What if you throw a party and no one comes? Is it still a celebration?
As I write these words, it is the morning of my book launch. A Story Worth Telling has been nearly two years in the making — more than that if you count the living-of-the-story part.
And we have worked hard to prepare for it. There have been a lot of long nights and early mornings and full weekends and questions from my youngest son like, “Daddy, when are you going to stop working?”
This morning I’m not scouring the Internet for any mention of the book. I’m not nervously reading reviews. I’m not watching sales numbers.
I’m pausing to reflect on just how good God is and why I need to celebrate more.
The Tyranny of the Next
In American culture, we seem enslaved by what I call The Tyranny of the Next. What we have now is never enough. What’s coming next is what captivates our hearts. New necessarily means better. New car. New job. New definition of marriage. Different is cool. Normal? Not so much.
And so we judge our success not by what we have done but by what we could do, are about to do, or someday hope to do. It leaves us feeling as if we are never enough.
There’s an adage in golf: you’re only as good as your next shot. But that means your never really any good at all right now. Because next never actually arrives. Annie had it right: tomorrow is always a day away.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s a place for looking ahead to what’s next and embracing the faith required to pursue it. Here’s how I describe the events from which the book was born in the book itself:
I feel as if I am being asked to sit in the middle of a road at the bottom of a hill with steep mountains on either side. As I look up, there is an eighteen-wheel tractor-trailer barreling down the hill toward me. It has no brakes. There is no way for it to avoid hitting me, and I could never outrun it. There is nothing I can do but sit in the middle of the road and wait.
But God has handed me paper and pen; He has asked me to write. And he has promised that if I will ignore the truck barreling toward me and keep creating for His purposes, then He will save me from what seems to me to be certain destruction. — A Story Worth Telling
Almost two years after that harrowing time, the book is finally out there.
But on the day before the release, my focus was on maximizing the launch of the book. I had a long list of things to do. My awesome team had a long list of things to do. And then it hit me: if one of my kids were publishing a book, I’d be throwing a party to celebrate their success.
So why am I so intent on not celebrating God’s goodness?
I pushed pause last night and had a small book-release party with the family. Ok, truth be told, we just ordered out for Chinese food and pizza. But it still felt good to intentionally celebrate the moment before pressing forward.
Why We Really Should Celebrate More
- Celebration focuses on the positive. We get enough negativity throughout the day. When we celebrate success, we teach ourselves that winning is possible. We drive that nasty four-letter word — can’t — from our vocabulary. We start dropping “if only…” and transition to “what if….”
- Celebration fosters community. When we throw a party, we invite community to take place. When we gather together with grateful hearts we form emotional bonds and deeper ties that we’ll need when our faith gets tested next time. And it will get tested. So we’d be wise to invest in our support network.
- Celebration increases our faith. When we celebrate God’s grace and goodness toward us, we’re more eager to trust Him for the next step in our journey. When we celebrate success, we officially turn “I think we can” into ” I knew we could!”
- Celebration confirms our faith. Taking time to point out God’s faithfulness gives us trail markers, benchmarks we can use to measure our progress on this journey to live an authentic life. The next time we’re tempted to think we’re getting nowhere, we can look back and recall that we did, in fact, make some progress.
- Celebration gives us valuable perspective. When we’re in the trenches of everyday life, we don’t see the big picture of our eternal story. By pausing for reflection — and giving ourselves permission to believe once again — we reacquire a fresh outlook. As I ask in the book, what part of your story will be worth telling in eternity when no one cares about your resume?
Question: Do you find it difficult to celebrate success as I do? What other benefits do we get from celebrating victories in life? Share your thoughts by clicking here.