I have always had a deep Faith and a close relationship with Christ. My family has always tried to attend church every Sunday that there wasn’t a swim meet. There are a lot of ways that my faith has helped me in the most difficult of times. These are a few Bible verses that have helped me to get through the hardest moments in my career. I wanted to share this view of Faith in swimming with my fellow swimmers for Christ. To attend my Christian Swim Camp, visit the X-Stream Swim Camp page of my website!
No matter what you’re doing, no matter how it turns out, no matter the circumstances, there is a benefit and reward for your effort. For example, you could spend 1000 hours building a wall just to have it all come crumbling down and you have to be able to stand in the pile of rubble and say that all that effort was not for nothing. You gained a learning experience or you gained physical fitness through the effort and be thankful for that.
In swimming, it’s the same thing. If you train hard all year and get to the end of the season and completely fail, you have to be able to see the profit in the experience. It’s not always clear at the moment, but at some point, you have to see the profit. There is no such thing as a wasted effort. You learn from that failure and it makes you a stronger person. There's always next season.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
This verse is much more obvious. My friend’s will hear me say, “God has a plan” whenever there is uncertainty in my life. I usually like to plan out and know exactly what I want to happen in my life. I struggle with relinquishing control, but I have to constantly remind myself that God will always have a MUCH bigger and better plan for me than I could ever have.
There were lots of times in my career where I doubted my abilities. If I didn’t believe in myself at any point in my career, I could just look within and find that powerful presence that gave me the confidence to go for it. There was never any reason to feel intimidated or afraid because I had faith on my side.
There were times when I was swimming open water and I was out in the middle of the ocean with 6ft waves crashing over me and a pack of angry women racing me and trying to knock me out of the running. At those moments I could find peace within because of Jesus’s presence that I could feel so clearly protecting me and giving me the strength to push on.
How amazing is it to know that you have an all-powerful all-knowing presence with you all the time? You should never doubt your worth because Jesus loves you and He will never leave you. I think that’s pretty cool.
Through Him I can do all things. Let that sink in for a moment. There isn’t any goal I can’t achieve or any height I can’t reach because I can do all things through Christ. As a Christian athlete, I have the biggest and most amazing performance enhancer that anyone could ever have: I have Jesus on my team. For all the other swimmers in the pool, that’s pretty tough to compete with.
Colossians 3:21 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Never forget what team you swim for. You swim for Our Father first and foremost. We swim for God above our team or ourselves. Everything we do we do for Christ. Sometimes that can be so easy to forget.
There are times throughout my career where I’d briefly lose sight of that and it’s amazing to see how empty it felt. The accomplishments had no life to them because I was serving myself over God. My swimming was without purpose. When I regained the proper perspective, every victory is so much more fulfilling. I’m swimming for the God that gave me these gifts! You can feel him smile down on the pool after every race and know that you served a higher purpose. Swimming fast is God’s gift to you; what you do with it is your gift back to God.
Give every race your all, compete with integrity, and be kind to your competitiors because you’re swimming for God and you represent him every time you step up on the blocks. Thank him after every race: win or lose. Thank him for giving the gift of swimming and the opportunity to race.
Chloe Sutton - Sharing my experience of 20 years of competitive swimming including 8 years on the National Team and 2 Olympic Games.