The phrase ‘you only live once’, otherwise referred to as YOLO is one that most of us have come across. In the university environment I’m in, I hear this phrase thrown around left, right and centre, as a justification of bad actions. It seems to have been imprinted on people that this life is all that you get, so do what you want with it, regardless of anyone else or the consequences.
Shows like Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents do a great job of illustrating the dangers of this YOLO mentality. The preferred holiday option for an 18-year-old is a week somewhere hot, with ridiculous amounts of booze and some dodgy group tattoos. It’s encouraged that you sleep with as many people as you can, because the opportunity will never be this easy again. It’s comical for you to be as irresponsible as you can. But what sort of a generation is being raised up in the middle of all of this?
I know some of this is an over-generalisation, but in the environment I live in this behaviour is displayed by a worrying number of people. They live selfishly because they can. They apologise for nothing and regret nothing, because life is too short. And saddest of all, they’ll never know their full worth. Most seem to be so caught up in being reckless and settling for what they think they deserve that they’re missing the real joys in life. They’re spending their time at university dressing up in questionable outfits, drinking until they can’t remember where they are and ensuring that they scrape the 40 per cent mark to pass. And all because it has been drummed into them that life is all about ‘me’ and I only get one chance, so I might as well do what I want.
As a Christian who has most definitely struggled with these things, I believe that this one life on earth needs to be used for great things, not momentary satisfaction. The kind of behaviour that follows trends like YOLO is so damaging, because it stops us knowing, and therefore living to our full worth. We’re encouraged to believe the idea that we are the same as everyone else; we’ve been dropped into a life with no real purpose; we are living to make our own excitement.
This is wrong.
People need to be shown that the real fun in life comes when you find your purpose and you live like every day matters, because it does. And we Christians need to be swimming against this tide, to show the people we meet that we are living for something much more than ourselves.
You and I are worth far more than a cheap, drunken night, and a kiss in a kebab shop with a stranger. We have been created by a God who loves us. There is a calling on each of our lives that only we can do justice to, and by no means are any of us accidents. This life on earth was given to us by God to be used for His glory. He won salvation and an eternal life for us on the cross, so we shouldn’t be working for our own desires, but those of our glorious, selfless maker.
Don’t believe the lie that life is a game to be wrung out for all it’s worth. We are made for much more than we realise.
(Image via SXC)