Last week was somewhat of a big week for our little family. My son finally lost two teeth that had been hanging on for dear life for days – yet he would not let anyone pull them. He finally summoned the courage to pull on one of the teeth to find out what would happen and lo, and behold, it came out! Delight filled his face.
And his little sister was right there in the midst of it, cheering him on. “Good job, Judah! Way to go! I’m so proud of you, Judah. I’m so proud of you for pulling out your tooth!” Delight shone on her face at her big brother’s accomplishment. In the days that followed, she would often tell people, “Judah pulled out his tooth all by himself!” This great accomplishment was hers to celebrate.
It is a common occurrence in our house to hear Little Sister exclaim “Good job, Judah!” although this often embarrasses Judah. Adilyn just naturally loves to celebrate others. And I’ll be honest, I don’t know where this characteristic came from. Although we try, both her daddy and I don’t tend to be overly expressive people.
This summer I was chatting with a friend who has some exciting things happening in her life. She mentioned that when she would try to share this good news with some of our friends they seemed to quickly jump in with their own good news or brush aside her good news to discuss their own going-ons. It was not only clear that this hurt her feelings, but that she really wanted these friends to join her in the celebrating with joy and enthusiasm!
This has me pondering two things: 1) Are we all a little too preoccupied with our own lives to take time to celebrate another’s “win” and/or 2) Do we subconsciously wonder if by celebrating another’s good news that it negates or takes away from our own joys in life?
Paul says in Romans 12:15
“If some have cause to celebrate, join in the celebration.”
And in 1 Thessalonians 5: 11
“ …support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing.”
I struggle with this. I want to celebrate my friends well. I really do. But I also struggle with feelings of competitiveness and self-doubt making it difficult to feel free to celebrate others… instead, I can feel discouraged aware of how far I have yet to go to achieve what’s on my heart. And, I’ll admit, much of the time I’m too self-absorbed with my own life to notice another’s cause to celebrate.
All this leads me to ponder: Does it cost us something to celebrate another? Isn’t there plenty of joy, laughter, and love to celebrate everyone? Am I viewing my life as living in abundance or lack that I feel my celebration of another nullifies my own achievements or joys?
And what about our kids? There are lots of times when it is easy to see the areas our children need to grow in, but can we see the achievements they are making? The progress? The growth? Can we take the time to celebrate that?
Consider Paul’s relationship to the Corinthians which was marked with struggle, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and eventually reconciliation. In 2 Corinthians 7:4 Paul says to his children in the faith,
“I am completely confident and incredibly proud of you. Even in all this turbulence I am at peace—I am overflowing with joy.”
Even in the struggle, Paul took pride in his children. May we do the same.
Mom and Dad, who can we celebrate today? And what might that look like? Words of affirmation? A trip to the ice cream shop? A hand-written note? Sharing another’s accomplishment on social media? What are some of your ideas?
Sweet Jesus, open our eyes to see our children’s accomplishments, to recognize, to bring attention to and celebrate them well. It is often easy to see where our children need to grow and miss the growth that has already taken place. Help us identify that growth today and take time to celebrate that with our children. And in that may we be encouraged together. Jesus, fill our homes with joy – may they be a safe place where we enjoy one another fully. Amen.