Celebration

Celebration is an integral part of life and a lifestyle that I am living by. Whenever we talk about celebration, the first thought a Malaysian would typically have is MAKAN (food). We take our food seriously and to mark any celebration, the food plays a very important role. More important than the food is the reason of the celebration.

We celebrate to mark an important milestone, an important event, successes or progresses we made in life. In my coaching training, my coach taught me to apply celebration as part of the principle of a coaching session. I found it really essential as part of a healthy and connected lifestyle. Last night I was privileged to be reminded of the importance of celebration based on St. Paul’s love poetry (1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 8) and that has left me thinking about my own lifestyle of celebration. Have I been celebrating God’s goodness as He deserves?

When I put celebration in the right perspective, I found that it is way to grow in humility. This is how it made sense to me. Through my countless conversation with people I encountered (or I coached), it is common to hear this from me; “Have you celebrated your progress?” or “How are you going to celebrate this?”. It is also common for me to encounter a startled look, especially if the person has just started to talk to me or just started their journey with me. Those priceless responses were my opportunity to share what I believe celebration is all about.

For some of us, celebration can only happen if a big goal has been achieved and yes that is totally justified and necessary. Here I am talking about celebrating progresses along the way, even the smallest progress. I believe celebration is the fuel that propel us towards our goal. Very often I see people getting discouraged because they did not celebrate their progress. For them some progress is just way too insignificant. Think about this; without those seemingly insignificant progresses, can we actually make it to our goal? It is precisely those small steps that brought us to our goal.

You may wonder now, how can celebration be a way to grow in humility? So, this has been my story. The right perspective of celebration for me lies in the WHO. Who am I actually celebrating? Every progress we made is by God’s grace. From my experience, being able to acknowledge that God is the One who made it possible for me to progress in my journey brought me to a place of celebration. Celebrating the One who made it possible for me. When my focus is celebrating God, I am humbled because the focus of celebration is not me, rather it is Him who made me.

Through my journey of having coaching conversations, I also get these question often; “What do you mean by celebration? How do I do that? Must I eat all the time to celebrate? I encouraged people to celebrate their progresses by doing something they enjoy. For example; if you enjoy reading a book by the beach; then set aside some time to do that as a form of celebration. If you like eating, it would be so easy to celebrate though eating is not the best celebration if you are celebrating your progress in weight loss. If you like watching a movie; that would be a great form of celebration. And if you are a people person like me, celebrating with people who cares would be such an occasion of joy. To mark milestones, I would encourage we do something really significant like skydiving to mark your 30th birthday. Or something crazier like leaving your secular job to serve God full time (ONLY recommended if that is what God wants of you). Hence, it is also important to choose your form of celebration wisely.

I am indeed very blessed to be influenced by people who live a lifestyle of celebration from the beginning of my faith journey. These saints-in-the-making taught me the value of living life to the fullest – a life in humility that always acknowledge God as the provider of everything in my life, including the seemingly insignificant progresses I made in my life.

Dear friends, let us celebrate the goodness of the Lord in our lives. He is our reason of celebration and He is certainly worth celebrating as you are worth celebrating. I pray that celebration becomes the fuel for your progress in life and know that your being are worth celebrating.

With lots of love,

Irene

 

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Let COMPASSION be your DEFAULT

I almost fell off the chair hearing that piece of simple, wise, profound and extremely hard to live by advice. It is indeed very simple and the more I journey in life, the more I realize the simplest things takes the most practice and effort. Precisely because the simplest thing is not necessarily the easiest thing to do.

The easier thing to do in circumstances that drive me nuts is to blame the other and judge them. That has been a default I operated in and I have also been given the grace to see how much I need to grow out of that. Once I tried walking a mile in the other’s shoes, I can begin to glimpse how hard it must have been to him/her. Only a glimpse can soften my heart a little to be more compassionate towards the other person. That glimpse would not be possible if my first reaction to the situation is to lash on the person. That glimpse is only possible when I begin to take a pit stop from the whole situation.

Pit stop is practically time I give to myself to be present to myself. I name my emotions and I give the situation a just look. When justice means the fault of the other; that is where I exercise my compassion. Yes, even if the other person holds the weightier fault, how do I respond lovingly in this situation? What is the shape of compassion in this situation? If I hold the weightier fault, can I have the humility to apologize? Can I allow myself to receive the compassion I need?

The journey to making compassion as my default is sure an interesting journey. If we want to learn patience, God would put us in situation where we are stretched and we grow in patience. If we want to expand our hearts to love, we will find ourselves in situation where we may find it hard to love with our natural ability. So it is with compassion – to grow in compassion, we need to experience compassion ourselves and to be in situations where we cry out for help. Only when we been through the fire of experience does our practice of compassion is made perfect.

The good news about our desire to grow and the price involved in it is that GRACE is always available for us;

“but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong”

– 2 Corinthians 12: 9 -10 –

Dear friends, if you are praying for an increase of compassion in your heart and found yourself in a sticky situation, take heart for GRACE is sufficient for you. Keep going, keep practicing for in our deliberate decision to make compassion our default, we will get closer to our goal. Even at times we falter, look up and smile for Compassion is reaching out His hands towards you to pick you up.

Have an amazing journey in growth!

With lots of love,

Irene