Just as we celebrate a toddler who is making progress learning to walk, we are to celebrate our own progress. With toddlers, we focus on what they are doing well, instead of dwelling on what they are not doing. The same strategy will work well in learning to step into new areas of growth in our lives. Our gifts will get stronger.
Why don’t we normally celebrate progress?
1. We might believe that if we don’t use guilt and condemnation to motivate ourselves, we might think we are okay and stop working on things. However, these motivation tools will not have a lasting effect.
2. We may fear that celebration would only lead to pride. Pride doesn’t mean that you don’t think you’re great; it means that you think you are greater than other people. But we all need to think we’re great and rise and shine for our light has come.
3. We also might believe God is not celebrating what we are doing, so why should we? (Galatians 5) God is celebrating that Jesus died and took our place. Just as God celebrated Jesus on earth, He is celebrating those who believe in Jesus right now.
Here are five momentous reasons for celebrating progress in your life:
1. It opens your eyes to where grace is manifesting in your life. (Philippians 1:6) Paul is confident that He who has begun a good work in you, will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. I don’t have faith in my ability perform well, I have faith in God’s ability to complete what He started in me and through me.
2. It helps silence the accuser’s voice of condemnation toward you. (Revelation 12:10; Romans 8:1) The accuser is cast down, and in Jesus, there is no more condemnation. One of the greatest weapons the enemy has is to tell you who you are not. As we celebrate progress in who we are, we silence the enemy.
3. It creates momentum in your life and something to build on for the future. (Philippians 3:12-14) When David is fighting Goliath, he rehearsed his victories and celebrated his progress – through this, he gained momentum in his life for the battle that he was facing at that moment. We can celebrate simple things like – Wow! I didn’t get angry as quickly this week at my co-worker. Try it, and you’ll start to notice negative cycles being broken and positive growth trajectories created.
4. It increases the joy of the Lord in your life. (Nehemiah 8:10; Proverbs 17:22) As we see the joy of grandparents watching toddlers learn to walk, we can realize the atmosphere of encouragement in which we are designed to thrive. We need strength in the middle of the journey, not at the end. Try encouraging yourself in the middle of the journey in your 2018 goals, and see strength build through joy.
5. It will increase your celebration of others. (Hebrews 10:24) Love your neighbor as you love yourself. If we celebrate our own progress, we will celebrate the progress of others. We will notice and celebrate the good things that they are doing. We are called to speak life and encourage others.
Try starting 2018 off by having a conversation with God about all of the things He is celebrating you for in 2017. You’ll be surprised how long your list is, and how good you feel about yourself and your relationship with the Lord afterward!