• Heidi J. Smith

Chapter 1. The Day I Almost Drowned

Jeff and I honeymooned in Colorado and a few months later vacationed in Mexico. Jeff won a free trip from selling Southwestern Books.

Jeff, some of his fellow employees, and I hopped a plane and rented a red jeep. As we bumped up and down on the dirt road, someone suggested we go cliff jumping.

"Sure, why not?!" everyone agreed. We don't have kids:)

Excitement pumped through our veins as we weaved through the jungle to an old building overlooking a cliff. Parrots squawked and geckos scattered as we gripped the metal hand bar and peered over the edge into the deep pool.

"Who wants to go first?" someone asked.

No one spoke or moved.

"OK, I will," Jeff volunteered.

And he did. He jumped over the cliff into the foaming water.

"Wow! That is cold!" he shouted, "Who is next?"

One by one friends followed until I knew it was my turn.

Why was I shaking? I had been a lifeguard. This should be a piece of cake.

Breathing deeply, I curled my toes into the dirt and dove.

The cold water shocked my body, while the waterfall's undercurrent pulled me backwards. I gasped and sputtered. I tried to swim away, but the current was too strong.

Panic gripped me as I realized I couldn't swim away.

"Help!" I cried.

My husband snapped pictures and reasoned, "She's joking. She's been a lifeguard for several years."

Pulled under again, I gulped more water and flapped my arms. I shrieked, "Help! Help!"

A local bystander leaped into the water and dragged me to safety.

Hanging my head in embarrassment,

I whispered, "thank you."

What happened?

I knew I could swim, but I misjudged the unfamiliar waters and jumped in the wrong spot.

How many times has our self-confidence led us in over our heads?

We misjudge our abilities, strength, or experiences and then wonder why everything is a mess.

"So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!"

I Corinthians 10:12 NIV

"These are all warning markers—danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their (the Israelites) mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence." I Corinthians 10:11-12 MSG

The Israelites witnessed God's miracles (parting the Red Sea, providing daily manna and water from a rock), but they failed when they forsook God and relied on themselves.

In our lives, we struggle when we trust in our own strength rather than the Lord's strength.

God created each of us unique with different personalities and talents, but He did not design us to live independently from Him. We need Him. (I Corinthians 4:7)

We need to daily depend on the Lord for His power and direction. As we encounter good and bad situations, we trust Him. (Galatians 3:3)

Is there something that we are trying to do ourselves rather than asking the Lord for help? If so, we might be doggy-paddling in the same spot rather than swimming forward with the Lord's help.

Today my face still turns red when I think of the day that I almost drowned, but I'm thankful for the humility lesson. Forget about self-confidence and cultivate God-confidence.


"For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?"

1 Corinthians 4:7 NIV

"Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?" Galatians 3:3 NIV

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Heidi J. Smith