Waves rippling around the water-skis as they skim atop warm waters under the shining rays of the sun make for a fun-filled afternoon when one is brave enough to ride the waves. Then, when the heat begins beating down from the sun rising in the sky, an attempt at cooling off begins upon the embarkment of fleeing the water-skis in order to dive down deep…and swim. In order to escape the heat, we must succumb to the coolness of the deep waters. The water rushing over us can be an exhilarating feeling that elongates as we push forward into its depth, kicking our feet and paddling our arms in a kind of in sync rhythm that covers us completely under its engulfment. It feels good to feel the warmth as the water splashes along the curvature of our frame- but to swim, that brings with it a refreshment of sorts that is only available to us when we immerse ourselves completely in the waters that surround us. And, so it is with our spiritual beings. It only takes that one moment of hurt in our child’s eye, or the downcast look in a spouse’s face, or even the confused expression from a friend- as we raise a voice, as we seek to blame, as we vent and pour out all our frustrations in a heap upon those we love most before we are able to entertain the notion of realization that we are depleted. It causes a stir of emotion. Anger wells up. A sense of despair that takes us from frustration to anger to sin as we expel all the ugliness in our hearts and allow it to spill all over them. More like spitting. Spilling is an accident. Spitting not so much. It requires purposeful action. Even without intent. Intent has always been one of my personal struggles. My heart’s intent is always pure. How it has played out has not always looked the part. What pattern that has persisted time and time again and has finally shed some light- is whether I’ve been skimming or swimming. Not in the water, but in the Word! Time is fleeting and filled with busyness- from the moment we awake until the second our tired eyes flutter shut for the night. We are at capacity. In the fullness of that rising tide of hitting full capacity, we are depleted. Depletion = Drowning, unless of course, we are swimming! Lessons are usually learned the hard way, after much trial and error. It’s no wonder that struggling parents become phenomenal grandparents, because that is usually when we’ve achieved our diplomas in the school of parenting and can right our “wrongs”. Only, they weren’t and aren’t wrongs, they are rights having taken many a turn. The lesson of spiritual fulfillment is one I know none of us want to fail. You see, we can’t pour out what we haven’t poured in! On the days I skim through with my time in the LORD- wake up, read a verse or two of Scripture, choose everything else before Him, praying throughout the day but with no real conviction or repentance or soul searching or moments of thankfulness- just me reaching up but not out… these are the days I find myself immersed in the same old yokes of slavery- agitation, irritation, foolish thoughts, quick to anger, chaotic spirit, spouting tongue, impatience, begrudging the world. The list could go on. Instead, on days where I actually spend time in the Word and dig into its Life-giving Truths, truly call out to God for others, and take the time to encourage the Holy Spirit’s nestling in my soul- resisting the plan of the enemy becomes that much easier because I have put on the Armor of God and can withstand the fiery darts of the evil one. And I can stand on my God! Our God is Holy, and without blemish. His nail-scarred hands are only the beauty marks of a Savior Who battled for us and already won! But are we partaking in His Power?This is the power that we can each choose daily to pursue. When it comes to skimming or swimming, the question remains- which one are you? For I know I can be both. But why would we choose both when we can have just the one and be fully immersed in the freedom from yokes that bind? I choose to be a SWIMMER! For each of us this looks different. We will know in our spirits if the level of fullness swells or starts depleting, and this is how we know to dive deeper still, into the depths unknown but full of Grace, Mercy, Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, and Self-Control where Jesus resides so that the Holy Spirit can reside in us. Let’s choose to swim and fully reap the benefit of immersion when it comes to our spiritual health. Now more than ever we have the time to truly investigate what this can look like for ourselves and our families. One day, they will thank us for teaching them how to SWIM!