Posts in "Inspirational"

Floating on Faith by Ronni Walker

I have fallen back in love with swimming after avoiding it for several years. I lost interest in swimming when my daughter almost drowned in our backyard swimming pool. For years, the pool sat quietly beneath the oak trees. I never told anyone, but that incident shook me to my core because for a split second, I lost faith in my ability to save my daughter. I was unable to understand why my only child was fighting the thing that brought light to her eyes. The water had betrayed her. Within that second, I worried that it would betray me too. We both knew how to swim, but for some reason, we took for granted its power, and we became fearful foes when our skills did not overshadow our emotions. Breaking loose from my complacency, I managed to pull her out of the pool. We never used it again.

Now, in an effort to get in shape with minimal impact my knee, I’ve been reacquainting myself with swimming—a love that never escaped me. Regardless of my great love, I face a significant disadvantage—my inability to trust the water. One of the first things a swim coach will tell you is to learn to trust the water because trust is detrimental to success. I started swimming when I was six years old, and my coach would require us to do small exercises so we could learn to trust the water.  We soon realized if you don’t trust the water, you resist it. Your resistance intensifies the task and eventually leads to sinking, choking, or drowning.

During the past few weeks, I’ve become relatively good friends with the water as long as I move forward with my eyes wide open.  I often rest at the end of each lap because I know what could happen if I attempt to finish a lap with tired arms and legs. However, in the midst of my morning routine—exhausted from swimming and out of breath—I decided to backstroke to keep my heart rate up and ease my breathing. As I turned around in preparation of the lap, I remembered the incident, and I briefly gave in to my distrust of the water. I struggled to get through the first lap. Nevertheless, I kept pushing, and with each stroke, the struggle became more intense instead of easier.  I reminded myself that the intensity would make me stronger—just like the struggles we encounter in life—designed to strengthen us in areas where we are weak. With that thought in mind, I forged ahead with great aplomb fully aware that I would reap the reward one day if I worked hard to rebuild the broken trust.

Today, I decided to begin my exercise regimen with the backstroke. My mind was still, so I decided to fall back into the arms of the aqua blue water without overthinking it. I felt the waves encumber my body as I began to reach for the wall behind me. Although my eyes were focused on the ceiling, I pondered on the true meaning of faith. Why do I worry if I have faith? Why do I doubt myself in the presence of faith?  Why do I choose to fight, when I have the option to float? After realizing that swimming and life are much easier when I relax and go with the flow, I felt the coolness of the concrete pool wall on my fingertips. I could hardly believe that I had finished the lap effortlessly because I decided to float on faith.

I let go of my insecurities and my doubts, deciding to fall back onto the waves and reach for a wall that I could not see. Although I could not see it, I knew it was there. I kept reaching. This is an example of what it means to have faith. Faith, in its simplest form, is reaching for something we can’t see, while holding on to the belief that one day the intangible will become tangible.

As you navigate through the pool of life, keep reaching for that thing you can’t see. Relax and float on faith with the assurance that one day, you will reach your wall of possibility.

Inspirational

SHOULD EVERYONE HAVE A PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT?22313

After I graduated from college several years ago, I did not have a clear vision of my future. Like many new college grads, I had an idea of what I wanted to do with my degree, but I did not have a clear reason as to why I wanted to do certain things. In search of the “why”, I had lunch with one of my professors who shared a book with me that changed the way I interpreted my purpose in the world. He introduced me a book titled, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

After I read the book, I decided to focus on Habit 2 — Begin with the End in Mind. I realized that I needed to go on a journey of discovery in search of the why. Why did I study journalism? Why did I gravitate toward social change? What footprint did I want to leave in the sand? I needed to not only find these answers, but also link together words that would allow me to express my discovery in the form of a personal mission statement.

Covey explains that our mission statement is our life compass. If captains don’t typically navigate the sea without a compass, why should we attempt to navigate life without one? Just as a compass allows a captain to stay on course, our mission statement allows us to stay focused on what matters most, while infusing clarity into our actions. In other words, we should use our mission statement as a point of reference when deciding things such as our careers and the causes we support.

I attempted to write a mission statement after a day of simple reflection. Hours later… in process. Days later…still in process. A few years later…STILL in process. However, after a few unfavorable life choices, I decided to revisit the idea. Finally, I had the first draft. Throughout the years, I’ve re-drafted my mission statement quite frequently.

Now, I call my mission statement, my purpose statement. Everyone’s mission/purpose statement will evolve over time because we gain clarity after life experiences. Although the core of my statement has remained the same, I have clarified and simplified the expression.

To answer the question “Should everyone have a personal mission statement?” YES. If you have not created one, I challenge you to start asking the questions that will lead to your first draft. There are many useful tools you can use to assist with drafting your mission statement.Here is a link to the tool that I used to build by initial draft.http://msb.franklincovey.com .

My purpose is to begin each day with renewed strength and gratitude, while seeking opportunities to share my faith and talents to help others reach their highest potential. In an effort to achieve this, I selectively decide which projects are aligned with my purpose. Let everything you do have meaning. Allow your actions to be aligned with your purpose.