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“I didn’t celebrate goals.”

An elite, Brownlow-winning AFL footballer offered this response when asked about the one regret of his career. He didn’t celebrate kicking goals. He was so focused on the greatest goal—winning games and, ultimately, winning the Grand Final—he couldn’t celebrate the little “wins” along the way. How could he celebrate kicking one goal when he needed to focus on kicking the next? Kicking goals wasn't the aim… it was all about winning games. In his mind, celebrating a goal seemed reckless.

Upon reflection after his retirement, he said he wished he had stopped to take ten seconds to celebrate each kicked goal. He realised he could have remained focussed on his ultimate goal, but still celebrated the little steps and wins to reach that goal. Enjoying those moments would have made his career more fulfilling.

This story really resonated with me. Choosing to celebrate each MOMENT.

Sometimes we can become fixated on the next step or the ultimate breakthrough we are believing for that we forget to celebrate and thank God for each of the minor victories along the way. We can pray, believe, and stand. And when God comes through for us, all we can think about is the other prayers we have yet to see answered.

“No way!” you might think. “That’s crazy!” Yet it’s what we do. Our culture is so obsessed with striving for more that we can fall into the trap of thinking “we are just one breakthrough away from actually making it”, or “after THAT breakthrough, THAT is when we will be happy and can celebrate”.

We might wonder, “How can I stop to celebrate someone sowing $100 into my life when I am believing for $10,000 to pay off my car?” Perhaps, like the footballer, we feel irresponsible. It’s as though stopping to celebrate is not acknowledging the issues we are facing. If we stopped to celebrate the kicked goal, people might think we are not serious about winning the game. We’ve taken our eyes off the prize.

Well, I believe the opposite is true.

Not only is it okay to stop and celebrate the little victories, it’s a key to unlocking the next breakthrough.

Ps Peter once preached an AMAZING message about the ten lepers healed by Jesus, but only one returned to give thanks (see Luke 17). He came back to give thanks, and it was this action which unlocked the breakthrough where Jesus said, “your faith has made you well”. Only one leper received complete healing. Our pastor taught us that after every breakthrough and victory, we must complete the cycle with gratitude and thanksgiving, kicking off the next breakthrough.

Throughout the Old Testament, we see times where God instructed the Israelites to stop and build a memorial, celebrating and commemorating the victory they had seen before moving on. Each time, they were still on a journey and believing for a greater breakthrough. But God told them to stop and mark that breakthrough.

So this is a practice I have endeavoured to take on in my life. CELEBRATE THE MOMENTS.

Celebrate every victory. Take a moment to give thanks on purpose and commemorate and remember the victory you have just seen. No matter how ‘small’ it may seem or how many other breakthroughs you are believing for.

As a family, we have had many “celebration feasts” when we have seen a breakthrough, whether it was someone getting a new job or a bill being paid we had been praying for. We stop together and eat, and talk about how good God is. We pray together and give Him thanks.

My sister has an amazing habit where she buys small celebration charms for her bracelets. She has bracelets full of little charms, each one a “memorial” honouring a victory along the way.

Be creative with your celebrations. It doesn't have to involve money. Some ideas might be:

  • Take communion as a family.

  • Have a PRAISE party with your life group. Take time to loudly praise God for what He has done!

  • Do something FUN to celebrate with a friend. Take a Saturday morning off and go for a walk or check out that coffee shop you've always wanted to visit and celebrate!

  • Create a memorial celebration board at home. Print off a picture every time you see a victory.

There are so many things we could do! But I encourage you to:

  1. Savour the victory. When God provides a breakthrough, don't fall into the trap of immediately focusing on the breakthroughs you are yet to see.

  2. Stop and on purpose CELEBRATE each little victory along the way. When you do that, you see how much God is working in your life. You see how many victories and “favour” moments you experience in a day.

  3. Create memorials to give honour and thanks to God and build your faith for what God is going to do.

I look forward to sharing more 'MOMENTS' with you! Exploring what moments are, how we can create and plan moments ahead which we believe towards. I'd also love to share practical things we can do to live a life full of moments. Join me on this beautiful journey.

But for now, I will leave you with one of my favourite truths:

“Never forget that the breakthrough you are living in together was once just a prayer.”