Who Are You Going to Believe?

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Our family are members of our town pool.This past summer I not only signed the kids up for swim lessons but the swim team too.

The lessons were a hit but the swim team, not so much.

Eliana took to the experience like a fish to water (excuse the pun). Ava on the other hand, was not as excited as I thought she would be. This confused me because I knew that she loves the water and loves swimming.  After just a few practices she decided competition was not for her. Despite my failed attempts to sweet-talk and bribe her back in the water she sat out the practices that followed.

I didn't let her off the hook that easy though.

I kept asking her why she refused to swim. Her contradictory explanations for wanting to sit out only confirmed my suspicions. Coming through her resistance to participate was a longing to be a part of the action. I knew better than to let her quit.

Ava has a tendency to shy away from anything that she thinks she is not equipped to do or is unsure of. She is an observer, always has been. Instead of jumping right in, picking it up as she goes along, she sits out, gathers information and assesses the situation. Then and only then does she proceed.

Little did I know, as Ava was sitting poolside with me and her little brother, she was paying close attention to what was going on in practice.  She gathered up enough courage to join the others. She dove into the water and did the most amazing butterfly stroke I’d ever seen an 8 year old do. Yes, I realize that may be the opinion of a proud mother but after a few practices her coaches expressed similar sentiments.

Fast-forward a week or so, Ava was now swimming in practices but despite the praises she received she still had no interest in participating in the swim meets.

One morning during breakfast my husband and I were trying to encourage her to compete. As we were talking to her about it she finally opened up and told us she thought she wasn’t a very good swimmer.

My response: “Are you kidding me, you are a great swimmer! Your coaches think you are doing fantastic.”

I went on to tell her about the conversations I had with her coaches about how fast they thought she was. They thought she was doing terrific. I suggested that if she tried swimming in a meet she might be surprised at how fun it was. She wasn’t buying it. Clearly I needed a new strategy. I listed her coaches’ qualifications and experience. I explained that if anyone was able to assess her skills, it would be them.

I asked her “Do you think you know more about then swimming them?

“No” she replied”.

“Then how come you don’t believe what they say about you?”

Nothing I said convinced her of her abilities, her so I let it go.

She continued to practice with the team and after a few days I saw that despite Ava’s strides in swimming she had no still had no interest in competing.

I realized I wasn’t dealing with a child that didn’t have the interest or even the talent to swim but with a little girl who had believed a lie!

That lie was: I am not a good swimmer. I am not as good as all the other kids, I can’t do this.

I was so excited about what God showed me that I didn’t see what was coming next. Yep...you guessed it. MY mirror moment! I too was guilty of believing a lie that was impacting the way I thought, felt and therefore lived.

I believed my value and worth came from what I did (or didn’t do) for a living, how much I managed to get done in a day, and how clean my house was. That lie had the power to make me feel less than and consequently affected the kind of woman, wife and mother I was. All I knew was that I was a stay-at-home mom with a never ending to do list, I might be organized but not always as prepared as I thought I should be, and I was trying desperately to get one step ahead. I’d clean one room in my house while my kids were making a mess in the other. Miraculously papers appeared on the counter and dishes accumulated in the sink on a regular basis. I had personal projects I was eager to work on, dreams God has placed in my heart, and talents (and a degree) that I wanted to use more often.

I believed that if I could get my act together and perform well in any of these areas that I would have significance.

BUT here is what God says:

>>He chose me and appointed me so that I might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last (John 15:16 NIV).

>>He said I am His handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for me to do (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).

>>He said he will perfect that which concerns me; His mercy and loving-kindness endures forever, he will forsake not the works of His own hands. (Psalm 138:8 AMP).

>>I am fearfully and wonderfully made, knit together in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:12-14). As I looked up these scriptures I saw that qualifying statements did not follow them.

These scriptures convey God’s thoughts on my value, His interest in my life and the unconditional love He has for me. Despite all of God’s “qualifications and experience” why wasn’t I buying it? Why was my life not reflecting it? Why was I looking for worth in things that are worthless?

I wasn’t sure what the next step was for Ava, but I knew what it was for me. I repented, asked God to forgive me for not trusting him and invited God to fill me with His truth.

Going forward I have to CHOOSE to believe what God says despite what I felt like.

When I come across a promise that speaks of me will not take it lightly. I need to re-read it out loud, memorize it, set it as my screen saver, and do whatever it takes to get it deep in my heart. Then I have to say “No” when I feel or think otherwise.

I would love to say I don’t struggle with this anymore but I do...just not as much. The difference now is that I know where to look and I know who to go to for truth. Now that's sweet!