Learning to Float
I couldn’t believe the mantle of “teacher” had fallen to me. I was in 6th grade. I successfully completed my Red Cross lifesaving certification , and since I was so good with little kids, I was among the one of the chosen few volunteers asked to help instruct the beginner swimmers.
And they didn’t just pick me to teach the kids to put their faces in the water and take the side-to-side breaths or do the flutter kick. I was at the back float station —where each little 3 and 4-year-old had to put their ultimate trust in my hands—a stranger they didn’t know.
The most challenging thing about my job was to get little kids to relax while they were laying on my hand in the water, and then assure them that when I took my hand away that I would not let them drown.
I remember my mantra: “Lay Back, I’ve got You. Just Relax.”
There was always that one little kid … the kind that clawed you like a feral cat … and no matter how hard you tried the kid felt his or her body should never be splashed by water.
I would go to that extra effort of pulling them around the water in a circle, my hands secured at the tops of their shoulders. I would tell these scared kids to pretend to be an alligator sunbathing on their back just so they would relax and eventually lay back in the water. I held under the shoulders for awhile. then I placed a hand in the center of their back to pull them around the pool. Then the hand gradually went away and they were floating 30 seconds…then longer and longer…until I just lightly tapped their backs to keep them moving, but they were floating on their own!
And when the day finally came when one of my students would call out, “Hey, teacher, look, I’m doing it,” each smiling face patted me on the back. I knew I had helped these little ones master a skill they would have with them for a lifetime.
“Lay Back, I’ve got You. Just Relax.” Learning to float—it’s a skill that seems effortless, but sometimes it’s the most challenging to master.
However, a lot of the times in our spiritual lives you are trying to learn to float only in times of desperation—when you’re thrown in the deep end. You can’t feel the bottom of the pool, so the struggle takes over—water goes up your nose and the reality of gravity seems to overwrite the reality that the Creator- has you in the center of His hand. The effort to tread water on your own leaves you feeling exhausted and hopeless.
The real breakthrough comes when we abandon our being to His holding. But we will have to relax in trust relinquishing our total selves—mind-body-spirit into the “habit of abiding.”
Let’s not wait until we feel the weight of being heavy laden before we ask Him to give us rest. Let’s master the effortless skill of the floating and take joy and peace in the reality of whatever may come—because He is our Savior—because He readily volunteered to take our burdens long ago. Just recognize He is there with you even before you step into the pool.
Praying through this issue of Leading Hearts will help you to embrace the ways God is wanting to break through in every area of your life, every day!
editor, Leading Hearts Magazine