Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Art of Celebration

Our household seems to be in a state of constant competition. We have been amazed at how young our boys are, yet how instinctive competition and comparison seem. It seeps into every area of life. The dinner table, "my strawberry is bigger than yours." The parking lot, "I'm beating you." The car, "no this is my song, not your song!" And the list goes on...

I've found myself thinking back on my life and how it's not much different. I am an only child, but the closest thing I have to a sister is my friend Katie. We were born on the same day, in the same room-- with moms who were best friends. I found myself always competing and comparing, but in a very dangerous way, silently. It started with things like, who had more toys, or got the newest Barbie. To who had the bigger house, who had more friends, who was prettier, who got better grades. I mean it is endless. It seeps into every area of many of our lives.

From the time we are young it seems ingrained in us to envy, to compare, to compete.... rather than to celebrate. Comparison is always a trap because it either causes us to feel better about ourselves and get puffed up (while looking down on how bad others are) or it causes us to feel awful about ourselves and life (while reflecting on how much better other people have it.) Comparison is a nasty trap, that I will be on the look out for and strive to not get caught up in.

Rather than be in a state of constant competition... 
We need to discover the art of celebration.  

That is celebrating others. What does it truly mean to celebrate others achievements, happiness, etc. Is it possible to celebrate when your friend gets that new gadget you've been eyeing, when they get a new car and you're driving a clunker, when they get publicly praised and you feel invisible, when they get promoted and you just lost your job, when they have their fourth child and you can't seem to conceive, when they get their dream home and you just lost yours.

There is never a formula for life (although I always try to make one up to solve my world problems.) So if I took my best shot at it-- I think a good recipe to avoid becoming a burnt-out competitor is a mixture of gratitude, grace, and celebration. Learning to be grateful for what we've been given. The good, the bad, the ugly. All of it. Fixing our eyes on Jesus as the One who holds it all. Living with grace towards others and ourselves. Forgiving faults & failures. And learning the art of celebration. I think it truly is an art. It's a masterpiece and in these times, it's rare and I think very valuable.

"Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them." (Philippians 4:4-5)

Lord, teach me to celebrate others well. To become less centered on myself and put my eyes onto You and to those you've given me to walk this beautiful life out with. I am sorry for the times that I've let envy take up space in my heart. Lead me to grace and gratitude. Clean me out of my constant competitive nature. Help us to create a culture of celebration. Celebrating with each other, for each other. I want to live this life to the fullest with You and with them. Thank You for Your grace and for second (and 55th) chances! 

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