What I don’t want you to know is . . .

no diving

My grandmother was scared of water. So she never learned how to swim.

So neither did my mother.

And so neither did I.

Not only was I scared of the water, I was embarrassed by my fear.

At Camp Neyati in the summers when my girlfriends would look forward to our swimming hour, I’d dread it. When they had pool parties, I’d hope we wouldn’t have to actually get in the pool. And when I needed one more P.E. credit in college, I was horrified that Beginning Swimming was the class that would fit my schedule.

I signed up for the class anyway, meeting with other waterphobes that winter semester, three early cold mornings a week in the (somewhat) heated indoor pool. We started with putting our faces under water, then progressed to learning strokes, and then—the mother of all fears—diving into the deep end.

It scared me then.

It scares me still.

When my feet can’t touch bottom, I don’t like it.

I really don’t know what I’m doing.
And that’s what I’d rather you not know.

God keeps giving me things I don’t know how to handle, showing me things I’ve never seen before.

Is this how vulnerability feels? Is this what authenticity looks like? Knowing your feet won’t touch bottom but jumping in anyway?

  • Knowing when I pray God’s blessings over strangers that I’ve no clue how those blessings will come?
  • Knowing I need to voice my beliefs regardless of how surprised it makes others?
  • Knowing I must say yes to new things despite how inadequate I feel?

If I have to jump in over my head, I need to know God is already in the water. To hold me afloat once I’m in. To show me what to do with the other characters he throws in with me.

My feet no longer touch bottom.

All I know is . . . God.

Maybe if Grandma had learned how to swim, she wouldn’t have been scared of the water. And she would have taught my mother. And my mother would have taught me.

So if you see me in the swimming pool, now you know I’m still not comfortable.

But since I’ve learned how to swim, I’m not as scared as I once was. I’ve learned how to dive.

Because God is in the water. And he is who he says he is. And he’s making me into who he says I am. And fear and shame aren’t allowed to stop him.

After all, God hasn’t let me drown yet.

* * *

Have you read Glennon Doyle Melton’s fantastic series the past few days, Sacred Scared? I highly recommend it.

What scares you? How do you deal with it?

25 thoughts on “What I don’t want you to know is . . .

  1. Rebekah Hughes

    I know exactly how you feel. I’m not a swimmer and I am so fearful when my feet don’t touch. I can take a few strokes in water, but it’s better if I have a life jacket on. So thankful that God goes before us and uphold us even when we are in over our heads.
    Great thoughts.
    Amazing grace.

  2. Kim Adams Morgan

    Hi Lisa, So many things scare me. Mostly the unknown. How much crazier this world will get, things like that. But I hold tight to God’s love and promise and I know I will be safe. He never lies and our problems are nothing for Him.

    My husband doesn’t like to be in water where he can’t see the bottom. It is a very creepy thing for him. Stopping by from Winsome Wednesday.

  3. floyd

    What a great analogy. It is all about faith. Could be all that happened by God’s providence for you to be able to relate this. It’s powerful. All of us live by faith… even the ones who don’t believe it. Thanks, Lisa.

  4. Laura Rath

    Hi Lisa,
    I can relate. As a child, I wasn’t allowed to wear my glasses in the pool. So, I couldn’t swim or see, and it’s really hard to learn when you can’t see the instructor or where you’re trying to swim to. Needless to say, I never really learned how to swim, and I’ve never been comfortable in a pool. It’s not as bad now. I can kind of swim and don’t feel my chest tighten up just getting in the pool. When my daughter went through swim lessons, I insisted she wear her glasses, despite questions of why she wore them in the pool. She can swim now and likes it…and she still finds it annoying when other kids tell her she’s not supposed to wear her glasses in the pool.

  5. Barbara H.

    Great post, Lisa. I can’t swim – and I grew up near a beach where we visited often.

    God has often put me in the kind of situation you describe. It’s scary, but the assurance that He is there all along the way is the only way I can handle it.

  6. Janis@Heart-Filled Moments

    Lisa~ What a great post on how God catches us and is there when we just jump in–to whatever He calls us. Once, a counselor asked me to visualize that I was at the edge of a deep pit and Jesus was at the bottom. Just jump in, she said, and Jesus will catch you. I couldn’t do it, and that was just a visualization. It signaled that my trust in Him was not complete enough that I could let go and trust He would be there for me.
    Thank you for this post.

  7. Alecia

    Love the analogy, Lisa of jumping in the deep end and our feet not touching to being scared to be vulnerable but doing it anyways. It really is worth it isn’t it?
    Yes!! Love Glennon’s series!! Really love most of what she says 🙂

  8. Dolly@Soulstops

    Sounds like you are following His lead and it is exciting…..those out of our comfort zone places are where we get to learn to depend on Him in new ways…great analogy….your post also illustrated the power of our family histories…blessings to you 🙂

  9. tcavey

    Awesome post, very timely for me.
    I posted on Monday about my upcoming new book. I’m scared silly of having this book published. But I feel I’ve done as God asked and as you just said, He is in the water and won’t let me drown.

    I have to keep reminding myself of God’s goodness as thoughts of failure loom ever closer. “What if people don’t like it?” is my smallest fear. My greatest fear is God somehow being mocked because of my incompetence. I only want to bring Him glory…and I must trust Him to see me through this because I am in over my head 🙂

  10. Trudy

    What a beautiful analogy, Lisa! I love how you show we have to learn to leap in anyway even if our feet don’t touch the bottom – “Because God is in the water. And he is who he says he is. And he’s making me into who he says I am. And fear and shame aren’t allowed to stop him.” Thank you for this comfort!

  11. bluecottonmemory

    I love swimming – though I remember almost drowning once. I’ve taught all my boys to swim and read – but just like you say, “God keeps giving me things I don’t know how to handle, showing me things I’ve never seen before” – and I experience that fear you describe – the overhwelming-ness of it all – and, like you, I jump in because He is there!

  12. Cherry

    Thanks, Lisa – so good! I liked this especially … “If I have to jump in over my head, I need to know God is already in the water. To hold me afloat once I’m in.” So grateful that He IS always with us, even when we are in over our heads. Appreciated reading this …

  13. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! Well, I’m a swimmer, but I know when I feel uncomfortable, and that’s your point! I really relate to the line about praying for people, and having no idea how God answers that, or how that ‘works’. It really does call you to fall on God’s mercy and hope, hope, hope. He says he is with you, so I know he is.

    The best thing of all is that you are not quitting. You’ll still go in the water, you’ll still pray with others. And that is pure faith. God loves that!!
    Keep swimming, and keep praying for others… you are called to face those fears. And you’re doing it. Yay!

  14. Katie

    I am a swimmer dear friend. 🙂 But I totally get fear. Fear is overwhelming lately. I actually wrote today been a bit again. Fear has stopped me from doing a lot lately. I have had flashbacks of stuff from my past, but I am starting to deal with them. I go to a new counselor next week. Fear of health situations. Fear of so much….. but God is there and I am ever so grateful he is.

  15. Krista

    Lisa, I just read this to my hubby. He’s going through a “feet not touching the bottom” season. This is really a word in due time! 🙂

    Thank you ((hugs))!!!


  16. Denised

    Hi Lisa,

    I have anxiety every time I step into an airplane (which I do often because of traveling for work) I get caught up into my fear, and let anxiety wrap me up in myself. Unfortunately, I often carry and hold on to this fear even when I say that I am trusting in Him. But when I am faithful and turn my worries into heartfelt prayer, I begin to experience peace knowing that God is truly in control, then I realize that I have just spent valuable time worrying and letting fear get in my way rather than letting God take charge

    Great words here today; thanks for visiting me over at Refine Me.
    Blessings and hugs,
    Denise 🙂

  17. Carol

    Wonderful analogy. I am more comfortable with pen and paper, but the Lord has provided opportunities to speak in front of a group. I feel like I am jumping into the deep end of the pool. He is faithful in growing me up.

  18. Patty

    Had to pop by from Faith Jam … because I always love to hear what you write. I love this story. I could go on about my own “swimming issues” but really, it’s about deep water, isn’t it? Thank you for this post and for the reminder: God!
    ~ Patty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *