rebelling against low expectations

Did You Know Celebration is a Spiritual Discipline?


“You need to celebrate!” my mentor told me. I’d just told her something I’d been praying for and working toward for months had happened.

I laughed, feeling like a hypocrite. I’d just told my mentee that morning to celebrate what God was doing in her life.

In our culture, we don’t celebrate a whole lot. Yet celebration is a spiritual discipline. The Israelites, following God’s law, made celebration a lifestyle. They feasted, they danced, they sang. All the time.

As Rebelutionaries, driven to do hard things for God, perhaps we celebrate even less than most people. You see, there is always more to do, another step to take, someone else who needs help. We get so excited about breaking low expectations, that we neglect to stop and rejoice in the moments of victory and growth.

3 Reasons We Need to Celebrate

1. Celebration is a way we honor God.

Celebration isn’t just an excuse to have fun. We were created for more than work. Work is a way we honor God, but so is celebrating our work and the God we work for. Celebrating means letting go of all the working, and trusting that God is going to keep the world spinning.

We were created for more than work. Work is a way we honor God, but so is celebrating our work and the God we work for. Click To Tweet

Celebrating is a chance to point those around us to God by spotlighting what He has done in our lives. Because really, anything we accomplish or any milestone we reach is all because of Him. May we be wise enough to take a moment to honor Him instead of endlessly striving!

2. Celebration is a way we live out our purpose.

The Westminster Catechism says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.” This is our ultimate purpose in life, and celebration is a powerful way we get to glorify God.

It is a way we can intentionally enjoy the gifts He has given us, whether that is the gift of accomplishment, or the gift of creation, or the gift of food and laughter.

3. Celebration motivates us and keeps us going.

When kids are little, we celebrate every milestone they experience. We document their first steps. We get them their own cake for their first birthday. We call everyone over to see their first smile or their first laugh. We take Kindergarten pictures. We frame their first pieces of artwork.

But somewhere along the line, we stop. Why do we stop celebrating? Each step is still a treasure, each step is still a gift, and each step in life is something worth celebrating. It motivates us to keep going — and that’s not wrong!

God created celebration, and He created it with the benefit of motivation. Maybe you don’t need M&M’s for potty training anymore, but I’m definitely not above using chocolate as motivation to work on my budget.

Ultimately, celebration is a form of worship.

God created celebration, and He created it with the benefit of motivation. Click To Tweet

3 Ways We Can Celebrate

1. Privately

I was discussing celebration with a friend lately, and he pointed out that celebration is a heart-state, not only an action. Celebration is a heart that is intentionally worshipful before God. And that flows into action, but celebration starts with our hearts.

Private celebration between just us and God is so intimate and precious. This can look like so many things. It can look like coming to Him with our thanksgiving and gratitude. It can look like using music to worship on our own. It can look like doing things to facilitate a specific heart-attitude.

2. Corporately

Celebration also gets to be a group act. A celebratory heart bubbles up and often can’t help but share what God has done and is doing with others. Corporately, we can celebrate like the Israelites did — with feasting and dancing and song and vacation! We get to share our delight in God and fan it into flame in others.

3. Tangibly

Celebration is a heart-state, but from our heart actions flow. God, in His love, created us not only to be spiritual beings, but flesh and blood beings. Our celebration can and should be tangible. Here are some ideas (and I’d love to hear yours in the comments):

· Turn on your favorite song and sing at the top of your lungs

· Dance around the house to said favorite song (if you need a place to start, I recommend “Celebrate” by Jason Gray)

· Enjoy a delicious food

· Handwrite a card to someone who is celebrating something

· Laugh!

· Call/text someone and tell them what God did

· Read a celebratory Psalm or liturgy out loud

There are so many ways we can celebrate, and God created it to be not only a way we get to worship Him, but a gift to us as well. Let’s grow in the spiritual discipline of celebration together.

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About the author

Sara Willoughby

is the 20-year-old author of He's Making Diamonds: A Teen's Thoughts on Faith Through Chronic Illness. She loves to read, write, and have adventures, be it off to Narnia one more time, wading through mud chasing the family dog, or playing a new board game with her two younger siblings. Sara is also a Lymie, TCK, and Bright Lights leader. You can find her at


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  • Oh my goodness, this is SO good! And timely. I hit a milestone in my life yesterday, yet I hesitated to celebrate it because it brings up old fears and emotions as well. BUT . . . I’m celebrating! And this post was a terrific reminder of why. 😍

  • Thanks for this, (other) Sara! Singing to one’s favorite song is definitely a good way to celebrate. 🙂

  • Thanks for bringing this to our attention Sara!

    Sometimes the weight of the many things that need doing hangs heavy and makes it feel wrong to stop to celebrate. And yet, celebration can help refuel us for the next task or battle.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →