“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison

Nobody loves the feeling of obligation. It’s the dinner party with extended family members you really can’t stand. It’s the work retreat that’s “optional,” but then you’re asked during your annual review why you didn’t attend. I’ve attended plenty of events because I felt obligated.

Obligation is a slimy word, a compulsion powered by internal grudges. What’s the point of doing something if you’re guilt-tripped into it?

Life is an opportunity, not an obligation - writetojoncook Jon Cook

There are times in life where we confuse what seems like obligations with true opportunities. It’s the difference between “I get to…” (opportunity) and “I have to…” (obligation). You woke up today for a reason. God gave you an opportunity to live today, right here, right now, with a purpose.

Life is filled with opportunities.

Mary Augustine once said, “We become happier, much happier, when we realize that life is an opportunity rather than an obligation.” Life begins to change when we change how we see potential “obligations” as fresh opportunities.

“I get to serve others.”

It’s a blessing to be a blessing. I’ve served with countless people in food banks, pregnancy centers, homeless shelters, orphanages, all over the world. It’s never been about me, but I still come away feeling like I was blessed more than I could ever bless others. Serving others changes you.

“I get to work today.”

Over 17.5 million Americans are currently unemployed. (Trading Economics) The fact that you and I get to go to a job, even a job that you might despise, is already an opportunity. You get a paycheck. You get to eat. You get to learn from others with more experience. You get to mentor those who are newer to your industry. Work is one of life’s greatest opportunities.

“I get to walk/talk/hear/read/write/sing today.”

How many people would kill to have all their senses and abilities? The fact that you are fully functional in your body is opportunity enough to use all those functions to share hope and blessings.

“I get to spend time with my family.”

Your family may drive you nuts, but I guarantee you an orphan wouldn’t mind one bit.

“I get to pay a mortgage.”

You may be upside down in your house by $100k. Your house may have all sorts of issues, but you still have a roof over your head. God gives us opportunities, like owning a house, to be a blessing to others.

“I get to be stuck in traffic.”

This means you have a car or you know someone who does who’s blessing you with a ride. This means you also have time to listen to the radio, audio books, music, or talk.

These are just a few of the ways we can rethink “obligations” into opportunities. Today is about seeing opportunity in life. We have a chance to live on purpose. We get to share hope, grace, second chances, and generosity. We get an opportunity to make the most of life today.