We don’t have enough celebrations in our lives. Sure, we do the big ones — holidays, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, new jobs, new babies. But how often do we pause to celebrate the victories in our lives? The overcoming, persevering, repenting, renewing?

I witnessed two such celebrations this week. A brave woman stood before a supportive crowd to share her testimony of recovery from childhood abuse. The room was filled with others gathered for a weekly meeting of Celebrate Recovery, “a Christ-centered, 12 step recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain or addiction of any kind.” Many had their own reasons to celebrate. Tears were shed, hugs were delivered and cake was served — exactly what should happen at a celebration.

On Sunday morning, a young man I’ve known for 20 years made a small reference in his sermon to the date he was saved from addictions and delivered into freedom. Most who know him know his story, but after his message, the call he made for others to come forward and receive the same freedom brought a celebratory stream of seekers wanting victory in their own lives. The worship team added choruses and the formal service ended, but still they came — bringing a promise of celebrations to come.

Thankfully, most of us don’t find ourselves faced with overcoming such obstacles as abuse and addiction. But what about the smaller mountains we climb, the victories we pursue?

The wayward child returning home. Paying off a long-standing debt. Losing those last 10 pounds. Finally creating order out of chaos in our home. Finishing a degree or starting a new one.

Or even the small surprise blessings that brighten our lives:

The first snowflake. Fresh tomatoes from the garden. A child’s first words. A cup of tea with a friend.

The list is endless. In fact, each day has the potential to offer up many reasons to celebrate. Taking note of them, whether in your own mind, in a journal or in a phone call to a friend, could be the healthiest thing you do today.

Consider these 5 benefits of celebrating all our victories, big and small:

  1. A shift in focus. You can crowd out the negatives in life by shining light on on the positives.
  2. An optimistic attitude. When you celebrate the positives, you make room for the optimism that can come as a natural by-product.
  3. Improved physical health. Studies show there are significant physical benefits to celebrating the good stuff, such as lowered blood pressure and less depression.
  4. Less stress. A by-product of your optimism and shift in focus when you celebrate your “wins” is relief from stress over things you can’t change, or that take time to change.
  5. More victories. Celebrating even our small achievements can lead to success in the future. The good feeling you get from honoring the positives makes you work harder to put more positives in your life.

Life is hard sometimes, but it’s also good a lot of the time. Look for something to celebrate in your life today and leave a comment here so we can give you a high-five and toss some confetti your way.  Let’s celebrate — it’s biblical!

“And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.” Nehemiah 12:43