April 13, 2018
“So he replied to the messengers, ‘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 (NIV)
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.
That’s good, right? Well, yes and no.
Because 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.
It had the power to eliminate the sweetness 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 nudge me.
Stop, Suzie. Not one more step until you 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 beautiful. I wrote down celebration after celebration, 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 seep in God's goodness. It turned a task from a grind into a party.
In today’s key passage, 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.
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 you have in front of you. Those goals might be for a job or a dream. 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.
- 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 integrate it all the way through.
I’m still a mean, kinda-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.
Dear Lord, You wired me to dream and work hard, but You also wired me for joy. Help me nurture that side of who I am. When I’m honed in on all the to-do’s of life, slow me down. Remind me that whatever I'm doing for You, I'm doing with You. Thank You for that. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 66:5, “Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!” (NIV)
Suzie Eller’s devotional, Come With Me Devotional: A Yearlong Adventure in Following Jesus, encourages your faith daily, no matter the size of the task.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
When developing your goals, factor in times to celebrate. They may be small or large victories, but they’re just as important as the goal itself.
- Create a celebration reminder on your calendar or phone. When it pops up, don’t ignore it.
- Make celebrations a part of what you are doing, and who you are.
- Tell someone about those sweet victories, but tell your heavenly Father first!
What are you doing to celebrate big and little things? Share your ideas in the comments!
© 2018 by Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.
Originally published Friday, 13 April 2018.