Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The small miracle of risking and swimming tests

I've never been a risk taker.

I don't understand people who are. Why would you willingly do something that isn't safe, that could end in failure, that could hurt? I hear people talk about the thrill of the experience, but for us non-risk-takers, there is no thrill. There is fear, worry and stress but no thrill. I don't get it.

When I was in my early teens, I took swimming lessons at camp. If you worked hard, you could progress a whole level during the week. At that time, there was just Junior, Intermediate and Senior, before you took qualifications to be a lifeguard. Each level was comprehensive and it was a great accomplishment to move from one to another. I was a good swimmer and one summer, I enrolled in the senior class. All week, I worked at learning all the skills, but when Friday/test day came, I didn't take the test. Why? Because I might fail.

The next year I did exactly the same thing.

For many years, that's how I lived my life. Safely.

Oh, I did some things. I got married and had children. I ran my own business. I got a second job. We moved. But for the most part, my decisions were made based on the risk factor. If it was risky, I probably wouldn't do it. Sadly, I made decisions for my children when they were small based on my fears, something I deeply regret.

I don't remember what precipitated it, but one day, I realised my world had gotten small. Minuscule. Every time I moved, I bumped against one of my fears. I would turn and there was another one.

This is a devastating way to live, and not even a little bit God-honouring. Every decision I made told God I didn't really trust Him. I lived by fear, not by faith.

It's been a journey to live another way. One that I am still on.I stumble and fall into the trap of fear, but I get up, take His hand and begin to walk again. Sometimes I walk with my eyes scrunched and knots in my stomach, but I walk. God, He has tremendous patience. And love.

Seven years ago, I made the concrete decision to take some courses and walk toward the dream of a lifetime. Very scary stuff. At first, the dream was to write and get published, but deep within the recesses of my heart lay another dream, so frightening and wonderful I could barely say it out loud. 

I wanted to write a book.

It wasn't until two years later, during a second course, I learned I could write fiction. Since then, I completed a third course, started a critique group, learned more than I ever thought was possible about writing fiction and wrote a book. I did. I wrote a book.

I am in the process of editing it now, but a week from today, I take it to a writer's conference and begin looking for an editor and agent. I've been to writer's conference before, but never with a finished manuscript. In my mind, I am standing on the shore, shivering, thinking about the swimming test.

This time, I will jump in.


  1. I am so proud of you my courageous friend!

  2. Ann you have just described my life of fear!

    1. Dear Friend,
      I don't know you, but we are friends. We understand each other, and we have a common experience. That makes us friends.
      As a friend, I implore you to take even one tiny step away from your life of fear. Then another and another. Why? Because some day, you will regret the many decisions you made based on fear. Fear makes terrible decisions! They are narrow and limiting and not even close to what God has for you. Read this verse every day, ask God what His plans are for you that day, and go forward. Jer. 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you." declared the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope." Fear makes your world tiny and hopeless. Live big, with hope. Love, Ann