Let's Celebrate!

I’ll be honest, I am always looking for a reason to celebrate!! Whether it’s a holiday, someone’s birthday, a big accomplishment, or even celebrating the fact that I finished a long week — I just want a reason to see the good around me and experience the joy that comes with any type of celebration. We all know that it's easy to be thankful for the good moments and good things that happen to us, and it sure as heck makes it easier to celebrate the good times! And that's a great thing, we absolutely should do that because it keeps us connected to God and connected to the moments of great joy and victory. But, we also know that it’s much harder to look for those good things when it feels like everything is wrong and the trials of life are weighing on us. However, even when it’s hard and it seems like nothing is going your way, you still have a reason to celebrate and lean into thankfulness, you just have to know how to look at the things around you!

A while ago I began unpacking some things in my personal life with God. I was pursuing healing and I asked Him for help. When I started I had no idea what I was about to step into, and more importantly that most of what I knew was about to be flipped upside down and stripped away. When I was in the middle of it I couldn't understand why it felt like everything was getting worse, yet my people kept telling me how much I was healing. It didn’t make sense because all I was focused on was how far I still had to go, and how much I had just lost. But when I zoomed out my focus, I actually noticed how far I had walked, how much I had matured, and how much I would eventually gain. And that was something worth celebrating! Even though nothing about my circumstance had changed and I still had some really hard work I would have to do, I was overcome with gratitude at how much God was transforming within me.
 
The key here is to always celebrate how far you have come, even if you know you still have a long way to go. When you only look at the final destination of where you want to be your mindset will always one be one of lack. You will only see the distance and continue to feel as if you are falling short and will never make it. But when you look back and recognize that baby steps are your ultimate triumph, you will become overcome with joy and thankfulness for how much you have to celebrate! Life becomes a constant celebration because each day you see the victories within every step. Romans 12:2 tells us “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”  So instead of waiting to be completely finished with something, renew your mindset and start capitalizing on every opportunity to dance and laugh and express thanks for any movement forward. As you do this, you begin fueling your excitement with thankfulness for how far you've come and life becomes a lot less empty and a lot more enjoyable.

So practically here are a few ways you can begin renewing your mindset to one of celebration and thankfulness in every season.
  • First, treat yourself for the little things! If you have a hard conversation, go out and treat yourself for standing up and using your voice. If you went to counseling, treat yourself for taking steps in the right direction and being brave. If you asked someone for help, treat yourself for recognizing that it's okay to not have it all together all the time and for being vulnerable. If you finish a long week of exams, treat yourself for working hard. It’s important to recognize when you are doing the work, even if it’s only the beginning, you are still doing it and that takes bravery and motivation - recognize these qualities in yourself. 
  • List out 3 things that made you smile or that you can be thankful for each day. This allows your mind to be alert and looking for the good, even if it was a hard day. On some of my worst days, a random text from a friend or a cute dog outside my house can still make me smile. And it’s important to remember silly things like that so we aren’t overcome by our hardships.
  • Tell a friend or your discipler when you know that you have done something that means you are taking steps forward. Let them be your hype girl/guy!!! This allows you to not only acknowledge these victories for yourself, but also allows someone else to acknowledge them and celebrate with you and lift you up. In my experience, it helps affirm me that even if I am not where I want to be yet, doing that one thing was a really big deal and I can be proud of myself and thankful for where I am in that moment. 
  • Tell your friends that you are thankful for them and why. This not only makes them feel appreciated and seen, but it also reminds you that even if life is hard you still have people and things around you that are fighting for you.
  • Ask God to show you how He has been transforming you through your individual process. This one is huge! When we are stuck in our own healing process it can be really hard to initially see what all God is doing in us. But God loves to talk to us! So if you ask Him, He will give you something to hold on to, and that can shift everything for you.

While we often get bogged down by all the brokenness within humanity, we can also find so many reasons to celebrate and be thankful every day. If nothing else, we get to celebrate that we have access to a living hope and that God is constantly seeking us out and fighting for us to stand in victory and freedom from all of this brokenness. 1 Peter 1:3-4 says, “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” Hope is always alive because we know that everything God has promised us is being kept safe in heaven. And Matthew 5:12 says, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” So even if things here in this present time seem like they aren’t going anywhere or we aren’t seeing the fruit of the labor yet, we can remember these pieces of scripture and celebrate all that is waiting for us in heaven as we remain faithful to abiding in Jesus. And even when the world doesn’t turn out the way we want it to, we still have hope for eternity with God. Hope is what allows us to always see the good and go after it even in the midst of all of the bad. If you keep hoping, you can keep celebrating, and how amazing does a lifetime of celebration sound?!?

Author | Tori Kramer

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