Learning to Celebrate


“The slight turn of seasons reminds me of last fall, and it strikes me that my life has changed almost beyond recognition since then. In the process of breaking my heart, life or God or something — not that I don’t believe God moves in these ways, I just don’t want to immediately blame Him for a crime He didn’t commit — also delivered me to the life I’ve been wanting. And I can spend all my soul and all my words on the pain of what happened to me, or I can take this glimmering gift and run.

But the only person who decided my life had turned to dust was me. The only person who is still deeply troubled about what I’ve lost, even in the face of what I’ve gained, is me. I would never have wanted it that way, but something bright and beautiful has given to me, and I ‘m in grave danger of losing it, squandering it, becoming a person who cannot find the goodness that’s right in front of her because of the sadness she choses to let obscure it.

Now we’re talking about celebration. Celebration when you think you’re calling the shots? Easy. Celebration when your plan is working? Anyone can do that.

But when you realize the story of your life could be told a thousand different ways, you could tell it over and over as a tragedy, but you choose to call it epic, that’s when you start to learn what celebration is.

When what you see in front of you is so far outside of what you dreamed of, but you have the belief, the boldness, the courage to call it beautiful instead of calling it wrong, that’s celebration.” —Cold Tangerines, Shauna Niequist

This passage quite aptly depicts exactly what God has done in my heart over the last four years. Sometimes, when life feels  and uncertain and horrible and like the sky will never be blue again, it’s easy to mope around  languishing about how our life isn’t turning out how we planned.  I’ve seen so many downtrodden people lately, and I want to say, “wake up! You are wasting your life.” Whether this holiday season brings death or heartbreak or another flurry of holiday parties single — can I challenge you with something?

God does not owe us anything, yet He has given us everything. Everything doesn’t look like a neat bow around our problems and families and hearts; everything looks like eternal life face to face with the Jesus who sacrificed all to be with us. Everything looks like a reason to celebrate every single day.

We can choose courage to call our lives beautiful and rejoice in the Hope that does not disappoint. Will you celebrate with me?

P.S. Cold Tangerines is my new favorite book. It would make a great Christmas gift for anyone on your list;)

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4 Responses to “Learning to Celebrate”
  1. Emily says:

    Great thoughts! Definitely a needed perspective shift. I struggle with taking the time to celebrate, instead of moving on the the next thing.

  2. Steven says:

    Thanks for posting! I definitely needed to read this today. I am a guy, but often find myself in the same conundrum of focusing on the “have and has not’s” instead of what I have been blessed with by God. In the end, ALL that matters is my salvation and helping those that I can along the walk with Jesus Christ as well. I, too often, find myself disappointed at my singleness, under-employment, etc. when I should and could be leading a fulfilling and celebratory life by rejoicing in my salvation, love of God, and most importantly His love for me. Being single is hard, but being single without God is hopeless. I am thankful that I have God as my Savior who can comfort and be a solace in the loneliest times and places. Thanks again for sharing and I enjoy your blog. It is a very helpful perspective on life for me as I can still glean helpful hints and encouragement from your articles even if pointed toward the opposite sex.

  3. Kendall says:

    Cold Tangerines is an amazing book! I read it for the first time a few years ago, and I’m continually coming back to it as a reminder to notice and celebrate the little things along the way. Make sure you read Bittersweet by Shauna as well!

  4. love it Ruthie, my friend told me to read this as I am going through some pain myself, more than I thought I could handle all at one time BUT I have been learning exactly what you are saying, I can sit in my sadness or I can choose to walk forward in joy believing that God has a good plan to prosper me not to harm me to give me hope and a future, to work ALL OF THIS for my good and most importantly HIS GLORY… That He is with me and weeps with me, He is close to the broken hearted… I believe this is TRUE and I choose JOY in the middle of what others would not call joy. I am not exactly sure what you are going through but you may also love my friend Katherine Wolf’s blog, called HOPE HEALS, her story is AMAZING, her heart for God is beautiful! hugs to you…. http://www.hope-heals.com/my-story#content

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