Spiritual Growth, Triathlon Training

Swimming in chop and peaceful decisions

As a triathlete, at some point, you’ll have to deal with swimming in choppy waters. Be that lake, river or ocean. Swimming in chop used to be scarey to me and it took me time to learn to adapt and adjust but not to fear. One day, while in training, the lake had a lot of chop, plus it had the swells of boats nearby. It was kind of stressing me out and I started to swim pretty hard, with a lot of effort. As I tired, I thought, “how can I do this and not have it wear me out?” That’s when I realized that the chop was on the surface of the water. If I just rolled my body more to breathe I could get air and not water and if I lifted my arm high and very relaxed I didn’t get it stuck in the chop. But the coolest part was realizing that there wasn’t chop beneath the surface. So, my pull underneath the water didn’t require any addiitonal effort. Relax more and lift gently on top, and pull in smooth water below. That’s the trick to swimming in chop.

But, how does this relate to decision making…let me connect the two!

Often, as a disciple of Jesus I begin to pray and wonder and ask what Jesus wants me to do. I worry that I’ll make the wrong decision or somehow I won’t hear Him or worse yet I’ll hear Him wrong! But, that’s just worry. It’s not decision making. Recently, in the middle of the night I awoke for about two hours and was thinking through a decision and praying. I came to the answer of no. No I wouldn’t. And I honestly, couldn’t tell you my “reasons” or my “logic”. Oh sure, I had some of those, but truly not enough to support the confidence with which I was going to say no to something.  Even though I wanted to say no, it was a joint decision with Robert and I. We would need to agree. So, my deep peace, I took as the Holy Spirit confirming that no was indeed right. How would I explain this to Robert?

In the morning, over coffee, I told him I thought we shouldn’t. He looked at me, didn’t ask why, and said, “I totally agree. We shouldn’t.” Wow. That was easy. We didn’t discuss our reasons. We just agreed. Then, after agreeing, we began to review the situation and we had exactly the same reasons but the biggest “reason”  was the feeling of peace. Peace that didn’t doubt or question.

Really, if we wait until we have this solid peace about a decision. If we don’t rush it. If we just wait for the Holy Spirit to confirm it, through peace, isn’t that pretty easy? I say, “Lord, here’s the circumstance. I’m not sure what to do. I think we shouldn’t. But, I await for your answer to me.” I’m probably not going to get an email or a facebook post or a text. But, I will get peace.

This decision came with some fears, some doubts and that’s the chop at the surface. That’s the stuff we start to focus on that we think is the issue. It is not the issue. The issue is do I or don’t I and which answer brings me peace. Perhaps the answer comes nearly instantly, perhaps it comes in a week or 6 months. I ask the Lord to confirm whether I should or shouldn’t and I stay in limbo awaiting the peace to come.

Good decisions bring peace even if the decision involves some uncertainty, fear , doubt or risk. But, those things are just chop on the surface water of life! Focus on the peace below the surface.

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