About three years ago I entered one of the most difficult seasons of my life. I didn’t know it at the time, but looking back I can see plainly that it was the grace and strength of God that pulled me through.
In December of 2015 I looked ahead to the New Year with eagerness and energy. Since I was a Personal Leadership Coach by trade and a planner by nature, I took a good look at my life and asked God what I should work on in the coming year. What kinds of goals should I set? What new heights should I climb? What “one word” or phrase would be my special word for the year? As I prayed, the only thought that came to me was to faithfully keep moving forward one step at a time as God opened the doors in front of me. I immediately thought of Disney’s “Finding Nemo” movie where the character named Dory repeatedly says, “Just keep swimming.”
“So God,” I said, “You want me to just keep swimming this year?” In His own quiet way, I am convinced that God replied with, “Yep.”
At this time, I was four months pregnant with our son, Jonathan. I had a fairly easy pregnancy up to that point so I looked ahead with excitement along with some healthy apprehension to having a baby at an older age than most moms. I didn’t completely understand why I needed to “just keep swimming” – but I held back from adding any new goals or resolutions for the year. Before long my regular doctor referred me to a specialist at the university hospital in the big city near us to review my case. As the months progressed, complications arose and we were strongly advised to give birth at the university hospital because of the close proximity of the Intensive Care Unit to the birthing center. Like every good doctor, ours warned us of all the terrible outcomes that could occur… including my death. Sobering indeed. “Just keep swimming.”
As I traveled through this season, I walked in a kind of shell shock. I kept my coaching appointments with clients, continued teaching the classes I was scheduled to teach, and followed through with a couple speaking engagements I had already planned. I pulled back in everything else and made zero effort to add anything new into my life. There was enough newness coming on its own without my added effort!
After several hospital stays and a couple months of bed rest, our son arrived in late April 2016 and (obviously) we didn’t die. Thank you Jesus! My emotions during this season were all over the place and my faith in God was exercised like never before. It ended up taking quite a long time post-partum for my emotions and faith to come back online as before. I am so thankful that all I had to do was “just keep swimming.” After about two years I started intentionally adding new things back in to my life. This blog post is one of them!
I learned an important lesson during this season about CAPACITY. There are times in our lives when we are simply maxed out in our capacity. What is your capacity like? Are you looking at the year ahead with anticipation? or exhaustion? I believe strongly in the power of setting specific, measurable, and motivating goals… but are they appropriate in every season? I’d like to share some advice that you may not expect to hear from a life coach: Perhaps some of you do not need to add “more” this year. Perhaps you don’t need a new resolution for self-improvement or career development. Perhaps you need to “just keep swimming.”
So while all your friends are scurrying about adding new and wonderful things into their calendars, I’d like to give you permission to be still and walk faithfully in the path God has already set before you. The time will come soon enough when you will be ready for new goals and challenges. That is a great time to connect with a life coach! For right now, however, JUST KEEP SWIMMING.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER: Do you need permission to simply be faithful instead of frenzied? I invite you to share your story and thoughts below. —OR— Are you on the other side of this swimming season and you have resolved to add or improve some habits this year? Share your resolutions or goals below!
I’ll share mine… I have started a new Bible reading plan I really like. It’s called The Bible Project and it’s found in the Bible Gateway App. I am also walking a minimum of 1-2 miles every day. Upward and onward!