Weeks ago, I would not have imagined that I would be sitting at my dinner table in Washington, getting ready to start remote learning. But there I was, still confused, reflecting with my family on the past couple weeks. I think of the goodbyes that came too soon, those who will never see the inside of a Biola University classroom again, or compete wearing their Biola athletic uniform, or see the product of many months of planning for Missions Conference. I have found it easy to see how this disruption has caused pain and discomfort in my own life and know that each person is uniquely impacted by the uprooting of the last month.
With schedules freshly cleared, my sisters didn’t know what to do with themselves. So they made a cake. People make cakes to celebrate, so my mom asked, “What are we celebrating?!”
A few moments of silence led to hysteric giggles.
“Well, we started organizing the pantry,” someone said.
But after the initial laughter subsided, you could hear the wheels turning as we began to think of the reasons why this celebration was legitimate. Our spirits were lifted that night, not just because of the cake, but mostly by celebrating a mundane and seemingly unimpressive task.
“Why don’t we find a reason to celebrate every night?” said my mom as we left the table.
And thus began the Morgan family celebration game. At dinner, we each share something from our day that we are choosing to celebrate. For the first few nights, I struggled to think of anything worthy of celebrating. But as days went on, I started to purposefully look for blessings or accomplishments to be grateful in the midst of a week that has flipped so much of life on its head. And honestly, most of our celebrations are for the little victories, not anything impressive or out of the ordinary. For the most part, we share things like, “I finally got Zoom to work on my computer,” or “I worked out today,” or “I got to say hello to the people I passed on my walk.”
Nothing is different about my life today than it was at the beginning of that first night at home. I still cannot see my friends or go to work, but I am looking for and finding joy in anything I can.
I have noticed that I am finding even mundane tasks exciting and empowering, and am becoming truly grateful and more motivated by the small blessings and little victories that I have in a crazy season in life.
For many, I know that the transition of the last few weeks has brought you to less than ideal places. Some are unable to return home, and others went home to challenging situations. Choosing to celebrate small things does not mean denying the reality of the current situation, whether that is losing a job, returning to a complicated home life or falling ill. But celebrating the little victories allows us to see that, in spite of the turmoil in our lives, we have still been given the grace to wake up, and we are able to take small steps forward. That in itself is a blessing that I far too often overlook!
Currently, our world is filled with uncertainty, anxiety, disappointment, hopelessness and sorrow. As the world has changed dramatically, we realize how little control we have over our lives. But we have not lost the ability to do the next right thing. For many, this could be getting out of bed in the morning. For others, it could be eating a healthy meal or trying a new hobby. Whatever your little victory is, celebrating and cultivating gratitude for these small accomplishments helps build the confidence it takes to handle bigger challenges that come your way. Gratitude sparked in celebrating little victories is important for cultivating resilience to help us bounce back from life’s setbacks. And the gratitude that cultivates resilience is important for improving our well-being, because it:
- Leads to greater optimism and positive mentality
- Decreases depression
- Aids in the processing of trauma
- Helps cultivate better stress management and resistance
- Improves empathy
- Boosts determination and stamina
As my family has taken the time to recognize and be thankful for our blessings and accomplishments, I have grown more hopeful and know that, even though I can’t control the world around me, I can still do the next right thing.
So join me in celebrating the little victories each day! You can do it with your family, friends or by yourself. Take turns sharing around a table. Maybe call or text to a friend. Make a list and hang it up to build confidence in your ability to say “yes” to the task ahead. Thank God for what he has enabled you to do today!