I get asked almost daily what my next swim/ event/ race is going to be. This can be exhausting. I have set myself the goal of doing the Kaiwi channel in 2017- that is my primary goal. Any other swim is simply a training swim to get there. As well intentioned as these people are with their questions, it is not always helpful. It is hard enough to stay focused on something already overwhelming. It is helpful to have small goals in between, but I find that in general, people struggle to wait for a long term goal to be achieved. The Olympics only happen once every four years. Most people think athletes spend a few months, two years at most training for such an event. In reality, it takes a MINIMUM of four years of training for such a major event and in the modern sports age closer to a minimum of ten years. Achieving success in your chosen sport does not happen overnight. One year is very little in the bigger picture of a typical athlete’s career. I have been training for over four years for this crossing and in reality about eighteen years of time in the pool has allowed me to even consider training for such a feat.
I recently watched a talk by Kerry Laughran about a dream that has been placed on her heart and her journey in pursuing it. The refreshing part I found about her story was that she chose to focus on her strengths and the things she was good at and surrendered the rest to God, choosing to allow Him to provide in those areas. I have mentioned before that this swim is bigger than me, there is a common quote that says;’ if your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough.’ The process of trying to achieve something seemingly big can be excruciating at times. Looking back to this time last year, I was struggling to hold onto my dream not knowing when or if I would ever feel normal again as I was fighting ‘chronic fatigue’ (which turned out to be bilharzia)
In her talk, Kerry quotes Brené Brown: ‘the middle is messy, but it is where the magic happens’ I certainly experienced that last year. Having an undiagnosed ‘illness’ for eight months was certainly not comfortable. It was tough, but I am eternally grateful for the invaluable lessons I learnt in that season. I would not exchange those eight months for anything. It has taught me invaluable lessons that have made me a stronger athlete, gained wisdom in training and a greater respect for my body and the importance of recovery. God knew I needed to go through that season to become who I am today and I know those eight months were a crucial part of my training for the channel crossing.
I am choosing to find joy in the plod
I am more important to God than my dreams and God is desperate for me to live in the freedom of that knowledge and in so doing allow others to encounter Him. Training is tough at the moment and is only going to get tougher as I get closer to D-day, but I am choosing to find joy in the plod (as a friend recently so aptly put it) The plod is where real life is lived, the major ‘highlights’ of life are few and far between the day to day plod of life. If we can learn to find joy in the daily plod of life, that is where true joy and contentedness lies.