We sat at the stop sign for what seemed to be a very long time, but were probably about five more minutes, waiting until the coast was clear again for a left turn. And, though we reached our destination in plenty of time, my mom’s words were stuck in my head, “You missed your opportunity.” This time, I missed it because I was distracted by my phone. But, because I only live a few minutes away from my parents’ house, there are many times when I am sitting at that intersection, needing to make that left turn, and I miss the chance to make it for another reason, like the fact that I am afraid of making left turns that are not at a light. So, it got me thinking, “How many times do we miss opportunities because we are too preoccupied or too petrified to see our opening?”
These missed opportunities can occur in our dreams and goals, our relationships, and in sharing Christ. I once heard my pastor say, “Whatever breaks your focus becomes your master.” We can be on a path to greatness, but if we allow distractions into our lives, they can cause us to miss opportunities. Distractions come in many forms. Our thoughts can be distracting, which is why the Bible tells us to take our thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). I don’t know about anyone else, but I know that my mind is capable of coming up with all sorts of scenarios that are much worse than anything that would ever really happen. And, when I give in to those thoughts of self-pity, self-doubt, self-centeredness (notice a theme here), it does not take long before I have talked myself out of pursuing a dream or goal. Other people can be distracting. Either we focus on what others are doing and become envious of their successes, rather than being steadfast on the path that God has given us or we become so focused on other people’s issues that we stop pursuing on the dreams God has placed in our hearts. Sometimes, we are too focused on what others are telling us we should do instead of listening to God’s voice alone. The minute we take our eyes off of the end goal because of negative thoughts or negative interactions with people, we miss our opportunity.
Fear is another reason we miss our opportunities. Fear is only as powerful as we allow it to be. I have missed plenty of opportunities because of fear. Looking back, as a child of God, fear has no place in my life because it is not something that God intends for His children to have (2 Timothy 1:7). When I was engaged to my ex-husband, my mom, who was and is much wiser than I am, implored me to reconsider my decision. Rather than listen to her and take that opportunity to take control of my destiny, I let fear rule. I feared that if I did not get married then, I would never get married. At that point in my life, being single forever was a fate worse than death and I could not allow that to happen. Though my marriage was short-lived, I stayed married longer than I should have because I feared what others might say or think about me. I let fear win and I missed the chance to go to law school a year earlier, and to have the entire experience as an unmarried person. I am positive that I missed some opportunities to build friendships and fully engage in my learning experience during that time because of a decision based on fear.
Are there times when you have realized that you missed your opportunity? I recently had someone with whom I wanted to be in a relationship a long time ago make a comment about missing his chance with me. But, it is not just about relationships. How many times do we miss the chance to use our gifts because we are distracted? How many times do we miss the opportunity to pray for someone or tell someone about Christ because we are afraid of being dubbed a “Jesus freak?” We have to pay closer attention to God’s urging and make that turn when the coast is clear; knowing that He is not going to cause us to turn too quickly and get into an accident. However, when we miss the opportunity, He will let us sit and wait and think about it. The good news is that God is a loving God, and whatever He has for you is for you. So, even though I missed my first opportunity, I eventually made the left turn and reached my destination. In the same way, God will allow us to get to the prize that He has for us, if we will stay focused and fearless. Ms. EV