One day, Kennedy, my seven-year-old, and I went to the playground. This was a spot we loved to visit because no one was ever there, so we always had the entire playground to ourselves. On this particular day, however, things were different. As we approached, we noticed that dozens of kids were all over the place like a swarm of ants. Immediately, Kennedy responded, “Uh, never mind.”
This was the same exact response I would have made at her age. All of these kids were about twice the size of my petite little princess, and must have looked like giants to her. As we were walking back to the car, however, Kennedy looked back up me with a look of courage in her eyes and said, “Nope! I changed my mind again. I want to go play!”
So impressed, I walked her back to the playground masking my own concern for her safety amongst these “big kids.” As we arrived, we were approached by a little girl (much bigger than Kennedy, of course) who stood there staring directly at us. “Would you like to play with me?” she asked. With a bit of hesitation in her voice, Kennedy responded, “Sure.”
I was so intrigued by this situation. It was so interesting to me to see two little people unhindered by the weights so many of us acquire by adulthood that prevent us from making friends in such an instant and innocent manner.
The little girl suddenly shouted, “Catch me!” Then, she took off running. Kennedy knew what to do, and she ran after her, looking back at me every few seconds as if she were saying with her eyes, “This is awkward, but kind of fun!
Kennedy quickly loosened up and these two new friends had a blast! This friendly little girl then taught Kennedy how to play “keep away” with some of the other kids. Kennedy ended up having more fun on the playground that day than she ever had playing there by herself. That day, she got more than a playground experience. She got something way better: a new friend.
Often, life’s greatest rewards are on the other side of courage.
This is a day that was seized by my little courageous girl. I left this moment thinking, man, we ought to live every day JUST LIKE THIS!
CARPE DIEM: SEIZE THE DAY!
The Sinful Woman
There was a woman in the Bible who seized the day, and her life was forever changed as a result. She was an immoral, sinful woman and everyone knew about it. But one day, she did something way out of the ordinary. Knowing that there was only ONE man who had the power to change everything for her, she did something crazy courageous. She walked into a home filled with the most religious, judgmental men on the planet in a culture where even the godliest of women were looked down upon and unwelcome. Overwhelmed by the emotions within her as she sensed the hope of redemption on the brink, she threw herself at the feet of this man named Jesus. She then broke an alabaster jar of perfume, one that I presume she purchased with money earned through a year’s worth of prostitution, and poured it all out onto the feet of Jesus. Weeping, she covered his feet also with her tears and then wiped them with her hair. (Luke 7:36-50) Just imagine the awkward tension everyone in the room must have felt!
That day, her sins were forgiven and she was granted peace. She received a new beginning, and a new heart. She also left that moment bearing the same aroma as Jesus, her Savior. It was the beautiful aroma of repentance and redemption. This aroma represents the very place where we all meet Jesus for the first time, where repentance and redemption converge and everything changes.
The Plane Ride
One time, I heard a pastor preach a sermon on the power of prayer. He claimed that he once prayed for God to give him someone once a week to lead to Christ. Sure enough, about once a week, this man encountered someone who actually engaged with him in conversation and ultimately said “Yes” to Jesus. This inspired the heck out of me, and I decided to test it out. I began praying, as an experiment more than anything, for God to send me someone that I could introduce to Christ. It always bothered me that I hadn’t personally experienced this before. Sure, I have had the privilege of praying with people at church, but never out in public. These stories are always the coolest, and exemplify the kind of life I am convinced we are all capable of and called to, if we are crazy enough to go for it. Through this sermon, I remember having the epiphany that maybe I never got this opportunity because I haven’t been praying for it!
Sure enough, a few days later I boarded a plane and sat next to a young mother and her daughter. My immediate thoughts were, “God, if this is my opportunity, you are going to have to really set this up for me! I cannot be that weird Christian who tries to force something.”
About two-thirds into the trip, I began to think this was not it. We had hardly said two words the entire time. Then, suddenly she began to talk. She shared her entire life story with me, including painful details of childhood abuse. I will never forget how a courage swept over me as I began to share the hope of Jesus Christ with her. I asked her if she wanted to make Jesus her own personal Lord and Savior, and SHE SAID YES! Right there on the plane, we prayed and I truly believe her life was forever changed!
I walked off that plane on cloud nine! I couldn’t believe it: I had prayed for God to give me the opportunity to introduce someone to the hope of Jesus, and God answered my prayer! The opportunity even came right to me and practically landed in my lap! All I did were three simple things: I prayed, recognized a God-moment, and responded with courage. I remember thinking this ought to be every-day life! I don’t want one cool story, I want countless! I don’t want to just tell about that one time I seized the day, I want to seize every day!
Seize YOUR Day!
I want to encourage you to lay hold of every day you are given! Each day is an opportunity to make an eternal impact in someone’s life. Our true significance is the investment we make into the faith of others. Our lives can be so busy, and we can get so bogged down with life’s worries, that we can miss out on so much! I am the worst about this! I am not sharing this with you as someone who has figured it out, but as one who is still learning right along with you.
Together, in 2016, let’s up our game and get intentional with the purpose that God has placed on our lives. We are called and commissioned to be his witnesses. And, there is just no other way of life that even compares! Friends, we really can seize the day every day by following these three simple steps:
Start with prayer.
Recognize the God moments.
As an daily reminder to seize the day, I have provided a downloadable wallpaper for your phone! I hope it helps, and I hope this blog has been a blessing and inspiration to you! If you’ve gotten this far into the post, you are a TROOPER! I apologize for being long-winded today! It has just been way too long since I’ve posted! (And, for that I apologize, too!) J