The end of 2013 found me right in the middle of glass half empty syndrome. As a director of a non-profit in South Africa, all I could see at the end of a very full and hard year was where we weren’t as a ministry. When that’s all that is on your horizon, it makes everything seem overwhelming. It robs you of thankfulness and seeing God’s work in our lives. My glass half empty was resting in a stagnant sea of stress and unthankfulness, and it was teetering on dangerous. When I cried out to God to come and help me, you know what He said? “Celebrate.” The only way to climb out of it was to celebrate what He had done by naming it.
2014 has been all about celebrating what God has done and is doing. Thank goodness, because it hasn’t proved to be any easier than the previous year. Celebrating God’s work in our lives is a gamer changer, because you know what it does? It changes our perspective. We go from “God, where are you in the midst of all this?” to “Wow, God, You are doing an amazing work in the midst of all this.” This shift in perspective has been huge for me and catapulted me in teaching my kids to continually celebrate God’s work in our lives.
Through the continual act of celebrating, I’ve seen how it helps us see more clearly who God is and that He is right there with us. I recently read the book of Job. Out of 42 chapters, the first 37 are all about the terrible things that happen to Job and his immense despair over everything going wrong in his life. God sent people to encourage Job, but he continued in his state of despair. Then, God spent four chapters of the book saying to Job, “This is who I am.” I love Job’s response in the final chapter. He says in Job 42:1-6,
“Then Job answered the Lord and said,
“I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”
‘Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.’
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.”
I think especially through the difficulties in life, we need to look for the celebrations. They are there, because God loves us and He will never leave us or forsake us as it says in Deuteronomy 31:6.
Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NASB
God did an interesting thing after Job’s confession, He restored Job’s fortunes twofold. He brought Job’s family and friends around him, and they ate bread together, they comforted him, and they brought gold and rings to him. God blessed the latter of his years more than the former and it says that, in all the land, there were no women more fair than Job’s daughters.
That was all a bonus. The true fortune lay in Job’s heart change, the shift in his perspective. In our lives, we’re going to have times when it’s easy to celebrate, and we’re going to have times when difficulty clouds the lens with which we view circumstances. Teaching our kids to always look for the celebration is tremendous to their spiritual growth and their perspective on life.
The end of the year is a fantastic time to sit as a family and reflect on the good things God did in your lives that year. It’s also a great time to commit to doing it regularly the following year. A great way to introduce this practice is to start reading Every Day A Blessing as your daily devotional. It will help kids to recognize even the smallest of daily blessings that God gives us.
Let’s start now! Please share one celebration God did in your life this year. Then, go and share it with your kids and ask them to name one thing He did!