“The only time you have no opportunities is when you decide to stop taking them.” (Danny Wallace)
Last week, I shared that my word of the year for 2022 is “embrace” and I shared a few thoughts on one aspect of that – embracing God and knowing his embrace.
Another aspect of “embrace” that comes to mind as I reflect on it at the start of the year is embracing life and embracing opportunities.
I think this is the first time I have watched a film connected with my word of the year, but this week I watched the film “Yes Man.” It stars Jim Carrey as Carl Allen, a bank loan officer who has recently been divorced and who, as a result, has become negative and cynical, saying no to every opportunity that comes his way, both in his work and in his social life. He attends a motivational seminar that encourages people to say yes, and he makes a promise to say yes to every opportunity that comes his way.
As you can imagine, the results are interesting – funny, unexpected, not always entirely positive – but the experiment does open Carl up to embracing life and it eventually restores some joy.
Now, to be clear, I’m not planning to say yes to every opportunity that comes my way this year, but I do want to be more open to embracing things. I don’t want to say no out of fear or because of uncertainty. I want to be more open to the unexpected. When I look back, some of the best decisions I have made, that have led to the most life and growth, have been when I embraced opportunities despite the uncertainty – such as moving to a new city or agreeing to be part of a new church plant.
As I looked at Bible verses linked with the word “embrace,” another theme that came up was embracing wisdom.
“Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.” (Proverbs 3:18 NLT)
“If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honor you.” (Proverbs 4:8 NLT)
This brings it back to embracing God. It’s not about saying yes to every opportunity, but about seeking God and being willing to step out where he is leading.
And finally for today, another aspect of the word which has stood out to me is embracing the moment.
If the last couple of years have taught us anything, it is surely that the future is not guaranteed. In early 2020 we could never have imagined that our carefully-planned lives would be disrupted as they were, that activities that seemed completely normal would be impossible. On a personal level, in 2021, I’ve seen several situations where people’s lives have changed dramatically.
One response would be to get caught up in fear about what the future could hold, but as Jesus says:
“Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:34 NLT)
I think a better response is to embrace the moment – to treasure times with family and friends, to make the most of them, and to try to truly engage in the moment rather than getting distracted by other things.
Musical inspiration for today’s post is coming from “The Best Of Times,” a song from the musical “La Cage Aux Folles” which I think sums it up well:
“The best of times is now. What’s left of summer but a faded rose?
The best of times is now. As for tomorrow, well, who knows?
So hold this moment fast, and live and love as hard as you know how,
And make this moment last, because the best of times is now.”