You Only Live Once
Go on the mission trip, You Only Live Once! Go talk to that boy, YOLO. Go ahead and eat that seventh cookie – YOLO. Stay up late and watch that movie – YOLO! Com’on, try it – YOLO! Dance – YOLO! Come on, out run the police, after all, YOLO! Go ahead and take it – YOLO.
I see and hear this little phrase everywhere. Literally everywhere outside of my home. And it intrigues me. Actually, it reminds me a lot of a saying I learned in history class, years ago.
“Eat, sleep, and be merry, for tomorrow, we die.”
I think it was Roman; I haven’t covered the Roman bit of history recently. But I know it’s how they lived their lives.
Which brings up the thought – will history say that we, twenty-first century America – lived by the mantra YOLO? Will it be the correct answer to a multiple choice question on some kid’s history test a thousand years from now? Will it be painted as a good thing or a bad?
Sorry, back to the point.
YOLO has two sides. The common one is selfish. It thinks along the lines of, Well, I’m only going to live once, I only have so much time on this earth – so, WHY NOT!?! Good question. Why not jump out of a plane? Why not talk to that cute boy? Why not just take the cute skirt you don’t have money for? Why not stay out past your curfew? After all, YOLO! Live it up! Make sure your life is full of excitement and stuff YOU like to do!
The other side of YOLO is rarely looked at. And, of course, it’s the side that God invites us to. It’s a much less selfish side, and yet much more thrilling, satisfying side. It’s the side that remembers the One who gave us this life to begin with. It’s the side that is willing to listen to His voice, and His encouragement. It’s the side that is willing to instantly obey – whether or not what He’s inviting you to do makes sense. And that’s the fun part. Because we lowly humans DON’T see the whole picture, often what God asks us to be faithful in, doesn’t make sense. But if we’re willing to live our lives in ways that glorify Him, in ways that are more about Him and less about us…crazy things happen. Like Him asking you to go on a year-long missions trip INSTEAD of doing your junior year of high school. Like Him givng you the chance to take a trip to Ecuador, pretty spur-of-the-moment. Like talking to the guy on the corner and being a bit late to your appointment. And while it all might not make sense, that’s okay. Who wants a life that is completely safe and predictable anyway?
You don’t, otherwise you wouldn’t be using the phrase YOLO! (Woh, your mind just got blown, I know!).
So – go and live YOLO. Go live like there’s no tomorrow. Be a big tipper. Be extra understanding. Take a chance and talk to the cutter, or the boy who acts as if he’s better than everyone else, or the girl who just blends in. Challenge the people around you to live as if they were a reflection of Christ, because they actually ARE. Go do whatever it is He is asking you to do right now – whether it’s being faithful in your current place (job, student, a friendship, a relationship, or something else all together), or talking to a group of people, or jumping out of a plane.
But whatever you do – remember that YOLO only works if it’s done for God and His glory.
[If I were a teenager, I’d probably come up with some fun, short way of saying that – like, YOLO – FoGG! (You Only Live Once – For God’s Glory!). But that might be a bit too Christian-y. I suddenly see it on t-shirts and on those rubber bracelets that were so big five years or so ago. No thank you. We get too comfortable with words on t-shirts and bracelets, and then we forget them. Sorry, not the point.]
Go and live your life in a YOLO sort of way, with God at the dead-center of that life.