YOLO, a popular acronym, is frequently seen in text messages, on Facebook and other places where people are describing some new event or daring action they are about to embark on or just finished. YOLO is the acronym for “You Only Live Once.” It represents the contemporary version of “Carpe Diem,” a Latin aphorism for Seize the Day. The message is simple. Do not take life for granted.


The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) chose YOLO to be on its 2012 short list for their Word of the Year—along with trendy words like “Super Pac,” “Superstorm” and “Eurogedden.” I think OED accurately captured the way YOLO is typically inserted into conversations, “Typically used as rationale or endorsement for impulsive and irresponsible behavior.”

I don’t endorse impulsive and irresponsible behavior. As one who has spent the last 34 years in the helping profession as a pastor and police chaplain, I’ve invested a lot of hours listening to the horrendous consequences resulting from reckless actions and thoughtless decisions. I don’t recommend YOLO as an attitude to live life from if we use the definition of OED.

However, I would love to see all of us remember YOLO in the sense that we must not take life for granted. It’s vital that we seize the moment. Make sure every day, every hour counts. Live for more than success, live for significance.


Here’s what helps me and maybe it will help you too!

Know Your Identity You are more than a 10-digit number in a crowded world. You are more than what your parents and teachers called you. You are a masterpiece of God. Really, you are! Ephesians 2:10 describes it this way, “For we are God’s masterpiece…” The original Greek language uses the word for poem. You are a poem of God. You were meant to express God’s heart in a unique and special way to the people around you.

Know Your PurposeGod wants you to understand your mission and purpose in life. My mission/purpose statement is to “Inspire transformissional living in others.” Through an intentional process of exploration, I’ve learned how my natural talents, spiritual gifts, personality, education, experience and my passion all intersect to accomplish my purpose of inspiring others to be constantly transformed by God’s love and grace as they live on mission.

YOLO3Live with Intentionality I’ve learned that default-mode living normally leads to coasting. You start taking life for granted. You don’t invest your time, talent and treasures with intentionality. And soon, life marches on and you have oodles of regrets—relationships have deteriorated, you have a boatload of “what ifs” and you might have experienced success but little significance. Intentional planning, learning, growing, giving, serving and loving create a life of fulfilling relationships and meaning.

So, remember YOLO—You Live Only Once. Don’t take life for granted. Seize the moment. Make today count!


QUESTION: What have I missed? Please comment below.


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