Have you ever had one of those days that start out in such a way then the rest of your day is impacted? Those type of days aren't fun at all, and I had one of them yesterday.
It started early in the morning, around 6 a.m. I had signed up for a Master's Swim Class at the gym. A Master's Swim class is designed to help a swimmer become more confident in their strokes and their ability to swim. A class like this is particularly helpful if one wants to be a competitive swimmer, or is planning to participate in the multi-sport event of triathlons (swimming, biking, and running in one event on the same day.)
I had signed up for the class because of the three events in triathlon, swimming is my least favorite. It takes co-ordination to be horizontal in a pool while at the same time kicking feet alternatively, reaching with opposite hands, keeping one's head down, AND remembering to breathe. In short, it's a challenge for me to do all of that at the same time.
As we stood on the pool deck waiting for the class to start, my anxiety and panic began to kick in. I don't know why, other than it did.
I can laugh about it now, but when class started, my first length of the pool was not pretty by any stretch of the imagination. Without my contacts or glasses, I could barely see the flippers of the person in front of me. The earlier panic turned into fear of being kicked in the face. I kept hitting the lane rope on my right side. By the time I got to the other end of the pool, I was winded (my own fault for not having been in the pool for the past six months). The brain had also decided at that point it wouldn't or couldn't. Only then did I realize somewhere, somehow, I had lost a flipper.
The instructor graciously allowed me a chance to start again. I declined. Been there, done that, tried it, I was done. -- And was being extremely hard on myself.
There have been other times in my life where this anxiety, this panic sets in. It usually sets in without rhyme or reason, and usually comes from nowhere. One time, this anxiety and panic over an event hit so hard, I spent hours after the event not only kicking myself, but also thinking I was a complete failure.
The hard lesson to learn has been the realization that one goof, one lost flipper, one missed musical note does not make for a complete failure of a person. The hard lesson previously learned has been also to see the successes and celebrate them, and learn from mistakes that have been made.
In Luke 3, Luke shares the story of Jesus' baptism. At the end of Jesus' baptism, a voice from heaven declares, "This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased." Just as God declares Jesus to be his beloved Son, so also does God say the same thing about us. In the waters of our baptism, God calls each and every one of us by name. God says, "I love you. You are mine."
It would have been easy to go down the previous path of feeling like a failure because of the way the swim class had gone, but I didn't. What helped change direction was remembering God loves me, no matter what.
And, God loves you, no matter what. It doesn't matter if you're the fastest bicyclist, the swiftest runner, the strongest swimmer. Nor does it matter if you're the greatest cook, outstanding gardener, or avid reader. God loves you, no matter what. Today, tomorrow, and always, God loves you.