EP. 137: How to Make Celebration a Rhythm Not a Reward with Nicole Zasowski

What if my hope only leads to disappointment? What if I embrace joy only to have it ripped from my hands? 
I’m pretty sure that I am not alone in these unwelcome, but all too common, soundtracks swirling around (not so gracefully) in my head. 
So, let me ask you…How many times have you intentionally (or even subconsciously) tempered your excitement or joy for fear of unmet expectations…of disappointment rearing its ugly head once again.
If your excitement temperature is closer to a lukewarm glass of water than an ice cold Yeti, I have good news! We are about to change this today by taking a page out of Nicole Zasowski’s book (literally)!
Rather than shying away from celebration, what if instead you asked yourself, “What If It’s Wonderful?” and embraced ALL of life’s goodness meant for you to experience?! That God wants you to have!
Whoa. What an immediate mindset shift! 
Get excited! Because today Nicole shares this different perspective with us in depth and turns the tables to help us see the promise of possibility rather than the continued pain of preservation (even though we will learn today this “preservation” is only an illusion anyways). 
Here’s the thing, just like we can’t achieve our way into worth, we also cannot perform our way into a place of security or into feeling significant and loved.
Why is that you ask?

Because celebration is meant to be a rhythm of life, not just a reward for your achievements.

Nicole actually goes so far as to say that shame makes us believe that there is no celebration out of what we earn ourselves. That we are unworthy without a pleasing performance Shame makes us forget  that the good things we receive in this life are gifts from God. 
(Take a moment and let that sink in!)
I think I have the perfect example to help drive this home. Some of you may be familiar with this story that I share in “Dirt”, but truly it’s had a lasting impact.
When I was 4 my dad had me memorize and recite all 56 lines of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” in front of our jam packed church. My 4-year old self nailed it! Didn’t miss a beat. (Unknowingly at the time, achievement and perfection became the standard from there on out.)
The following year, my dad had me memorize and recite the “‘Twas the Night Before Jesus Came.” This time I wasn’t as flawless as the year before and needed help on a couple of lines. I could have sworn I had ‘failure’ stamped on my forehead. 
It was a tradition for the parents to put a present under the church’s Christmas Tree for all of the kids to open after the pageant. While everyone was bustling with excitement to open their gift, I sat, swinging my legs off the side of the stage, unwilling to open my gift because in my mind I didn’t deserve it. I messed up my lines and didn’t earn my reward.
I’ll never forget what happened next. My dad walked over to me and told me that his gift wasn’t for what I did or didn’t do, it was just because he loves me.
Still gives me chills. What a beautiful picture of God!

And a great example of shame so easily stealing our joy, when rewards are not meant to just be for achievements. 

(This is just one of the two Christmas tree stories in this episode actually. The other is one that Nicole shares about ‘broken toys’ and loss. I can guarantee that you will not leave unchanged after hearing that one.)
If you are as tired as Nicole and I are of being guarded off from the full, divinely-intended experience of joy, delight, and celebration then listen up! Here are two steps that you can take today to be fully immersed and present in your life:
  1. Savor: Savoring celebrates the ordinary. It helps us to capture and keep what our brain would be tempted to dismiss or call not good enough. Take a mental snapshot of a good thing that you don’t want to forget- an everyday ordinary thing. How do you feel in that moment? What do you smell? Ignite your senses and ingrain that snapshot to memory. 
  2. Thanksgiving: It is no doubt that partaking in a spirit of thanksgiving increases our joy. While gratitude journals are great, Nicole challenges us to take a step further to actually express the gratitude that we feel towards someone to that person! Not only will it make their day, but it will double your own joy.
Friends, this barely even touches the surface of today’s episode! Nicole and I dive deep into all things joy, celebration, and performing our way into a place of false security!
  • How to make celebration a discipline and rhythm in life even when celebrating feels hard
  • The difference between engaging in celebration vs. escaping reality and how to know the difference
  • Why journeys and quests are not the same and what they teach us
  • The truth about anxiety and how to combat it
  • Ways to implement celebration as a rhythm in your life instead of just considering it as a reward

Are you ready to release your fears? To choose joy? Perhaps even to find the courage to (dare I even say it?!)…celebrate?!

Good! I can’t wait for you to dive in! Make sure to let me know which part of this episode spoke to your heart in the biggest way today!
Until next time!

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