Carpe Diem

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity…” Ephesians 5:15-16

“Carpe Diem!” Latin, meaning: “Seize the day!”

“Watch and Pray …” Matthew 26:41, Mark 14:38 and Luke 21:36

While working as a clerk for a major utility company, it was bought to my attention that the customer service position was the job that everyone wanted. We all desired that job because of the great pay and the overtime hours. It was the one place in the company where anyone could aspire to do well. It was considered a major promotion. But more than the money, this job held a lure for me that I treasured above all, something I never seemed to have enough of – time. That is, time to pursue my interests.

As a working mother of two small children, I missed having time to myself to do anything. The CSRs seemed to have time to pursue other interests like knitting, needlepoint and various puzzles while they talked on the phone. My children took up most of my spare time. To have my own time to do things was a dream. I prayed and said, “Lord, if you give me that job, I’ll use the time to study my bible.” And it was no idle bargain that I struck. What I wanted most, what I desired more than anything, was more time to read my bible. I loved to read. I saw Christians on my job carting their bibles along daily. As a new Christian, I felt a little deprived, like I was missing out. Any job that would allow me to do what I yearned to do was ok in my book.

Soon, an opportunity came along for me to apply for this position. I got the promotion and sure enough, I used my time between calls to read and study my bible, diligently and earnestly. I thought I was doing a good job at keeping my hidden passion under wraps. Then one day a coworker was compelled to ask, “Why are you studying your bible? Are you trying to become a pastor or preacher? Minister? Sunday school teacher?” I shook my head in reply and was momentarily speechless – I’d never thought of what I would do with this knowledge. I wasn’t studying to gain any particular title. I really didn’t have an ambition to be anything bigger than what I was, a wife and mother. But her question made me think. So I answered, “I’m studying because I want to be ready for whatever He has for me. I don’t know what that is – but I want to be ready.”

I was preparing and laying the groundwork with my potential future in mind. When the right opportunity presented itself, I wanted to be able to walk right into it. I wanted to be fully prepared and not have to stop and think, “Yikes! I’m not ready!” I wanted to have knowledge of the bible to draw upon and have attained some level of spiritual maturity so I could do justice to whatever I was called to do. I didn’t know it but God was preparing me, even then. God used that humble beginning to open up many opportunities for me to minister in various capacities. And I was “ready” for every one of them.

I still follow that pattern, to this day. I don’t know what the future may bring but I try to make wise choices and live life so that I can be ready to walk into that opportunity when it becomes available. I’m determined that I don’t want any opportunity to pass me by. I’m constantly laying the foundation for my future endeavors. Even while unemployed, I employed my mind constantly with books on how I could improve myself spiritually, mentally, physically and relationally. I employed myself by constantly working on projects at my church. As I prayed for work, I prepared for a better future, a better me – determined that I would leave that phase in my life better than when I entered.

I remember my high school principal once told a story: A man was on board a sinking ship. He sent the lifeboat on ahead saying, “God will rescue me.” Another boat came along to rescue him and was met with the same reply. Finally, as the ship was going down completely, a helicopter came along and attempted to save him. “No – I’m waiting on God to save me!” The man died and went to heaven, where he asked God, “Why didn’t you save me?” And God answered, “I came THREE times!” God used people to save that man but he was so busy looking for heavenly intervention that he missed his chance to be saved. I think I used to pray like that, in hopes of something manifesting supernaturally. I have since come to the realization that prayer can sometimes open the door but we still need to walk through it.

So when I have a desire now, I pray and watch for the opportunity to materialize. Watch in the biblical sense, means more than see. It’s more active. It means to have an attitude of watchfulness; to be on the alert AND to be in a state of readiness. I take it to mean that you should look for an opportunity but also, be prepared to take full advantage of it. I saw a quote one day that summed it up, nicely: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”(Seneca) I’ve been accused of being lucky or “blessed” and to some extent, that’s true. But it is also due to living in a state of preparation, with the expectation that something good, something big could happen at any time.

I’ve also come to realize the importance of setting goals. There’s just something about stating, in writing or speaking aloud, your goal and how you plan to accomplish it. In recent years, I came across a list that was made before my life changed. It included some possible alternatives to earning an income, such as becoming a realtor and a loan officer – it even included my desire to become a tax preparer! I looked over my list and realized I’d accomplished everything; I was astonished. How? It’s not like I carried my wish list around and checked off things as I did them. The theory and the success behind making lists is that it causes your brain to zero in on opportunities as they become available. Simply put, it makes your brain more watchful and alert.

As I’ve added that to my life, I’ve realized many goals that could have remained only a dream. And I’m looking forward to many more. Even now, I’m preparing and being prepared for the next phase of my life. Some habits that I’ve carried with me for a while, I don’t want to carry into my new life. So I’m working on me – again. I’m determined to change, for the better. And, no, I have no idea what challenges the future will bring. But I will be ready.

Be blessed,


4 Replies to “Carpe Diem”

  1. The fact that you have the presence of mind to strive for something better is the true blessing and God’s supernatural power at work. It is a blessing that is not bestowed upon all. Work hard. Be ready. Expect the impossible!

  2. Good points, Norvella! I feel like blessings and opportunities are available to all – we just need to look for them and put ourselves in a position to take advantage of them. And (in your words) this is how we do it: “Work hard. Be Ready. Expect the impossible!”

  3. Loria, you speak my truth. I myself had to slow down and patiently wait for God to reveal what he has in store for me (and mine). I now refer to myself as a “mid-life career changer.” I don’t know what’s next but I want to be ready so I come into his presence with a spirit of thanksgiving in my heart, my soul, and my mind.

  4. Amen – well said, Annette! We don’t know what’s coming or when. All we can do is “watch and pray,” so that we will be ready to “walk” into that blessing. But I’m betting that some of us will “dance” our way in! Thanks for checking in – be blessed!

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