Diana Nyad completed a record-breaking swim from Havana, Cuba to the coastline of Florida. She has been trying to complete this swim since 1978 and finally achieved her goal 35 years later. One of the first things she said when she stood on the Florida shore was “Never ever give up.” But those aren’t the words she credits with helping her to find success in her swim this time. She told Robin Roberts on Good Morning America that she had a mantra she used when things became really difficult. Diana would tell herself over and over to, “Find a way.” She credits that mantra as the reason she found success this time, even though there were countless times she could have given up.
Diana Nyad is 64 years old. She swam through the shark infested waters, without a shark cage. She was stung multilple times by jellyfish and her tongue and lips were swollen because of the salt water. She had attempted to make the swim in 1978 when she was 28 years old, but failed. Then she attempted it several more times, failing over and over again. I think most people would have given up at 28 and never considered it possible at 64. Who am I kidding? Most of us would have considered it impossible at 28! Diana became more determined as the years progressed, not less. That is really the point of this blog post. She said the reason she made it this time was not because she was stronger physically, but because she was stronger mentally. She said finding her “mantra” and repeating it to herself is what kept her swimming towards her goal.
I have to be honest, I admire her strength and her will to succeed. She had a goal and she worked until she achieved it. Her mantra was “Find a way” and she did. It looks like her success is going to help a lot of people. She had sponsors who apparently are going to be rewarding and helping a lot of hurricane victims and others because of her success. Her goal was more than a personal achievement.
I watched the Good Morning America segment while I was walking on my treadmill. My goal: a few miles – walking at a brisk but not overly fast pace – in my air-conditioned room – with comfortable shoes and an extra fan to keep me cool. I didn’t even have to worry about a mosquito sting and I knew that, with my remote control, I could channel surf my way to the end of the timer setting. I watched Diana Nyad struggle to walk onto that Florida beach, having completed her 100+ mile swim, knowing she was almost a decade older than me – and it made me wonder. Do I need to rethink some of my own goals. Am I working as hard as I should be?
I think it is wonderful that Diana Nyad swam from Havana to Florida and a lot of people will benefit from her success. But honestly, how much will that matter in the long run? I admire her success, but I’m not sure I would share her goal. On the other hand, I know how people can live with Jesus, eternally. I own the knowledge to help people receive salvation for their souls. That is what humbled me this morning. Why don’t I share Diana Nyad’s mantra? “Find a way.” Why don’t I share her determination? “Never ever give up.”
Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Paul said, “My dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Diana Nyad will be in the news for the next few days. Why don’t we take a moment, each time her name is before us and think about our own goals. Are we serving Christ as he so well deserves? Is our mantra each day, “Find a way?”
No one you meet today has the ability to work hard enough to achieve the goal of heaven. Salvation is a gift that cannot be earned – but can always be received. Who will you meet that needs to know Christ? Will you “find a way” to help them reach that goal? Let’s never ever – give up.