"If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to meet it."
— Jonathan Winters
— Jonathan Winters
As I mentioned before, I had the absolute privilege of working as a camp counselor at a Christian camping ministry called Jumonville. Seriously amazing two summers. Then I volunteered a couple of years with some of my favorite people for a week each summer until we started a family.
One of the adventure activities we would do was biking for an insane amount of miles, get off the bikes and have lunch, and then climb in a kayak and row for miles back. Good times. This was all well and good until one summer where we did not get enough rain. The river was really low, and we ended up pulling our boat over rocks and rowing way more than usual because there was no current. To say it made for a difficult trip was an understatement.
At one point, I quit rowing. I just couldn't anymore. My arms burned with fatigue, the sun was beating down on me, and I was finished. So I drifted. Some of the kids caught my lead and stopped rowing as well. We all began to drift...backwards. This little mutiny lasted only until our dean caught up with us. "What are you doing" he shouted. "Get rowing or we will be on this river until tomorrow!" I moaned and groaned. But knew he was right. There was one way off the river. I would only reach it by rowing.
Drifting can be dangerous. First of all, the pull of just stopping is awful temping. To drift seems so much more...comfortable. Let's face it-I will never "drift" into the gym. I never "drifted" in my running shoes or "drifted" into writing my classwork. I make a conscious effort to get out my Bible, care for my family, and hold my tongue. I make a decision and then my feet my follow. I need to row.
Truth is you will never get anywhere you want to be by drifting. As Confucious says "It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop." (I am totally not kidding. Confucious said that) Even on days where I lay in bed thinking, wow I could have done so much better- Trust me, I have a lot of these- I still feel better knowing that I gave it a go. I rowed. I got up and did it. When it would have been so much easier to just...not.
I consider my life goals. To grow in my own personal faith, to build a strong marriage, and be a darn good mom. Other goals include being an influential teacher, work on my writing, and solve world hunger. :) Even in these topics of extreme importance, it is so easy to drift. To stop rowing and allow life to lead me where it may.
A clear example of this is in exercise. When not pregnant ( yeah, I know), I found that I really enjoy running. I began to run quite regularly. Making time for it. Planning around my husband and kids schedules so I would have time to run. I really began to do well and was improving daily. Then I had some stomach issues flaring up. I was not running as much as I would like. Excuses came more frequently. Drive and desire were met with indifference and disregard. By the time I stopped drifting and tied on my running shoes, I realized what all of it had cost me. All the progress I had made was gone. I was starting over. Drifting had stolen from me what all of my previous perseverance had given me.
This can be seen throughout many areas. If I stop rowing in my marriage, my family, my growing in faith, I will float backwards. It is not only that I am not making progress, although that is tragic enough in itself. Rather, if I am not making a daily conscious effort to row then I am losing everything I have worked for.
I don't want to go backwards. I want to continue to move forward. If that means rowing until my arms are ready to fall off, I pray I find the strength, drive, and my running shoes. Or an oar....