Finding Nemo is now a well known Disney/Pixar classic movie. It follows the tale of a young fish named Nemo who gets captured from the open ocean and placed in a fish tank at a dentist office. His father, Marlin, sets off to find him and along the way meets, Dory, another fish that joins that journey to find Nemo (thus the title). There is a really cute song that Dory sings along the way called “Just Keep Swimming.” In fact, those three words are the entire song. The simple little tune of “Just Keep Swimming” comes to mind many times when I’m tired and overwhelmed. It might seem silly, but it’s a great reminder for me to keep going.
It seems like this song fits a multitude of situations – when you’re tired and stressed and you know you have to wake up another day and do it all over again – just keep swimming. When you’re dreams aren’t panning out at the pace you had hoped – just keep swimming. When people don’t come through for you like you had hoped – just keep swimming. As much as we might want to throw in the towel from time to time, we know that we have been called by God to complete His glorious purpose. We can’t allow our visions to become detours. Sometimes you have to just keep swimming.
Galatians 6:9 is the best verse I know to keep me swimming. It says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for in the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” It might be a cheesy illustration, but Marlin didn’t give up in the quest for his son. He kept swimming despite hardships and received the joy of being reunited with Nemo. There will be a great reward if we keep on going. It might seem easier to stop, but we’ll be sacrificing the joy at the end.
I think one of the reasons I love Galatians 6:9 so much is because Paul acknowledges we can become weary in doing good. Being in ministry isn’t an easy vocation. I know personally I can become weary when I look around at all that still needs to be done. I can grow weary when I invest in people only to see them stay in the same sinful cycles. I can grow weary when the pace seems faster than me and I can’t keep up. Let’s be honest – we all limitations and weariness can set in. Sustainable ministry is so important so that when weariness sets in; you can be rested and renewed. It’s important to not let weariness lead to burn out.
As you swim through this journey of life, we have to remember that the good outweighs the bad. When we’re investing into Kingdom endeavors then our hard work will not be in vain. We might not see the reward as quickly as we like, but it’s there. This verse reminds us that there is a harvest to be had if we don’t give up. Here is a personal example of how I’ve seen this happen in my life – I’m very close to my students and stay in contact with them long after they leave my classroom. I had one student keep in touch with me for many years only to push me away after a hard season in her life. I tried so hard to encourage her and let her know that I was there for her, but it didn’t matter. I learned that I can’t make someone be open and share with me. I was left with only one option and that was pray for her. I let go of all the efforts I was making to connect with her. It was over a year before I heard from her again, but when I did, let me tell there was great joy! The wait was more than worth it! I can now see the harvest of my prayers. It was in God’s timing, not my own. I could have never brought this all about on my own.
Some days when I just need a little “something” more to keep me going, I might start humming the tune “Just Keep Swimming” and quote to myself Galatians 6:9. I know what I am called to do, but I realize that I can get weary in doing good. When I remember the harvest – my true purpose for doing it all – it helps to me not give up and just keep swimming!