Taking time to Celebrate

It is official: I am finished with my New Staff Training and Development, and have moved from new staff to senior staff! One of the final projects in the last module is to take some specific time to celebrate all that God has done in and through my life in the past 2-ish years. This comes from John Ortberg’s book The Life You’ve Always Wanted, and one statement I found interesting is this:

“People who want to pursue joy especially need to practice the discipline of celebration.”

There is so much in that one little statement. First, joy is a pursuit – it is not natural. It is my choice to run after joy when my flesh wants to wallow in self-pity and pain or even boast in pride and self-glorification. Second, celebration is a discipline in much the same way that fasting, meditation and prayer function. It takes concentrated effort, and the focus is on rejoicing over what God has done, big or small and knowing Him more deeply. Third, joy is hard to come by if you are not taking time to celebrate. Celebration leads to a deep joy. As we see God at work and rejoice in it, our hearts are filled with a joy that comes from Him alone. Without celebration joy cannot run very deep, and I would say that when it gets tested, will be found wanting.

I know I often think of celebration as unplanned, raucous, loud – not as a discipline. It often seems to be just the natural consequence of something good that occurs. But, I am learning that it is also so much more than that. It is celebrating the small things when the big things all seem to be going wrong. It is celebrating consistently so that you begin to see “our wonderful God who has given us such wonderful gifts” at work in your life all the time.

Can you see it? What do you need to celebrate today in your life? Do you need to take a break from the world and spend some time celebrating?

Here is the beginning of my celebration list from all God has done in and through me over the past two years as I have been in my training phase:

  • Working in the regional office, and being on the Conferences and Events Team
  • Successful conferences
  • Discipling Kayla
  • Making my apartment “home”
  • Learning about holiness and sanctification
  • Serving with my team of ministry partners
  • Working with Athletes in Action at Butler
  • Taking steps of faith to work with AIA – out of my comfort zone! 🙂
  • Serving the families by running childcare so they can enjoy the conference fully
  • Re-structuring childcare
  • Developing the childcare curriculum
  • Sharing my faith
  • Getting to know students
  • Summer project in Chicago
  • Getting involved with teaching Sunday School at church in the 4 year old room
  • Being plugged in to a small group
  • Continuing to trust the Lord with my future

Praise the Lord for all He has done! He is Great, and Greatly to be Praised! Here’s to more years of seeing Him at work and celebrating.

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