January and February hold two very special days for me here in the Philippines: January 23rd is my three (3) year anniversary in the Philippines, and the last Sunday of February is our church’s 5th year anniversary.
It hasn’t always been an easy journey, but it has been an extremely rewarding one and my work here has not been in vain.
One of the “practices” that has helped me to keep moving forward in my work may come as a surprise: celebration! I love celebrating life and the provision of God. For me that includes my time of service in the Philippines and the maturity and growth of the church I serve at here.
I’m not sure how life is going for you as you read this post, but if you’re anything like me you can easily find yourself feeling stuck, undervalued, and hoping for more. Moreover, we hear Scriptures like “wait upon the Lord and He’ll renew your strength” and “cast your cares on the Lord” – and while those are true, they are sometimes hard to receive in the moment (just being honest). It’s as if the best we can look forward to each day is simply making it through and surviving.
Well, in the inbetween and day-by-day activities, I like to remind myself of all that God’s done for me. I like to practice celebrating life, especially in the mundane and challenging times of life. Maybe you need some of these practices in your life as well. Here are a few ways I stop and celebrate:
#1. Praising the Lord in song.
I’ve started getting my praise on! While I absolutely love powerful worship and praise songs, I’ve really learned to lean into the power of joy and celebration. For me, the words speak into my heart and the situations I face. I enjoy singing out loud and even dancing. It brings so much freedom. One of my favorites of late: Hallelujah for the Cross. You can find it on YouTube here https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zMvLpPDe_cU
#2. Remembering what He’s done.
So much of the time we lose sight of what God has done because we’re so focused on what we need Him to do next. Or, in my case, I’m so focused on the situation I’m facing to remember what God has already done.
I have started speaking to The Lord. I sit down in my room and have a “face-to-face” conversation with Him. We all get caught up in the day to day stresses. It’s easy to forget that God is always with us and wants to hear our hearts. Instead, take a few minutes each day to talk to the Lord. Ask Him to remind you of what He’s done before. Recount the Lord’s faithfulness, and celebrate those good things!
I have a journal and colored pencils/pens next to me as I talk to Him. When I am reminded of what’s He’s done or encouraged by Him, I write it down or draw a picture of it. This helps me express myself and remember. I like to go back through my journals and see the God given reminders written or drawn from my own hand.
#3. Sharing Joy.
No one succeeds in a vacuum, especially when it comes to building a ministry and reaching the nations and generations with the Gospel.
One of the practices I’ve adopted is sharing the joy of the Lord with others. It’s so easy to share hurt feelings, rumors, or bad news. Gossip always spreads like wild fire, and sometimes is more prominent than the sharing of good news.
Well, I’ve decided to flip that upside down by sharing joy instead of sorrow (a majority of the time). This takes effort, since it’s so easy for me to want to spout out my feelings and hardships initially. Now I remind myself to share the joys of my day/week and what God is doing. When I meet my friends or colleagues to catch up on what’s going on, I enjoying sharing the joy of my life and equally enjoy hearing theirs.
Try this one out – whether at work or at home. It results in an incredible shift in the dynamics among your fellow employees or family members.
Looking back, it has truly been an amazing year. Some other highlights:
Finally, I want to thank YOU for your support in time, talent, and resources. I’m so excited about what’s coming next in the ministry here and I can assure you that your investment in this work is reaping incredible returns for the glory of God.
Question: What is one thing you can celebrate starting today? Leave a comment or reply to this message – I’d love to hear from you!