Seize the Day
“Today is God’s purpose for you. Live in the dreams of what God IS doing!” This short quote has been clinging to a single sheet of crinkling paper in my bathroom for the past many months. I wrote these few words down during a pretty difficult semester made up of waiting on God’s timing and pursuing Him through the silence of this waiting. As far as I’ve experienced, waiting on God is not typically a piece of cake. In order to get through it, the waiting game is something we have to work at, and at times, this can seem so pointless.
I experienced some of these feelings after my freshman year of college. I’d graduated high school, picked a good Christian college, and finished a full year of classes. However, for numerous reasons I did not feel that I should return to the school the following year. I enrolled in two colleges — one a community college, the other a well-known, prestigious school that was out of town. Due to some life circumstances, two weeks in, after a lot of prayer and some godly counsel, I dropped all but one class through my community college.
For me this was a huge setback. I had never been a person to want to take a gap year and “decide” what I wanted to do with my life. I am an extremely driven person once I know what I’m striving for, and taking time off, even just a semester, was pretty much freaking me out. I love feeling accomplished, spending my time in a productive manner, and working hard. Having only one class (and that class through a community college) as well as not having a job for that semester, I felt like I was going to be a complete failure.
However, God had a way of changing things up and showing me that the world’s version of success isn’t true success, after all.
Rather than spending that semester stressing over the fact that I wasn't a full-time student or that my job opportunities weren’t working out no matter how much I tried to make them, I decided to spend a semester pursuing God. After all, He was in charge of my life and forever will be. It seemed like a wise idea to spend the extra hours I had free — hours not taken up with homework or a job — to dig that much deeper into my relationship with Him.
Throughout that semester I slowly began to realize that in the end, the world’s version of success (having a full-time job or being in school) isn’t true success. How I accomplish my daily tasks is what will truly define my success.
The Bible says to “do all to the glory of God” so why not take this literally? It is God’s very words to us, after all.
I began to pursue the life God had given me with a passion grown out of the realization of the gift it is. God had given me 19 years to live on earth for His glory, and whether I was in school or sitting in a chair at home, I wanted to use every second pursuing Him and giving Him more of the glory He deserves.
Looking back, I could sum up that semester as me trying to “seize the day” for Jesus Christ. I invested myself in the girls’ lives from my church. I got more involved in leading worship on the weekends at Harvest Bible Chapel. I started making good habits from as simple as eating healthier to working out. I put a much higher priority on spending actual time in the Word of God; not five minutes at the end of the day but actual time trying to understand the inspired words God had preserved for us to read. I started self-educating with some guidance from my dad. I pursued writing even more as my imagination had time to grow.
Over all of these good things though, my mindset and focus in life is what changed the most drastically. Working at continually saturating myself in the presence of God had it’s impact on my life — and definitely a positive one. Prayer became natural as my focus turned from myself towards God. I found myself praying “accidentally,” just as a reflex, and I thank God for this.
But what’s the point of all this? The last thing I want anyone to take away from this is a list of some stuff I did for sixteen quieter weeks of my life. That’s not at all the point of this post, nor was it the point of those sixteen weeks. If anything was accomplished during those weeks it was only due to God graciously working in my life for His glory.
The reason I share a very short part of my life here is to show a brief example of what can happen with the time we have. So far we’ve all pretty much had the same number of years to live, give or take a couple…or maybe twenty depending on who all is reading this! But in the end, we all have sixty seconds to use as we fill every minute, and sixty of those minutes to fill every hour before twenty-four of those cling one to another and a day is filled. We all have the same number of hours in a day. We all have the same starting point: waking up and then putting our feet on the floor. Where we go from there is each of our own decisions.
For me, looking at life as something to fill with a busy schedule is one of the farthest things from my priority list. Yes, we should apply ourselves to what we need to accomplish each day, but checking off a to-do list maybe shouldn’t be how we define our success.
With one hundred percent certainty I can say that pursuing Jesus Christ should be the number one box to fill on our to-do list. We can fill the other boxes on our list through our pursuit of Him as we do all things to the glory of God — even if that is taking a semester off of college.
Through that semester of my life I learned many things, possibly even more than I would have learned if I’d been cramming a full load of class material into my head. But the main thing I gleaned through that experience was this: Pursuing Jesus Christ is one aspect of what the life of following Him looks like. Almost no relationship is derived from a passive person, and it should be no different in our relationship with God.
Life is about a 360 degree circle of pursuit — God pursuing us and then us in return pursuing Him.
Let’s pursue Him through all areas of our lives. Whether that is in the mundane, the structured schedule, or the extraordinary, let’s be the ones who make the most of our lives and count our success by the level it is focused on Jesus Christ.
Cover photo by Josh Rexford