This is a great question, especially as we come to the end of the year. When we are in the midst of an addiction or a bad situation, it is undoubtably hard at times to celebrate. Often, there are things to celebrate, but there are so many things that still need to be overcome that we tend to focus on what we still lack, whatever that may be.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tell us to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
God absolutely cares about our circumstances, but He cares more about who we ARE than what we DO. That’s why He tells us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5). Giving thanks takes practice, and rejoicing is even harder, but as you follow the will of your Creator by giving thanks in all circumstances, who you are begins to shift and you become a little more like Him.
When I used to think about rejoicing, I thought it was a feeling. But we’re also encouraged to “rejoice in our sufferings” (Romans 5), so that means rejoicing is more than a feeling.
It’s a choice.
Yes, it’s a feeling as well, but we don’t have to wait until we feel like it to rejoice or to praise our God for everything He’s done already.
In the church world, the word “worship” usually means something like singing or bowing down to God, but it’s so much more than that! We can also worship by living within the design God intended for us, and this includes celebrating, being thankful, having a cookout, and whatever else we do as His image-bearers.
I have a lot to overcome, and this can distract me from being grateful for the freedoms I’ve already obtained. There will always be more that needs done, but if we are patiently moving forward, through grace, we will always have freedoms to celebrate.
In what areas have you experienced freedom? Are you free from struggling on your own? Rejoice. Are you free from keeping everything a secret? Rejoice. Are you free from wondering if you are the only one? Rejoice. Do you belong to Jesus? Rejoice! He makes all things new.
Make a list of everything you are thankful for, even if all you can think of is that God loves you. Be creative. Then celebrate however quietly or loudly you wish. Pray in a quiet room or throw a party to celebrate whatever you are thankful for. It’s your choice, but rejoice! You are worth much more than what you’ve done or seen.