Seizing the Day
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Most people have heard the acronym “YOLO” thrown around for the past couple of years. It stands for “You Only Live Once.” Pop stars and celebrities have made it a catchphrase to promote doing crazy things or taking risks because, hey, “You Only Live Once!”
It’s an attractive thought. Why worry about the future? Why subscribe to having to answer for decisions we make when we can pretend it all doesn’t matter anyway? Why can’t we only be concerned about what makes us happy right now?
Well, eventually you realize that life doesn’t work like that, and you start having to pay for the decisions you made earlier. In most cases, those who live life with that motto begin wishing they had thought about the long term a bit sooner.
Since we only have one life, what do we want to do with it? What do we want to be remembered for? What would be a life that we can look back at and be proud of? The well-known saying “carpe diem” (Latin for “seize the day”) has a positive feel to it. It’s the same rationale that you only live once, but rather than taking it as a reason to do crazy things, ignore consequences, and live for the now (which I’ll call YOLO days), it means to go further, to do more, and to not waste the day (which I’ll call carpe diem days).
A classic example that comes to mind is the parable Jesus told about the two men who built houses; one built on the sand and the other built on the rock.1 I’m no builder, but I can imagine that building on the sand would be much faster. It’s soft and easy to dig in. You could probably get your house up much faster than the guy having to build on more solid material, like rock. Maybe the sand guy had cool places to be and more fun things to do, so he wanted to get it done and out of the way quickly. “You only live once,” I can imagine him saying, “so I don’t want to waste too much time working.”
The other guy knew if he did it right the first time, it would last longer. He made sure that he built his structure to endure.
Sure enough, as the story goes, when the rains came and the wind blew, the house on the sand collapsed. Mr. Sand Builder had to start all over again while Mr. Rock Builder could sit in his nice warm house protected from the storm.
Seizing the day because we only have this life means living it to the full. It means making choices that you can be proud of—not only in physical accomplishments but in the friends you’ve made, the kindness you showed others, the lives you’ve touched in some way, and the memories you’ve created. This will be how others will remember you.
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”2 He wants us to experience God’s love and the many blessings that He gives us every day. He intends for us to do something positive with the life He has given.
Don’t let life pass you by. Make the most of it so that you can look back and be encouraged by what you’ve accomplished.—Nina Kole
Be a maximizer
Most people, it seems, fall into one of three broad groups when it comes to their level of dedication and initiative, their work ethic, and how much they’re able to accomplish.
These three groups are the minimizers, the maintainers, and the maximizers. Minimizers do as little as they can get away with, and maintainers do only what is needed to maintain the status quo, but maximizers are ready and willing to go the distance; they are focused on moving closer to their goal, even though they know it will cost them in time and energy.
Maximizers take initiative, are proactive, are the first to respond to a need or adapt to changing circumstances, and give their best at whatever they do. It comes as no surprise, then, that maximizers are generally more successful than their less committed counterparts.
Maximizers don’t watch the clock. To be maximizers, we must be willing to work long and hard, within reasonable limits, and sometimes do so in less-than-ideal conditions. Proverbs in the Bible says, “Lazy people want much but get little, while the diligent are prospering,”3 and, “The lazy man will not plow because of winter; [therefore] he will beg during harvest and have nothing.”4 The maximizer also looks for ways to serve the common good, to not only accomplish his own work, but also to help others accomplish theirs.
Cultivating good work habits and self-discipline are all crucial to becoming a maximizer. We should look for opportunities to renew our commitment to excellence through constantly challenging ourselves to stretch and grow. Good work habits include such things as planning ahead, prioritizing, wisely delegating, learning from mistakes, and remaining flexible.
Maximizers work hard, but they are wise enough to know that their own efforts alone will never achieve the maximum results possible, and they are humble enough to solicit the help of others. They share the load with God by involving Him at every step in the endeavor, knowing that the inspiration, insight, and strength He can add will get them much farther than they could ever get on their own. They believe in the power of prayer and understand that God can help them reach their objective, even—and especially—when circumstances are beyond their control. They ask for His blessing at every turn, follow His lead, and depend on Him to do what they can’t do.—Ronan Keane
Paths of progress
We have to be willing to raise our anchor and sail out to sea, knowing that we will never return to the shores of yesterday. That’s the only way that we’ll discover new lands of opportunity that the Lord promises. There are times in each of our lives when we have to be willing to let go of what the Lord asks us to and grab hold of the new things He brings our way for today and tomorrow.
Each of us will be presented with opportunities to pioneer new things throughout our lives. There are new opportunities, methods, and callings that you will never discover or uncover if you don’t leave behind some of the old and sail out to find the new! Pioneering takes vision, faith, initiative, and courage.
You might not feel that you’re pioneering much of anything at this point in time, but if you have vision, faith, initiative, and courage, then you have a pioneer’s spirit. Even if you haven’t exercised those qualities much in recent times, it’s never too late to step out by faith to go through a new door of opportunity the Lord has set before you.
As the Lord once said in prophecy: “Be willing to be a pioneer in spirit. To be a pioneer means having the faith to go beyond what you are or where you are at today, in order to become and do what I have planned for you to be and accomplish. The pioneering process may cost initially in launching out into the new, but it will result in discovering new horizons and lands of promise and abundant fruit.”—Peter Amsterdam
Published on Anchor January 2019. Read by Jason Lawrence.