The Secret To Success = Move Forward

Five children, ages seven to ten, were lined up side-by-side on the cement pool deck. My sister and I were among them. The diving coach stood about ten feet in front of us, as he barked out the same rhythm, “Let’s move! Step 1 -2- 3, JUMP.”

Five new divers took three steps forward as counted, and then jumped as high as we could. After jumping, we’d scramble back to the starting point on the deck to do it again. And again. And again. After a while, we added throwing our arms up in the air, while kicking up our left knee to the jumping. Step by repetitive step, we learned how to perform a dive approach.

“If you don’t have a strong bounce off the board, you’ll never have a successful dive. Your approach has to be solid, and your bounce has to be high. Do it again!”

I remember practicing that darn three-step approach for days. Finally, we were allowed to move to the diving board. Step 1 – 2 – 3, knee and arms up, pushing down on the flexible board, bouncing up high, sailing up into the air and landing in the water.

Now, one of my favorite sports to watch is diving. The movements in the air are amazing, as are the perfect entries. But those dives start on the board. Fancy dives don’t just happen without a strong approach and a high bounce.

The instructions barked out to me when I was seven are useful in a lot of places in life, not just on a diving board. Preparation is key for any success. Any good coach will tell you that excellence doesn’t just happen. It’s a result of grasping the fundamentals, making an effort and doing the best you can.

Just ask Moses. He told the fleeing Israelites: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only keep still.” (Exodus 14:14). Um… Really?? That sounds amazing! Pardon me while I take a load off and watch that happen.

Well, Moses was right, but he forgot a step. Fortunately, he had a great Coach. In the next verse, God said to him, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward! And you, raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water…” (Exodus 14:15) Yes, God will give them the victory, but not without their participation.

The Israelites had to go forward, Moses had to raise his arm. Then, and only then, could God bless their efforts abundantly.

In every part of life, we are called to take action. Getting a good test grade, hitting a home run, or landing a perfect dive, it all depends on us. After all, God can’t bless our efforts if we don’t make any.

Our ultimate Coach wants us to practice, to try, to move forward. So if you want to succeed, don’t just grab a chair and a soda, and watch the show.

Instead, do the work to set it up. Bounce high. Then you’ll see what God can do for you.



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44 thoughts on “The Secret To Success = Move Forward

  1. How timely is this post today dear Ceil. By the way, Happy New to you! Here is the part that came off the page to me….β€œThe Lord will fight for you; you need only keep still.” (Exodus 14:14). WOW! This is a must share right now with for me. And not only a share….but I too NEEDED To read this today! Thank you!
    Hugs and blessings, Cindy

    • Hi Cindy! Happy New Year to you too πŸ™‚

      I’m glad you liked what you read today, and want to share the good news too. It seems that the bible is always fresh and new, right? Written so long ago, but every thought and direction is easily applied to today.

      Have a wonderful Monday!

  2. Good advice, Ceil. The problem is that we often forget and think that it is all up to us. We forget that God is there, helping our every effort, our every attempt and our every success.

    Wishing you and your family the best year ever.

    God bless.

    • Hi Victor! Wishing the same for you and yours too my friend.

      I know I often think I have to do everything, but our lives are a wonderful collaboration with the Lord. We are not alone! Do the best we can do, and then watch what God will do for us. Sounds like a great deal to me!

      Monday Blessings,

  3. “If you don’t have a strong bounce off the board, you’ll never have a successful dive. Your approach has to be solid, and your bounce has to be high. Do it again!”

    This is a good motto for life.

    Move…that’s my word for the year. Do you have one? It’s the newest trend…ha ha…all the bloggers are doing it. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Sandi! Thanks for sharing your favorite line from the post. I hope it shows that we might not get it right at first…it takes time and practice. But when we’re ready, the dive will be beautiful!

      I have been thinking about a word for the year, just haven’t quite come up with one yet. Maybe be next week?
      Monday blessings,

  4. Welcome back, Ceil!
    Yes, God can bless us only if we are willing to prepare, practice and move forward, not content to sit on the sidelines of life. I’ll remember to bounce high! πŸ™‚
    Blessings to you, and Happy New Year!

    • Hi Martha! Oh, I think you’re a pretty high bouncer already. Your words are always so gentle and inspiring.

      But I do love the idea that we just keep working on the approach, while the Lord waits for that perfect timing; the highest bounce. I just have to be patient while I work on it. That’s a chore for me sometimes, but I do even that with the Lord. Someday that dive is going to be perfect!

      Monday blessings,

    • Hi Lulu! Honestly, that’s my favorite line from the blog post too. I’m so glad it resonated with you too. It’s great to be back my friend, I missed you and your blog too. Happy New Year to you and your wonder-dog!

      Grace and peace,

  5. Welcome back from your “sabbatical” Ceil. nice to read your blog again. We have a girl in the church who is a diver, a very good one at that and is only 11. she started as a gymnast but wanted something else. You are right about the bounce and the height. God does want us to go high.

    • Hi Bill! I like that description of my time away. I’ll take it!

      I think a gymnast would be an awesome diver. They already know how to get a strong bounce and love to spin. Good for her, I hope she continues to do well.

      And let’s keep bouncing high too!

  6. Our ultimate coach. Yes, He is. I hadn’t used that term for our beautiful creator and Father. But that is so true. He guides us and uses our mistakes for learning. Do you still like to dive and swim Ceil? It’s such a graceful sport!

    • Hi Lynn! The last time I did a 1 1/2 off the board, I got so dizzy! Acht. Getting old is tough all over. I do still swim though, its a great way for me to keep in some semblance of shape.

      He does use our mistakes for learning! I am doing a talk next month, and I say much the same thing. Isn’t it wonderful that even our weaknesses can be used for strength?

      Happy New Year to you and yours my friend,

  7. I really enjoy watching diving, but it’s not something I’ve done much of. When I watch it now, I’ll pay more attention to the bounce – and be reminded of that application in life!

    • Hi Mari! Well, I can’t do it anymore really. But I enjoyed it when I could. That bounce is what gives the diver his or her power to create the dive. That’s why I thought we are really so much a part of what happens in our lives. We have to make the first move with strength, and then God can help us create beauty.

      Happy New Year!

    • Hi Dear! You better believe it was you there with me. And Tommy Ellis too. Do you remember those drills? We were so happy to actually get on the board after all that repetition. It sure made you an elegant diver!

      Who knew those days would teach us about making good foundations? Hope you guys are okay in all the snow and cold…BRRRRR!
      Hugs and kisses,

  8. Hi Ceil,
    looking at your high diving pictures remind me of where we must start every day of our lives – looking up.
    God bless you Ceil and have a lovely start to 2018

  9. This was so encouraging to me this morning, my friend. It takes a concentrated effort to look forward, doesn’t it? Especially, when you feel so overwhelmed with the hurts of the past and are walking through grief and hard places. Sometimes, we can really get stuck there, and it takes the hand of the Lord to give us that nudge “off the diving board” into the great unknown. I needed this so much today and thank you for sharing your heart. I missed your posts, so, welcome back!

    • Hi Cheryl! Thank you so much for your kind comments my friend. I know all about being stuck in the past, and you’re so right. We need a nudge (or a stiff push!) to move past that and get on with life.

      It’s good to be back and visit with my blog friends…like you πŸ™‚

  10. Great lesson, Ceil! We are CO-laborers with Christ, not spectators. I like that. If only I can learn to listen to his voice more closely, so I’ll know what my part is and what to leave up to him!

    Happy, productive 2018!

    • Hi Jeanette! Oooh, I like that, a ‘productive’ 2018. I hope I will be that this year!

      We are co-laborers as St. Paul said, our part is important. You are so right about the listening, if we can’t hear, we won’t be able to do what he needs us to do.

      Thank you for your good wishes for 2018. Same to you!

  11. Ceil” Welcome back.This is such a timely topic. We have to prepare for all things in life. God led Moses through all the phases of his life. Even when he was in the desert after he fled Egypt, God was still there with him while Moses learned what he had to in order to lead God’s people out of bondage.

    • Hi Cecelia! I’m glad this message resonated with you. Moses was very reliant on the Lord, and very faithful to him too. He was the most humble man on earth, according to the bible.

      Let’s move forward, knowing that the Lord is with us, just as he was with Moses!

  12. Hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year, Ceil! I enjoyed your story about diving and the link you make. It’s so true that our efforts and God’s power work together and often we only see his power if we are willing to take action and step out in faith!

    • Hi Lesley! I did, and I hope you did too my friend. I still have my decorations up! It’s hard for me to let go of all the lights and ornaments, but I think this is the week I box them up.

      I pray that we’ll both see his power in abundance this year, as we move forward, knowing he will bless our efforts.

      Happy New Year!

  13. Happy New Year, Ceil! This is a great post and I think it can be applied to so many areas of our lives… Me + God = Success. It just gets messed up when I leave Him out of the equation! Many blessings on your 2018!

    • Hi Debby! Now that’s the kind of equation I understand! It certainly sums up the point I was trying to make very well. Thank you for that πŸ™‚

      Happy New Year to you and yours my friend,

  14. This is a great analogy, Ceil. I think sometimes we take being “still” as being passive and not active. Thanks for the insight into that Bible passage – that God still said to “go forward.” Love and hugs to you!

    • Hi Trudy! I was really struck by the two passages, they seemed to be opposed. I wonder if Moses was trying to pump up the crowd so they wouldn’t panic? But then God came through, as he always did, and showed him the way. Move forward!

      Love and hugs to you too!

  15. Hi Ceil! Happy New Year! It’s so good to “see” you again! This post is excellent for the start of the New Year. Preparation is important in all areas of life and so is practice. We learn to do so many things by practicing/doing; preparation goes into those times of doing (supplies, instruction, prayer, etc.).

    I love your closing lines: “Our ultimate Coach wants us to practice, to try, to move forward. So if you want to succeed, don’t just grab a chair and a soda, and watch the show. Instead, do the work to set it up. Bounce high. Then you’ll see what God can do for you.” Thank you for this reminder and motivation to get off the sidelines and do!

    Blessings, my friend,


    • Hi Kim! Wouldn’t it be something if we all decided to start working with the Lord and got out there and tried? What an amazing difference there would be in the world. I hope to be more trusting and ‘go forward’ this year.

      Blessings on your New Year!

  16. All true, my friend. I think our challenge is also that we sometimes forget He wants us to be still and wait. We need a lot of discernment to be clear. Fortunately, His grace leads us if we yield to the Holy Spirit’s nudge. That way we do not stagnate nor run ahead of Him.

    Hugs and Happy New Year to you!

    • Hi Pam! You make a great point about discernment. Certainly there are places we shouldn’t be running ahead of the Lord, or places where we don’t belong. I think it all comes down to trust. Trusting our spirits and trusting our Lord.

      Happy New Year to you too!

  17. I love Moses, with all his doubts, wonderings, wanderings. And I love that God not only urged him forward, but sent men to walk alongside him to encourage him and keep him from giving up.

    And I guess that’s what we do here with blogging, don’t we. Encouraging each other over and over and over again. And in the process showing kindness, love and grace.

    You show us how to do it, friend!

    Weekend blessings …

    • Hi Linda! Yes, I do think that bloggers absolutely support and encourage each other. I often find that, especially when I really need it, in the words of friends’ posts. Like yours!

      God always gives us someone or something to get us through. Moses had his brother, and we have each other too. It sure works out well, doesn’t it?
      God’s peace and blessings,

  18. Good story and illustration. I know when I am in a funk doing something, taking an action step even one small one works. I tell myself – just one thing, or try for 15 minutes. Action really does help even if it is only one small step Glad to be reading your post again.

    • Hi Jean! There’s just something about freezing in the face to challenge…it’s not a great reaction usually. I like your idea of taking a small step. Even if it’s not working, at least you know you are trying your best. Sometimes, that makes all the difference.

      It’s good to be back Jean. Nice to read your blog too πŸ™‚

  19. Oh Ceil, so wonderful to stop by today and visit your blog! Always such an inspiration! I agree that there is much God wants to do in our lives, but it does require action on our part first, before He can do His part. Very good words dear friend! So happy to see you “back in action” πŸ™‚ Hugs to you today!

    • Hi Marilyn! It’s great to see you too! I hope you aren’t swimming in snow?

      Thank you for your supportive comments, I really appreciate them. It’s great to be back ‘in action’! I enjoyed my time away for the holidays, but I’m ready to get back to connecting with my blog friends (like you!).

      Have a great weekend!

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