I’m a mean, lean, goal-conquering machine. Put a task in front of me, no matter how big, and I’ll hack away at it until it’s done. Can you relate? That’s good, right? Well, yes and no.
Here’s my truth today. While I’m a goal-conquering machine, I haven’t always been that great at celebrating the good taking place along the way. Instead, I knocked it off my list and looked at what was next. Enjoying the journey hasn’t always been my strong suit. It was exhausting.
It had the power to eliminate the sweetness and joy of doing what God had asked me to do, whether in ministry, my home or with people I care about. It kept me focused on where I was going, instead of how far I had been able to go.
One day I was starting a new task, and I felt the Lord cause me to pause. I think the dialogue went something like this....
Stop, Tia. Not one more step until you stop and celebrate. All the little stuff. All the big stuff. All the victories. All the times I showed up when it was hard. So, I did.
And it was awesome. I wrote down celebration after celebration, big and small, like the moment I made a quick phone call to say I cared (because of the prompting of the Holy Spirit), and that person made a turnaround in the choice she was about to make. Writing down all the celebrations allowed me to see and rest in God’s goodness. It turned a task from a grind into a party. It was completely joyful! In the scripture below, John the Baptist sends an urgent message to Jesus. John is Jesus’ biggest encourager, but he thought ministry was going to turn out one way, and it looked nothing like he imagined. Jesus sent a message back to John.
“Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor” Luke 7:22
Jesus asked him to look at it differently by pointing out all the good that was taking place along the way. Sure, the task in front of Jesus was huge. There was a lot left to be done. It may not look like John thought it should, but God was in it.
I don’t know what your current assignment looks like, or what goals and dreams and hopes you have in front of you. Those goals might be really big or not so big. Maybe you’re working hard on a relationship. Perhaps your goals are wrapped around ministry, in a church, in your home or in the community.
There’s a good chance, like me, you’re so focused on the to-do’s that it feels a bit like a grind at times. Here are a few tips God has shown me lately:
• Slow down. Yes. We all can do that.
• Write down all the good things God has done, big or small.
• Thank Him.
• Embrace the moment and celebrate.
As you do, it lifts you out of the grind into gratitude for all the good taking place. I made myself a promise a few years ago. I won’t just celebrate at the end of a task; I’ll celebrate it all the way through.
I’m still a mean, not very lean, goal-setting machine, but I’m always looking for that one moment, that one story, that one good thing that happens along the way. This has changed the way I see my goals or a big job. It has changed the way I feel as I work through my God-sized assignments.
Best of all, it has changed me.