Lately I've been going to the local fitness center on a daily basis, and yesterday I had a short conversation with a fellow swimmer that provoked a thought. I was just finishing up my laps and getting ready to get out of the pool, when I looked over into the next lane to see a lady sitting on the edge of the pool with her legs dangling over the edge into the water. She looked at me and said, "Don't mind me, I'm just being a little bit of a baby." Understanding her hesitation to get in, I replied, "Oh, no. Trust me, I know how cold it feels when you first get in." She was glad to know that she was not the only one who felt that way about getting into the pool water, and in my attempt to respond and encourage her, I told her, "Well, I know it's really cold at first, but once you're in and start moving it's not bad at all." She smiled and said, "Yeah, I swim enough to know that once I'm about halfway through my first lap I've already forgotten how cold it was; it's just really hard to force myself to take the first plunge." We finished our conversation with pleasant well-wishes to each other and I went about my day. However, I started thinking about what we had been talking about and how analogous it was to life.
Perhaps it's just me, but I seem to have this recurring problem of getting started. It doesn't matter what the activity is, whether it's getting in the swimming pool, writing an email, starting a school project, or starting a conversation with someone, I tend to have some sort of motivational issue in which I don't want to begin. I know that once I get started, it won't be that bad, and most likely I will end up enjoying myself, but sometimes it's very difficult for me to begin.
It's the same in spiritual matters too. I see my peers preaching, giving Bible studies, reaching out to people, and living active Christian lives, and I want to do it too. Sometimes I feel like the lady I met at the pool. I'm sitting on the edge with my legs in the water, trying to summon the boldness to take the first plunge. I see others in the water, enjoying themselves and I know that they're living the life I want to live. I know that it won't be bad after I take the first plunge; in fact, it will be wonderful and the water will warm up once I start moving. Praise God that He has been helping me with this.
At school I had been wanting to start giving Bible studies, but I was very hesitant to begin. I was afraid that I would somehow mess up, or not be able to answer questions from my Bible study contacts. But finally, toward the end of this school year, I was able to be placed with a Bible study partner and we gave Bible studies together. It was one of the biggest blessings I was able to experience this year. I've often regretted waiting for so long to begin.
All too often, we sit on the edge, wanting to take the plunge, but hesitating and missing out on God's blessings because we don't want to experience that first cold shock. We see others living for Christ through mission work, preaching, or whatever it might be, and we want to join them. And sometimes it's not necessarily that we're not living for Christ, but maybe we just haven't given our lives to His service completely. God is calling. Are you ready to take the first plunge?