You’ve Got Something to Celebrate

Celebration is a fun way to build and also grow relationships. It allows  you to learn about others as well. You get to spend time with those you care most about and you get the chance to make them feel special.

Celebrations aren`t  just for friends. They can also be between families. You can have incredible amounts of fun just inside your house. ( See Pinterest for ideas haha…) Things can get heated in a house, so celebrations and praise often helps disagreements die down and cool off.

We are living in party central right now!  We kick off October every year with a double birthday celebration for two of our family members.  And birthdays at our house mean and entire day is spent making sure the birthday person feels special.  We all love to feel special don’t we?  And we LOVE a celebration to highlight our high points.

Think about all of the “celebrations” we have in our lives..know what they all have in common?

A majority of them revolve around a once a year recognition of something that happened in our past, often something we had nothing to do with ourselves.  I love a good celebration along with everyone, as a matter of fact I treasure them and start thinking about them long before the day arrives.

When Ashton suggested we do a blog on celebration, at first I thought, ” Well what’s to tell?  Celebrations are happy, everyone is smiling, but sure a feel good blog never hurts.”  Then we sat down to really prepare and came across a verse about celebration:

They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate in your righteousness. Psalm 89:16

This describes not just an event, or preparation for an event, instead the authors of Psalms describe about a state of being – a state of CELEBRATION.  This focus of mind and heart on a constant celebration got us thinking.  At first, you might respond with “YEAH!  An all day party!  That’s a verse I can get excited about! Does Chuck E. Cheese’s do 24/7 parties?”

Before you stock up on colorful paper plates and make your custom playlist, there are two things to point out:

They rejoice ALL DAY LONG, as in everyday, every hour, without cease.  When was the last time you threw a party?  At some point, we all hit that wall when we are ready to kick out the guests, pour out the punch bowl, crawl into our sweat pants and take a nap until next week!  Celebration is exhausting!  But these people are PARTY people!  They are the guests that doesn’t want to leave.  They are rejoicing ALL DAY LONG, and well into the night and the next day.

So how are they sustained and why aren’t they collapsing in exhaustion?

Because their source is not an event.  They rejoice in something bigger and more worthy of this exuberance.  They rejoice IN HIS NAME and IN HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.  And HE is Jesus.  They are celebrating what He has ALREADY DONE and for who He ALREADY IS.

Just like you, we tend to focus on celebrating when something is finished.  God wants us to celebrate what He has done, what He IS doing and what He is CAPABLE to DO!  He is never finished with us, he made us knowing that we could never be perfect or complete without needing what He has to offer.

Imagine if you lived your life celebrating what God CAN DO.  You might just find yourself celebrating all day long, and into the night, never wanting to leave!

 

 

 

Qualities of a “Hugging” Friend

A couple of years ago, Ashton was feeling conflicted about friendship and how differentiate her close friends with whom she had a long history and new friends she wasn’t quite ready to merge into the “trust circle”.  We decided there are three types of friend levels:

Wave Friends (those you are getting to know or acquaintences)

High Five Friends (those who you know well enough to provide encouragement)

and Hugging Friends…

Hugging Friends are the ones you can be yourself around, the ones  that probably know all of your secrets and can tell when you are having a bad day.  There is vulnerability with this group. You can’t pull everyone inside your personal space and feel safe.  How do you find such a friend and avoid the danger zone?  Here’s the top 5 qualities we felt are worth putting on the list:

  • Funny – seriously a sense of humor is a must!
  • Loyal – no back stabbers allowed
  • Honest – you need someone to tell you when you have food in your teeth or protect you from yourself and any poor decisions you might make
  • Can’t be selfish – willing to share, this isn’t just about borrowing their lucky pen for a test or loaning you lunch money.  Relationships are a give/take arrangement of time, energy and understanding
  • Trust – The deal maker or breaker.

In today’s world of virtual friendships, the quest has never been tougher!  Think about it, we said that there are 3 types of friends (Wave, High-Five and Hugging).  Facebook doesn’t exactly provide these as choices on your privacy settings, but you probably also see not all people seem to prioritize before they post.   Think about your news feed compared to what you share with people in person.  Do you post as though your all of your followers “Friends” are at one of these levels?  Geez! How awkward when you see a “Wave” Friend who knows something “Hug-worthy” about you?!

We seem to forget Friendship is a solution to the issue we have had as humans since the beginning of time.  God created the very first human and immediately said “It is NOT GOOD for him to be alone.  I need to make him a suitable helper.  Did you catch that?…a  SUITABLE helper…God needed to make a Hugging Friend for Adam.

In the context of creation, God was creating the first wife out of his rib, literally creating something broken in Adam so God himself could create the exact person and being to complete him.  I believe this is also predecessor to a verse in Proverbs:

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”  Proverbs‬ ‭17:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

A brother is born (made, created) for times of adversity, again specifically with you in mind. God will provide all which you need.  He cares for you so deeply, he will always see it is NOT GOOD for you to be alone and He will always create connection for you so that in times of trouble, you will have a “suitable helper” to come alongside of you.  God knows what lies ahead for us and the trials we will endure to get where he wants us to be; therefore, he is able to equip another to be exactly what you need.

He takes the list of friend qualities to a whole other level for us:

This helper will Love Unconditionally.  A friend loves at all times.  And because we know the definition of love to be completely unselfish and faithful, we can be confident of our friend’s acceptance.

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.   Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

A true friend will Care for you sincerely and genuinely

“I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.” ‭‭ Philippians‬ ‭2:20‬ ‭NIV‬‬

A friend will be our Stronghold and Strength when we are weak:

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  ‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Because of a true friend, we will Never Be Alone:

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”  ‭‭John‬ ‭14:18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Let’s see if we can put this all together today. God created the first human and immediately saw it was not good for him to be alone and created a suitable helper (unique to perfectly complete us in our broken state).  He sent His only son to teach us about being the ultimate friend and literally laid down his own life for us in a statement of love.

On top of that, he says he will not leave us as orphans (alone) and He will come to us. We know God works through people powerfully to heal. So in his promise to never leave us lonely, because he hates when we are alone, he sends his own spirit of love through others. And not just anyone, He sends someone He created with you in specifically in mind, knowing the plan he has for you and what trials you may face. He thought of, created and placed a suitable helper to love you at all times and be with you in times of adversity!

You may think you don’t have that kind of friend, but you can be fully confident you have that kind of God! And he will fulfill his promise to you.