Treading Water

I feel like I’ve been treading water in my everyday life for too long.

Maybe you know the feeling of trying to keep your head above everything coming at you and not breathing too deeply on a calm day because you know it won’t be for long.

Thinking about it makes me nervous because I’m not a strong swimmer. And I’m worse at treading water. For real.

In fact, *confession alert* I cheated in high school on my treading water test in swim class. I know, how can you cheat on that, right? But I did.

I stayed near the wall…as in touching distance and kept my eyes locked on the teacher. I kept moving my legs and my left arm while the fingers on my right hand reached out and kept me steady at the wall. She was busy talking with someone, but every time she glanced over at me, my right arm was moving…until she looked away again.

At the time, I’m sure I thought I fooled her, and maybe I did. Or maybe not. Perhaps she knew all along and just didn’t care…or figured it was better than watching me go under.

You’d think someone else would have noticed, but it was a small class and we kind of watched out for each other. Now that I think about it, maybe they were helping me by distracting her.

I don’t remember everything, but I know I didn’t want someone jumping in to “save” me. Again. (Gulp in a little bit of water and start to flounder slightly, and people panic. Don’t ask me how I know.)

So, I stayed close to the wall and survived the dreaded test.

For two years, I’ve been remembering this story as life comes at me in waves. If I couldn’t pass on my own then, how can I possibly do it now? If I think about it for too long, I feel like I can’t breathe…just like when I go too far into the deep end of the pool.

But, lately I’ve been wondering if it’s not me remembering it, but rather God reminding me—and showing me that with Him, it’s different.

Back then, I cheated by touching the wall.

Now, God says, “Here, hold on to the wall.”

God knows how easily I grow tired and weary. He provides the wall to steady myself so I can take a breath. When I float out too far, He guides me back and places my hand back on the wall.

Back then, I thought the teacher didn’t care. 

Now, I know God cares. All. The. Time.

He knows when I’m calmly leaning on the wall for balance, when I’m clinging on for dear life, and when I’ve lost my grip and started drifting away. He is always watching and knows when I need to be lifted up. {Tweet this} (And unlike in high school, it’s never embarrassing to be saved by God.)

Back then, I had friends looking out for me. 

Now, I still have people watching out for me…friends and family God places in my life for reasons that fall into His plans for me and for them.

I’m still not a strong swimmer and I still prefer not to hang out at the pool, even with a lifeguard.

But, with God it’s different. With God, I can take a breath and hang on to the wall for as long as I want. 

And if I let go, I know He’s watching because He is the best Lifeguard a girl can have.


In Christ,

Scripture: Isaiah 43:2 NLT


  1. Laura,
    Just love this analogy. Whenever I feel "I can't", I whisper a prayer of "help me" and He does every time. We don't ever have to swim in this world alone.
    Following you from The Sunday Community.

  2. I love the analogy of God allowing the wall for us to hold on to, while we catch your breath. Beautifully written Laura!

  3. Wonderful post & analogy, Laura. So grateful he let's us hold onto the wall for as long as we need. Great visual!

  4. This is a great story and illustration. Now I am a pretty good swimming but the idea of treading water for a long time all on my own strength is exhausting But with God as our lifeguard as you said - now that's encouraging. Thanks!

  5. Laura,

    Your post resonated with me in this season of my life. I seem to be in a perpetual waiting and anxious state. I can see changes looming on the horizon... Thanks for reminding me to run to my Strong Tower.


  6. Swimming, floating, offers such great faith analogies because it's such a thing of trust. Yes, hold on to the wall and keep returning to it, remembering it's there even when you feel far away. Thanks for linking, Laura!

  7. What a cool parallel, Laura! And I love how you turned it around to say that God DOES allow for us to hang onto the wall... Because Lord knows (literally) how much we need it sometimes. Thanks for this encouragement.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts!