So I was teaching private swimming lessons this past week and on the drive home one day I realized something. Life is a lot like private swimming lessons. No, not like regular lessons where you are in a group, but private swimming lessons. God is our instructor and we are the students. In swimming lessons, the goal is to perfect the stroke as much as possible so you can advance. Just like the Lord gives us tasks to complete, as we complete them we receive more so that we grow and can do so much more. It takes confidence and bravery and we must put aside our fears.
Level 1: The swimmer learns how to dunk in the water, many are afraid to put their head underwater right away, and sometimes you get the swimmers (like myself) who want to dive right in!
Level 2: Now that the swimmer is familiar with the water and how to move around in it, it’s time to teach them how to actually get from point A to point B in the water on their own. Of course, as a teacher we are there to guide them and catch them if they struggle.
Level 3: Yeah! You passed level 2 and can now move in the water without holding onto a support the whole way! Now it’s time to work on the strokes used for swimming. They need to be correct so that a swimmer can move efficiently through the water with a purpose and direction. Also, the swimmer learns to go farther without stopping and learns the pieces to more complex swimming strokes. Swimmers begin learning the basics of diving from above the water and from the surface of the water.
Level 4: By this time, a swimmer needs will have mastered the form for the front crawl and back crawl, the two most basic strokes that are important for all swimmers to know. These strokes are also great for exercising and endurance swimming, not to mention they help a swimmer anywhere her or she may swim or if they end up in an emergency in a body of water some day. So, now we put together the strokes that were started in level 3 and learn how they all work, swimming the strokes over and over again for further distances. Diving exercises become a little more challenging.
Level 5: Well, now that you’ve grown up as a swimmer, its time to swim swim swim! It’s time to test endurance and perfect the strokes and dives. There are a few more diving skills, stroke details and water skills learned in this level, but mostly it is just working on getting the strokes as close to perfect as possible while going a much longer distance than level 4. Also, a harder stroke, the Butterfly, is put together and practiced. This level tests endurance, stroke performance and a swimmer’s ability in the water.
Level 6: Well, now that we’ve conquered all the strokes, it’s time to learn more in-depth stroke performance, waterfront skills and work on endurance more intensely. Level 6 actually has four separate parts to enroll in, each one is a more intense course working on a specific area of swimming/water skills. After passing these, a swimmer is ready to become a lifeguard and water safety instructor (WSI [swimming lessons teacher]) themselves if they so desire.
Not only do we have to dive in, step up to the next level, work hard as we’re tested, but we need to let the Lord be our head lifeguard and our spiritual elders give us wisdom, because they have gone through these levels and know ways to keep working hard to work up to where the Lord has prepared us to go.
Now, which level are you in? How does one get to the next level? Who is the teacher and how are you allowing your teacher(s) to guide you?
Personally, I know I’ll never have perfect strokes, but I keep practicing even after I’ve been through all the levels. And even better, God’s levels never stop after 6. They keep going, allowing us to teach others what we’ve learned and keep growing closer to Him.