You Can Teach An Old Dog…

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A month ago we moved across town into a neighborhood that has a community pool.  I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was!  (and am!)  Whereas in Florida there are tons of pools, in Colorado where water is much more scarce and expensive, well, I’ve barely swam at all since we moved here.  Best part –  I learned that master swim classes are offered every Tuesday and Thursday morning for free!  In these classes you have a coach who guides you step by step in how to make the most of each workout, tailoring it specifically for you.  So after purchasing a swim cap and goggles I dove in!

But was that first class ever humbling…  You see, there are a wide variety of people who attend.  From Olympic hopefuls to tadpoles.  I barely made it one and a half lengths of the pool when I stopped, gasping for breath.  After living in Colorado for two years I can’t blame that on the altitude.  Yep. Say hello to the queen tadpole!

Then there was the time the coach asked if I could do the backstroke. Now I was on the swim team in high school.  I may not be fast but I do know my strokes!  Or so I thought…  When the coach told me to swim 100 meters on my back with my hands stationary above my head so I could focus on kicking, guess who promptly inhaled a ton of water and sank repeatedly?!

But you know what’s incredible?  I am improving!  Things that were impossible for me to do a month ago I’m now doing.  And I keep being spurred on to new challenges I never would’ve dreamed of.  What a difference it makes to have a coach!

Especially on mornings like today when it’s rainy and 50 degrees out.  In all honesty it’s so much easier to stay in bed.  Especially as the class starts at 6:30 am!  The very thought of jumping into an outdoor pool, even though it is heated to 80 degrees, is a bit daunting.  I almost didn’t make it.  But knowing there is someone waiting for you, waiting to help you, and a group of others to  share the journey with sure makes a world of difference.

And does it ever make a difference in helping me grow my skills.  You see, I can go to the pool any time and swim laps – and as I do my endurance will improve.  But there’s something about having someone keep raising the bar that is pushing me to improve far beyond anything I’d do on my own.  Not only am I getting stronger and faster, but as I keep marking new accomplishments am I ever spurred on to want to keep growing and getting better!

And I’m amazed how it’s not just spurring me on physically but also providing an incredible metaphor for continuing to grow spiritually.

Remember a disciple is a learner as well as a follower of Jesus.  Being His disciple isn’t a rank you attain but a direction you head.  Stop learning, stop following Jesus and you are no longer His disciple.  As I spend time in the Word and keep seeking actively to apply it I am growing and it is exciting to periodically notice differences.

But a month ago an older woman contacted me and said I’d kept coming to her mind, would I be interested in getting together?  What a gift from the Lord this has proven to be!  Each time we interact I am so spurred on to want to go deeper with Jesus, far deeper than I would on my own.  And her insights and suggestions for things I can practically do to keep growing are making such a difference in my life!

But just like swimming, it takes effort to make this happen.  This precious woman lives four hours away.   It requires time and effort and intentionality to connect.

Is it ever worth it!

So what I’m chewing on today is the reality discipleship isn’t just for new or young believers.  Discipleship is about intentionally spurring people on to be (and remain!) Jesus’ disciple.  That’s something we can all benefit from all our days!  And do the women I disciple ever benefit from me continuing to be discipled!

Thankfully you can teach an old dog new tricks* – and what a difference it’s making in my life as I keep being spurred on to learn, grow and follow Jesus!

 

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*fun links:

http://www.petsafe.net/blog/2013/08/14/you-can-and-should-teach-an-old-dog-new-tricks/

http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/mythbusters-database/teach-old-dog-new-tricks.htm

http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/09/27/you-can-teach-an-old-dog-new-tricks/45219.html

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