I have spent hours worrying about a whole host of things. Being in the middle of a pandemic has a way of amplifying them to the max!
“When will I get to see my family again?”
“Will our central heating be fixed in time for winter?”
“Should I go to the doctor for this issue?”
“What if the results are bad?”
“Am I doing enough?”
“Am I doing the right things?”
Recently I’ve felt God challenge me that I spent far more time worrying about things going wrong than celebrating when things actually go right. When something bad doesn’t happen (or when something good does) I dismiss it and move on. I miss out on good things because they don’t look 100% how I expected.
Since our central heating broke last winter I’ve spent so much time worrying about it that I’ve missed out on noticing and celebrating the hundreds of other things that make our house such a great place to live!
I missed out on celebrating:
My housemate (4.5 years plus a pandemic and we still think the world of each other!)
The massive south-facing window
The spare room
The central location
Space to have people over for dinner
The wood-burning stove
The dishwasher and so on and so forth.
I think back to the few times I’ve gone rock-climbing, how when you climb a new rock face you’re better off setting up multiple anchors instead of relying on one to catch your weight if you fall. Celebrating what goes right is the deliberate act of placing an anchor. The more anchors you place, the more there are to hold you when things get tough.
When God helped the Israelites to cross the Jordan river, they placed a monument of twelve boulders to remind them that God was there for them when they needed Him. It was a reminder that even when things were tough, God had come through for them in the past and He would do it again, even if they couldn’t see what He was up to in that exact moment.
When my friends began IVF treatment this summer, for every appointment they made sure to have a fun trip planned right after. Their IVF journey is marked with photos, not of doctor’s offices and clinics, but of beaches and rivers and forests and yummy food and smiling faces. They made the decision to celebrate every milestone so that they would be guaranteed to have a collection of happy memories to look back on whether or not the treatment was successful. Placing anchors of celebration.
When a friend needed to have a difficult conversation with her boss this week, we decided to have a treat afterwards to mark her bravery at choosing to show up well. When the conversation went well, we celebrated big with ramen and laughter! We placed an anchor of celebration.
The past few months have been tough. Limited social interaction has made room for insecurities and fears and worries to come to the surface without hindrance. I’ve had the choice to numb myself to what’s happening or to sit and give those thoughts the attention they need. It’s necessary. It’s difficult. I haven’t always done it well. But the payoff is huge.
My anchors of celebration have given me the capacity to be able to face uncertainty head on when I need to. And on the days I don’t have the capacity? I celebrate more not less!
Got out of bed? Celebrate!
Went for a walk? Celebrate!
It’s sunny today? Celebrate!
Ate a vegetable? Celebrate!
None of us got covid this week? Celebrate!
Got to meet a friend face to face? Celebrate!
Decluttered my wardrobe? Celebrate!
Placing anchors of celebration is an act of cheerful defiance in a world that seems pretty dark right now.
What’s gone right this week that you can use to place an anchor of celebration? Notice it, point it out to someone else, and celebrate it together with a cup of tea, ice-cream, a happy dance, or an elbow high five!
Writing prompt from Fiona Mae’s @journalingjourneys September writing prompt week 3:
“One thing that helps you get through tough times”