, and everyone doesn’t necessarily believe in a higher power, but understand that any gift you have, isn’t for you. It’s to bring light into the world. For me, that means giving it back to God because He blessed me with it. Once I do that, anything I use my gifts and talents for will be blessed by Him. So no matter how many times I fail, He’s there to pick me up because the plans are already established and will serve as a beacon of hope for others, who are struggling just the same.
When God is in control of your work, you don’t have to worry about how it will get done because He will make it happen. – Philippians 1:6
Everyday, I re-learn the lesson, “What time or value can I had to my life by constantly worrying about what the future holds?” (Matthew 6:27). The answer is always NOTHING! I can’t waste time worrying about whether or not I will make it to the destination or even worse, how I will make it. If you’re like me and can swim while holding your breath (because you don’t know how to breathe smh), then realize that you never worried about making it to your destination while you’re fighting to get out of that pool alive. If you can make it on your own “by any means necessary,” what makes you think you can’t make it with God….especially when He is the author of our work, the reason why we have the gift, the One who gave us the purpose and passion? He started this thing in you before you were even a you (insert Jeremiah 1:5 again). One thing God is not, is a liar. He said He would finish what He started… we just have to trust and believe He will.
How do you keep swimming while breathing? What keeps you motivated when things just don’t seem to work out the way you planned? How do you remember that all things will work out for your good, when it seems all bad? What about when no one is supporting you? I’d love to hear your strategies!
Peace & blessings,