We've all seen, or at the very least heard the Finding Nemo tale. It's a cute story with cute characters, each with their own features and flaws.
Of all the cast it is Dory that I am most like. Ahhh yes, quirky, forgetful Dory. She brings such innocence to the movie, doesn't she? It's her catch-cry, "Just keep swimming" that resonates most within me.
I had such a beautfiul moment whilst swimming recently which reminded me a little of Dory. Exhausted from swimming the entire length of the 50m pool, (thank the Lord for the great, big "SLOW PACE LANE" sign on the pool's edge), I decided to try a bit of a half-swim/half-float back stroke thingy. Yes, it looked as awkward as you are probably imagining right now. Picture a bowling alley with the gutter guards in place, and a ball zig-zagging down the lane as it alternately hits the left, then the right sides. Seeing it? Then yes, you've got the idea. So much for my relaxing stint down the pool.
I must confess, I did contemplate exiting via the stairs and making the 50-metre return journey on foot, but my towel was at the other end, and ...well let's just say, water can hide all kinds of evils, (need I say more?!). And so I prepared to push off ..."Helen, lay on your back and try again." Pffft! Seriously, Holy Spirit, I'm trying to exercise here! (Yeah, I'm pretty sure I heard a few angels giggling at this point; hope their wings got wet!). Okay, I guess it won't hurt. A little tentatively I readied myself to leave the security of the pool's side. "Helen, place your hand gently on the lane divider; this will guide you, and keep you on a straight course." It was such a simple thing, really, I was surprised I hadn't thought of it earlier.
The further I swam, the more relaxed I felt. By mid-way I had been transported into a place of quiet worship; yes, in the middle of the swimming centre! Finally, I reached the end of the lane. I opened my eyes and stood in the shallow water and looked back at where I'd come from.
"MEDIUM PACED LANE."
What?! Didn't I start in the slow lane? Perhaps I swam over the divider? Quickly dismissing this as just silly I thought about it rationally. I was, or course, in the same lane as where I started, but as I'd been swimming someone had changed the lane's definition, thereby altering my position in the process.
I could do little more than stand and smile at the most amazing lesson God had given me. Here it is, broken down into easy to see points:
* Just keep swimming - don't give up! No matter how slow you feel you are going, keep on going!
* Always keep your hand on the Holy Spirit, in his hand or on his shoulder, clutching the bottom of his coat if need be! - he is our guide here on earth and will always - ALWAYS - keep us on track, according to the Father's wishes.
*Worship - in the fear, in the frustration, in the quiet times of relaxation; whatever the circumstance we find ourselves in, worship the Lord. Don't worry about who's watching, (or who's 'not' watching); worshipping God is what matters, and it is where we find our rest, our strength, our spiritual tenacity to keep on going.
* Watch and see - as we do these things, and often when we least expect it, God commands a shift in the spiritual realms that brings change in our world. Whether our path be a few short metres, one 50-metre length of an olympic-sized swimming pool, or many tiring, tedious laps over and over, it is in the keeping on, in the presence of the Holy Spirit and with worship in our heart that our slow, plodding lane of obedience can suddenly be transformed into a steady-paced stream of opportunities that we never thought we'd see!
It is both exciting and liberating, and as I'm learning of late, incredibly daunting; much like the parallel storyline of Nemo's dad, Marlin, in Finding Nemo . . . but that, my friends, is a whole other devotional.
Helen (aka Dory) Curtis