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YOLO: encouraging taking risks


Maybe you’ve heard the over-used phrase “you only live once.” The phrase that encourages taking risks.

Back in 2010, I spent the year abroad in Argentina studying Spanish. It was one of the best years of my life. We had this phrase

when in Argentina…

It was our mantra. If there was any question as to if we should do something, that’s what our answer always was. We understood that we were in a rare situation. We were spending the year abroad and we had to do as much as possible to live in the environment, the culture. We understood we were no longer in America and there were opportunities we would never experience again. So we lived. We traveled to the surrounding countries by various means of transportation. We ate food that we couldn’t pronounce or really knew what was in it. But we LIVED.

Sure, there were risks–I mean we were in a foreign country, but we really lived. Did I mention the fun we had?

It’s been a few years since I got back from my time abroad. As I look back on the months that now add up to the past couple years, I wonder how much I’ve lived. How many risks I’ve actually taken.

Have I just been playing it safe?

So then I ask myself, “What kind of risks am I willing to take?”

Taking risks means stepping out of your comfort zone. I’ve seen times in my life where I’ve taken huge steps, where others might not have necessarily agreed or understood why I chose what I did, but I knew it needed to be done. I took a risk and lived with the outcome. Good or bad.

Neale Donald Walsch said it best, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” 


I want to live. I mean truly live. And we can. I can.

God calls us out of our comfort zones. I remember the story of Abraham how he was just enjoying life with his family in his comfort zone. He was with all the people he loved and knew the land. It was comfortable. But then God had this crazy idea and told him to leave that place, for some place unfamiliar. And he went.

Being a follower of Christ is risky. I’m sure everyone has experienced some aspect of that. I know I’ve always had an idea as to how my life would look like after graduation (more specifically now), but God has a different plan. There’s a lot of unknowns in my life right now and that’s hard to accept sometimes. But I know God has something awesome planned.

And it’s risky because I don’t have control. Maybe this is what God is really trying to teach me. 

And I’m learning to trust God even more than I thought I could.

The funny thing is, that I’m living. I’m doing things I never imagined I would be doing. Meeting people I couldn’t even imagine becoming friends with. Experiencing life. Enjoying the moments that I have, because I’m never going to experience something like this again.

I don’t have to be in another country to live. Neither do you. Really what it is, is reframing your perspective.

So am I a risk taker? You bet. And I’m thinking I need to take more risks.

Now my question to you is: Are you truly living? If not, what risks are you willing to take?

Just take a second. Close your eyes and imagine what could happen if you took, even one risk.

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