A childhood friend of mine is what you might describe as a bit of a daredevil or thrill-seeker. She will say “yes” to just about any opportunity. Or jump at the chance for any new sort of experience. I’m grateful for our decades of friendship because she’s convinced me to step out of my comfort zone and try something new on more than a few occasions.
Take a road trip on a whim? Of course! Strike up a conversation with a stranger? Why not? Get tattoos while attending your high school reunion? Go bear watching in Kodiak, Alaska? Start a food fight just for the fun of it? Carpe diem! Live in the moment! Seize the day!
My dear friend has roped me into all sorts of adventures (and just a little bit of trouble) over the years because she’s committed to live by the more recently popular adage—”You only live once” (also known by its acronym: YOLO!).
Rachel has reminded me again and again that we have this one, beautiful life to experience as much as we can. To soak up all sorts of goodness in God’s great creation and learn from incredible people all around us. If only we’re willing to take note and take risks. You only live once, after all.
More days than not, I try to channel Rachel’s enthusiasm for life. But I’m also convinced that I don’t have to wait for global travels or daredevil stunts to be reminded I do, indeed, only live once. There is beauty to be found even in the most mundane moments of life. Seize the day—and savor a few moments of silence in your car as you drive to work. Live in the moment—and take note of the hard work of the grocery store employees as you check out. Catch a glimpse of heaven on earth in the sounds of laughter or the crisp fall air that fills your lungs or the taste of a warm meal lovingly prepared.
Maybe that’s what the author of Thessalonians had in mind when we’re instructed to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances.” It hardly seems possible to rejoice and pray and be grateful all of the time. But, then again, if we can find a way to see God in our usual daily routines or be grateful for everyday experiences, then maybe we really are living in the moment.
So consider this your encouragement to take risks, try something new, or step out of your comfort zone. But also… sit quietly. Listen intently. Love wholeheartedly. After all, you only live once.