Faith Floats

by | Aug 29, 2014

Having faith in God enables us to make a leap into the deep end, trusting that things will be okay.

Rev. Matthew E. Morgan, MA, LPC

Rev. Matthew E. Morgan, MA, LPC

Certified Minister, Licensed Professional Counselor

Matthew E. Morgan molds his work as a husband, father, therapist, minister, and general Renaissance man (*salute* General Renaissance) into discussions of worldview and philosophical ideals … or sometimes just to find things to laugh at.

In June of this year, Michael, my 4-year-old son had been swimming a handful of times. He was never a big fan of the water, always wore his life-jacket, and even-so clung to Martha and I. Understandably. The pool can be a big scary place for a little one. After all, I have a vague recollection of being about his age, climbing into my grandparents’ swimming pool and getting myself stuck in the old school floatie rings – basically a ring with cloth and two leg holes cut into it. They work really well – even if you are upside down. Fortunately my father was there and retrieved me. Otherwise this blog post would be shorter.

So back to Michael: when we came down to Florida in July, my grandmother made sure we gave him swim lessons. So he and Coach Bill (a well-over-six-foot-tall gruff swim instructor) spent a week together. In that week, Michael went from fearing the water to enjoying it. He learned to put his face under, swim around, and even jump in (AKA fall) a little. He loved to dive down and retrieve toys from the bottom of the pool, but his big buoyant head wouldn’t allow him. So he learned to ask us to push him down.

Talk about a contradiction to parenting instincts. He enjoyed it though. So much that he felt the need to tell our July 4th guests, “My mommy and daddy push me under the water.”

Tonight, Michael swam across the short side of the pool. He jumped in, waving two palm branches as wings. They didn’t help. He dove to the bottom of the 3 foot side and retrieved his diving rings, fish, and sea horses. He put the inner tube in and started to jump into it from the side of the pool. We stopped him on that one on the “bad idea” grounds – knowing that in a few years, he will try again. Another contradiction in parenting instincts: telling him no, but inside, my inner 9-year-old was cheering him on.

The difference isn’t one of skill as much as it is of fear. When fear stopped controlling Michael, he learned to embrace the challenge and love every bit of enjoyment the pool can bring.

He teaches me.

I’m sitting for my real estate associates test in a week. After taking my first practice test today and getting a 59% (70% is passing) my confidence took a big America’s Funniest Videos nut shot montage. A billion what-if’s ran through my head. What if I screw this up? What if I’m wasting my time and my grandmother’s? What if I fail?

Fear controlled me the same as it had for Michael.

After a prayer and quick break, I studied my weakest sections of the test and took it again. I did worse.

  • So I studied my weakest sections of the test and took it again. I did … better.
  • So I studied my weakest sections of the test and took it again. I did … better.
  • So I studied my weakest sections of the test and took it again. I … passed.
  • So I studied my weakest sections of the test and took it again. I did … better.
  • So I studied my weakest sections of the test and took it again. I did … better.

Yep – it was a long day. But I’m learning. Apparently at almost-40 my brain is still capable of acquiring new information. I owe a great deal to my son who showed me the effect that fear can have on our lives – and the fun that we can if we let it go (sorry for everyone who has watched ‘Frozen’)

But there was a key to all of this. I John 4:18 says that “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment” Granted, John is actually talking about the day of Judgment, but I think it also shows God’s character. If we truly believe that we are children of God, then we know God will look after us.

Michael can swim with confidence, because we are there. Ultimately, he might choke, slip, or do something silly, but we are there and will keep the worst of things from happening to him.

So where does that leave my faith? Do I believe that God has His best in mind for me? Do I think that He has either put earthly provisions in the right place at the right time – or is prepared for divine intervention?

I reckon it’s time to jump in the pool and see.

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