For me, one of the most delicious parts of summer is enjoying the outdoors poolside. As a native Arizonan, I can’t help but soak up as many moments of fun in the sun as I can! It’s 114 degrees today, thus there is no other rational reason to go outside unless it is to get in the water. Weekly, our After the Bell summer day camp embarks on a trip to a local pool. This place is impressive. Chock full of exciting features like a playground, water slides, and a chance to soak the lazy river floaters. It makes my afterschool program director heart happy to see flashes of red and white-attired lifeguards stationed every 15 feet or so confirming that our kiddos are safely swimming.
A recent water park trip gave me reason to pause and reflect. One of my rosy-cheeked cherubs ran up to me for in search of moral support. You see, she had never before jumped off of the diving board and that nine year-old was practically itching to take the plunge. I proudly puffed out my chest and regaled her with stories of my diving class days. That’s right, little lady, this 30-something once had a mean back dive and a wicked front flip! I couldn’t wait to see her conquer her fear and to be a part of this milestone for her but we were scheduled to leave soon. We had just enough time for her to conquer her fears. As we neared her turn, her eyes began to grow larger. She could hardly bring herself to climb the ladder. She paused at the top momentarily only to climb back down again. We repeated this process over and over for the next few minutes. Pep talk, climb up, climb down, get back in line. The poor girl wanted to take the plunge so badly but just couldn’t work up the courage. Sadly, we left the park that day and her feet had never left the ground.
Have you been there? Knowing that there is something calling to you that will require every ounce of bravery that you can muster. Have you feeling crippled by fear as you approach that next big step. Life is series of drawing on the strength that God has for us and facing our fears. It takes courage.
The next week, the same girl found me again, this time her face was beaming. She had done it. With no audience and an extra ounce of courage, she had jumped off the deep end!! We celebrated with a happy dance and then she jumped again and again and again.
As I reflect on that day I can’t help ask myself, how have I been courageous recently? And how do I need to take courage in this season. When I’m in need of some encouragement (yes, it has the word courage in it, how cool is that), I have specific passages of the Bible memorizes that I lean on. In both Deuteronomy and Joshua, God says, “Be strong and courageous!” Why? Because God is with us wherever we go! In Philippians it says that you “can do all things through Christ who gives you strength”. I challenge you to take an inventory as well. Recently, where have you shown courage in the big or even the small things? And in this season of your life where do you need to be courageous some more? I dare to jump off the deep end with me, whatever that might mean for you. You won’t regret it!