Putting Pride in a Pool

This year I joined a master’s swim group in order to improve my swimming for summer triathlons. I joined the group at the beginning of this year, and I must say that swimming with them has been a valuable experience. I am pushed farther and faster than if I were swimming by myself.

One of the characteristics of the group is that most of the swimmers swam in high school or college. The group competes at local and national swim competitions. It’s interesting for me since I don’t have a background in competitive swimming. I swam a bit in college for exercise, but nowhere near a competitive level. This led to a few interesting interactions this last Thursday night.

There was a new lady in my lane (the slowest lane) that I hadn’t seen before. As we were swimming laps, it became clear to me that I was the slowest in the slow lane. Normally there are college students that swim with the group that are on my level, but they are gone on spring break. After dropping a 50 here and there I felt obliged to say that I was new to swimming with the group. After the swim, I was talking to a guy in the locker room who was a swimmer in college, and I again felt compelled to point out my newness/slowness.

Why did I point that out? Looking back I see I was speaking from a wounded ego. A, “please don’t judge me based on my swimming.” As I was walking out to my car that realization hit me, and I was ashamed that I felt the need to justify myself. My value doesn’t come from how well I perform an activity in any group. There was no need to explain myself in either situation. I need to let go of my wounded pride and fear that others will think less of me because of my skill level, and be glad that I am attending the group regularly and progressing on my own level. Praise God He still sees it worth His time to teach me lessons like this.

2 Corinthians 10:12 – For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

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