Today we celebrate my son’s birthday. I remember well the day he was born—12:26 a.m. on a frosty January morning. I was so thankful to hold him, count fingers and toes, and see a tiny hint of smile as we talked to him. He’s 28 now, and the daddy of an almost 11-month-old. Watching him with his little girl is a flashback and a new adventure at the same time. Each time I see him, I’m as joyful as the first time I held him in my arms.
Most of us remember the significant celebrations in life—holidays, weddings, births, anniversaries, graduations, and other milestones, which are often tied to the calendar. However, sometimes we forget to celebrate the little things that happen along the way.
Here are some things to be on the lookout for and celebrate:
Celebrate firsts. As I watch my grandchildren experience firsts, I’m reminded of my daughter and son at their ages and the joy of firsts—first time to sleep through the night, first steps, first smiles, first words. But firsts don’t stop once we’re beyond childhood. For you, a first to be celebrated may be when you respond in a different manner when frustration or anger flare, or the first time you successfully employ self-discipline to resist a negative activity or start something you know will be beneficial. Look for firsts, even if they seem insignificant to others, and celebrate them.
Celebrate completions. As a writer, I enjoy celebrating the completion of a project. Although I may not actually type the words “the end,” I rejoice in one final read-through and the satisfaction of a job well done. Successfully finishing a task or achieving a goal deserves celebration.
Celebrate progress. What about those times when you just can’t quite seem to reach the finish line? Instead of feeling defeated, look at what you have accomplished thus far. Celebrate where you are while mapping out a plan to move head.
Celebrate change. This may prove difficult for those who don’t embrace change, but something new and different encourages forward motion. Examine why you are holding on to the familiar. Is fear involved? If so, confront it. Focus on the positives change brings and anticipate great things ahead.
Celebrate routine. Routine is something you often view as mundane and boring, until a life event intercedes and what is normal for you vanishes. When a sudden health crisis, yours or a loved one’s, changes the landscape of your days, you long for the familiarity of the standard routine. When someone you love dies, you long for and cherish the time you spent together doing nothing other than routine chores or other daily endeavors. Learn to enjoy and celebrate your normal daily patterns.
Celebrate inspiration. Think about what inspires you. Is it nature, music, art? For me, one of my greatest sources of inspiration is quiet time spent alone with God. In those moments, I am most aware of blessings and I can work through fears. New ideas blossom and bloom like a well-watered and fertilized flower. Inspiration prompts creativity and propels me forward to attempt things I might have been hesitant to without God-given courage.
Start today to notice, appreciate, and celebrate some of the unexpected blessings in life.
“Shout your praises to God, everybody! Let loose and sing! Strike up the Band!” (Psalm 98:4 MSG)