Why It's Important to Stay in Your Swim Lane

BY: Deana Bell, Director, Restored Marriage
You've probably heard the phrase "stay in your lane," and until recently, I didn't even realize that that phrase does not usually contain the additional word "swim." It's a phrase my husband uses often, and he always says it with the word "swim."
 "Swim lane" is a project management term for doing the job that you were asked to do. "Staying in your swim lane" means that when you do what you are asked to do and don't get caught up in what others are doing in their lane, you all accomplish your goal together.
For example, one person's swim lane might be marketing. Another person's lane might be finance. And yet another's lane could be IT (Information Technology). If the person whose swim lane is marketing starts getting involved in the finance department, things begin to go haywire. Staying in your swim lane is good, although sometimes tough to do.
I like the additional visual of actual swim lanes. Since my husband was a competitive swimmer at one time in his life, I assumed that this is where he picked up the phrase. If you think about a pool used for competitive swimming, you can probably picture the bright orange swim lane markers that line the pool for each swimmer.  Each swimmer stays in their lane to keep safe. They are brightly colored so that when you have goggles on or the sun is in your eyes; they are easier to see. The lane markers are there for guidance for your good.
In marriage, swim lanes are also vital. God has given us, man and woman, each a role to play in the union. The man's purpose, according to Ephesians 5:25-27 clearly states that he should love his wife "as Christ loves the church." However, the women in the same verses are called to "submit themselves to their husbands."
God has created a godly order. When we do as we are asked, the "team" can accomplish their goal, the same way we described earlier in the business sense.
In marriage crisis and restoration, things take on yet a new meaning.
Let's assume that when a marriage crisis has happened, one or both of us has gotten out of our swim lanes. Maybe the woman has started to lead the family on her own and has gotten into the man's swim lane. Or perhaps, the man has failed to lead the family, which is his responsibility, and left it up to the wife to try to carry out on her own.
Either way, they have gotten out of the divine and godly order.
I see this often in separation and divorce as well. Because things are already out of order, and a crisis has happened, we tend to let chaos happen and aren't aware of our roles until something devastating has happened. It is essential to "reframe" and get back in our lane, but it is also important to stay there.
Staying in our swim lane in separation and divorce means
  1. Not letting what we see on social media affect our mood, thoughts, or especially our decisions.
  2. Focusing on the Lord and the Lord alone. Reading the Bible daily and spending time with the Lord in prayer for answers to the things that don't make sense right now.
  3. Letting the Lord do the work in our spouse's hearts to change and transform them. Not getting in the middle of the Lord's work by continually reaching out to them, asking for their opinions, or seeking their approval.
  4. Using this time of separation to our advantage. Actively pursuing a relationship with the Lord, where we hear from Him frequently and fervently.
  5. Actively taking our burdens to the foot of the cross and allowing God to work in our lives in the way that He chooses, not in the way we may have thought out or planned ourselves.
I believe many of us have had an issue with control. I know that I did. And during separation and divorce, when EVERYTHING is out of your control, it is an opportune time to learn that NOTHING is ever entirely in our control. We have a choice; we can hold on tightly to what we knew made us happy or feel safe. OR we can give up control, hand it over to God (where it belongs), and trust that He will give us a better path than anything we could have come up with on our own.
The Lord has taught me that His plans and purposes are higher than anything I have ever thought or imagined. If you had asked me when I was 10, 20, or even 30 what I would be doing in my 40s, I would have NEVER imagined what the Lord had planned. At 10, I would have been happy to have known that I would have graduated college…the first and only in my family. In my 20s, all I wanted was to be a teacher and impact young lives. And at 30, I would have just been happy enough to know that I had been a good mother to my children.
But here I am, having experienced immense and intense loss, abandonment, and rejection in my life, living what only GOD could have planned for me. So thankful for what He has done, never thinking I would be in this place in my life and certainly never imagining it.

Staying in your swim lane is a safe place.
Staying in your swim lane will bring you peace from the chaos.
Staying in your swim lane is where God wants you.
And ultimately, staying in your swim lane will bring you blessings upon blessings. 
Deana is currently one of the Directors of Covenant Keepers, International. She graduated from the Dove School of Leadership through Chesapeake Bible College and received her Pastor's license in 2019. Previously she and her husband, Koji, served as the Mid-West Regional Directors of Covenant Keepers and as small group leaders in that area. She has a degree in Secondary Education as well as experience in counseling from a biblical standpoint. For the last 20 years, she has also served her family as a stay-at-home mom and homeschool teacher. Deana's marriage has been restored since 2013.
She is passionate about having a relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. She has seen many miracles in her life as well as in the lives of the people around her. At her core, she is an encourager and disciple of Christ, spending most of her days ministering to people and digging into the Word. She also speaks at conferences, loves to write, and teach the Word of God. She and her family currently live and attend church in the Charlotte, NC area.






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