Along the Journey – Because It’s There

Diane Nyad just completed a dip in the ocean. That’s like saying it can be warm in August. She swam 110 miles between Cuba and Florida, the first person to do it without a shark cage and with a specially designed anti-jellyfish mask.

She had tried it before, on several occasions. This time she made it. It took her almost 53 hours to finish on Monday. Talk about Labor Day!

She played mental games including relying on a song list of 85 tunes. “Neil Young is my favorite,” she said.

“Experts” have weighed in, opining that she was able to accomplish this amazing feat because she was mentally tough, that she believed in herself, that she had trained her mind to push pass the fatigue, pain, and energy drain.

Diane Nyad is 64. I’m 62. I could swim 110 … feet.

We could ask how someone could do this. We could also ask why someone would do this.

Why does anyone set a goal, dream a dream, set out to do something grand? Why do people excel when the odds are against them? Why do people attempt what seems impossible or even nutty?

“Because it’s there” sounds trite or jingoistic. Okay, what’s your reason? What motivates you to do what Charles Swindoll used to say was “living about the level of mediocrity”?

Your goals may not include a grueling 110-mile swim through shark- and jellyfish-infested waters, but you may be trying to build a marriage that lasts or raise a child well or conduct business with integrity or push past your own personal pain and struggle.

It took fantastic effort for Diane Nyad to succeed, but you know what? She didn’t do it alone. She gave credit to her team: “Never, ever, could I do this without this team here,” she told a news conference.

I don’t know if Diane Nyad has a spiritual component to her life. I hope so. I need one and so, I believe, do you. I need relationships with my God and with His people. I need to know I don’t have to go it alone. So do you. “Be strong and courageous, for the Lord your God is with you!” (Joshua 1:9)

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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