24 Feb Ocean Swimming & More News
“My heart is stirred by a noble theme…”
When my bicycle riding produced chronically inflamed IT bands and hip flexor muscles, I needed a new physical challenge. So…I started ocean swimming!
I’d done some open water swimming in my 30s when I did mini triathlons but only in lakes and reservoirs. Oceans offer different challenges. When we moved to Southern California six years ago, I decided to jump back into the sea. At first my heartrate raced, my breathing labored, and I swam only a few hundred yards. When I’d hit a patch of seaweed, I spun around looking for what I knew was a shark. Almost jumped completely out of the water.
Then I settled in, bought the right equipment, and started to thrive. Here are a few lessons I learned.
- Fear doesn’t need to be crippling. It’s reasonable to be cautious when swimming in the ocean. Current, temperature, obstacles in the water, tides, wind, and the swell (waves) should always be respected. It can be dangerous. But I do my best not to let my fear inhibit my sense of adventure. Fear isn’t a good barometer to predict a future outcome.
- Discomfort isn’t permanent. In winter, water temps in Southern California hover in the low 50’s. I get an “ice cream headache” whenever I swim—but only for the first minute or so. My hands numb and my face feels on fire. Then I swim, and those discomforts fade away as I concentrate on breathing or stroke or making sure I’m aimed in the right direction. I’ve learned that discomfort doesn’t have to run my life. And a good wetsuit does wonders.
- Vitality outweighs fear & discomfort. When I complete a swim, usually between 1000 and 2000 yards, I’m pumped. I’m sure mountain climbers and sky divers have the same rush. It’s a challenge and I’ve conquered it.
Point: Maybe God gives us big tests in life to build our confidence and dependence on Him. (I pray before I slip in). And just because a challenge is cold, dangerous, and spooky doesn’t mean you weren’t meant to conquer it. What makes you fearful and uncomfortable? And what can you do to overcome those?
Full disclosure: sometimes I swim in a heated lap pool at the YMCA. And the pool temp is always too warm!
More on Cold Water Swimming
Read Lynn Cox’s Swimming to Antarctica to be truly inspired. Even if you don’t swim, you can’t help but be moved by this woman’s story.
Links I Like
Roy Goble’s website. Roy offers a cornucopia of favorite books, podcasts, articles and other resources. He runs a real estate investment company based in Silicon Valley, leads an international ministry, and serves on multiple boards. Roy is the author of Junkyard Wisdom: Resisting the Whisper of Wealth in a World of Broken Parts and Salvaged: Leadership Lessons Pulled from the Junkyard.
His insight is unique, broad-based, and exuberant. I love being in his presence, too. You’ll love his website.
Dane Ortlund. His book, Gentle and Lowly, The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers, takes a deep dive into the true nature of the heart of God.
“Look to Christ. He deals gently with you. It’s the only way he knows how to be. He is the high priest to end all high priests. As long as you fix your attention on your sin, you will fail to see how you can be safe. But as long as you look to this high priest, you will fail to see how you can be in danger. Looking inside ourselves, we can anticipate only harshness from heaven. Looking out to Christ, we can anticipate only gentleness.”
Three books at the same time.
- A parenting book, Book #2 in the Lumberjack Jesus series. Working title: Raising God’s GenZ Teen: 33 Strategies to Teach Teenagers Self-Reliance, Confidence and Responsibility. Due out this summer.
- My next novel about a man lured to Haiti to discover how he can experience the culture of poverty to change his spirit to contribute to others—and the fear, discomfort, and deception that get in his way. (I sense a theme, don’t you? I’d better write about the HEAT in Haiti, because I’ve never been cold there).
- A self-help book that uses bicycle riding as a metaphor for life—and the lessons you can learn in and out of the saddle.
Good Pandemic News
A Christian school in the San Francisco Bay Area has conducted onsite learning since August, with the approval of the county. It may have fundamentally changed the way we teach school: small class “pods,” more teacher prep time, online learning for some, better hygiene. And one big plus:kids aren’t getting as sick this winter with typical colds and flu.
“The length of a conversation don’t tell nothin’ about the size of the intellect.” (From Don’t Squat with Your Spurs On: A Cowboy’s Guide to Life). And another: “Generally, you ain’t learnin’ nothin’ when your mouth is a-jawin’”. (With my apologies to English teachers everywhere).
“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Of This I’m Certain
God isn’t afraid. God isn’t confused. He isn’t fearful about the future. God isn’t worried about yesterday or tomorrow. He isn’t exhausted, fatigued, depressed, or forlorn. God never loses hope. After all, He’s God.
If you’d like a signed copy
Of any of my four books, send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll pop one in the mail.
I Received a Horrible Diagnosis…
…When my doctor said I had moderate hip arthritis. I didn’t take it lying down. But that’s a story for another newsletter. See you next month.
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