I’m going to come right out and say it: You are worth celebrating.
I get so caught up in alarm clocks and checklists, coffee and rushing out the door, working and writing, cooking and exercising, and small grouping and talking. We do important work. We talk about important things. Matters of faith, growth, vulnerability. We do life and we admit our failures and we try to be better. We keep on reaching and doing and growing.
And it’s good. We should be growing. We were not made to be stagnant.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t do a little celebrating along the way.
Before this blog was born, I confessed the idea to my friend Nicole. I actually didn’t know her very well yet, and it kind of came out off-handedly. I could feel my face flush as soon as I said it, wanting to stuff the words back into my mouth and never say them again. I’d only told Dan about this blog idea, but by definition, he has to support my crazy ideas; he’s used to them by now.
She said, “Hey, that’s a great idea! I’ll be your first follower. I love it when people pursue their passions—you should totally go for it.”
I think I mumbled an awkward “thank you” and ran all the way back to my cubicle.
Fast forward to a few months later and another lunch with Nicole. I told her it was real and I was going to do it; my blog was launching next week. I’d put it off for this and for that, but no more. It was time to pull the trigger.
She whipped out her phone and clicked a few keys. “I’m setting an alarm for next Monday. I’m going to ask you about it if I don’t see your first post!”
And then the next Monday rolled around, and I clicked “publish,” thanks in part to Nicole’s accountability and confidence.
It had been a whirlwind weekend of stress, exhaustion, and injuries. Dan had torn his ACL a few weeks back, and as a strange complication from sitting around too much resting it, he developed pneumonia. We wound up in the emergency room one Sunday around 3:00 a.m., and on Monday afternoon he was still there and we were beat. I was tempted to wait another week.
But I clicked “publish” anyway.
And then on Tuesday when I returned to work, I was greeted by this.
And I just wanted to weep.
The exhaustion of the week coupled with the vulnerability I felt when I put that first blog post out there had created more tension than I’d realized. I was ready to snap, and I don’t doubt that an unkind word or an unintentionally snide remark would have caused a meltdown.
But instead, when I was at my most vulnerable, a friend celebrated me and caused a different kind of meltdown—the kind that melts a weary heart and begins to bind up the tattered pieces.
This is friendship. This is relationship. This is grace.
It’s when we notice someone step out on a limb and we say, “Well done!”
It’s when we see someone’s strengths at play and we say, “You’re exceptional.”
It’s when we notice someone’s glazed-over eyes and hunched shoulders and we say, “When I see you, I see lovely.”
A celebratory word could mean the difference between tears of defeat and tears of joy. Of being pushed to the edge or being pushed to new heights. Of succumbing to fear or facing it. Of depths of despair or top-of-the-world joy.
So let’s look around at our people and seek ways to build up and call out and celebrate one another. We are worth celebrating.