Today I’m celebrating a milestone: the one year anniversary of launching my website and starting this blog!
One of the beautiful things about milestones is that they’re an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going. (The term milestone actually comes from ancient Rome, where the Romans used actual stones to mark the miles along highways. A traveler could both see how far they’d come along the road as well as how much farther they had to go to their destination.)
Over the last few days, I’ve been re-reading some of my previous posts and reflecting on where I am in my writing journey.
On the one hand, it’s fun to see how far I’ve come.
I’ve written 48 blog posts (49 counting this one) over the last year. Though I’ve missed a few weeks during holidays or vacation, I’ve managed to be consistent in my goal of posting weekly. Yay!
On the other hand, my writing career is still in its infancy and there is soooo much more I dream of accomplishing.
I tend to be very goal oriented and future-focused, and I often feel that I should be further along than I am. That I should do more, know more, be more… Though it is good to aim for excellence and strive to be the best we can be, if I’m not careful, I can strive myself right into discouragement.
So I’m working on relaxing a bit and giving more time to appreciating where I’ve been, as opposed having a laser focus on where I want to be. When the ache of the big dreams starts to edge out the satisfaction in the progress I have made, I’m choosing to remind myself, one milestone at a time. What matters is that I’m moving forward. I’m giving myself permission to celebrate my progress even when there is so much more on the horizon.
The importance of remembering
God knows how important it is for us to be reminded of how far we’ve come and the good works He has done in our lives.
In the Old Testament, God parted the waters of the Jordan River so the Israelites could cross over into the Promised Land. Before the waters closed back up, God commanded Joshua to have the people carry stones from the center of the river across to the other side. There, according to God’s instruction, they created a monument of remembrance.
Joshua declared to the Israelites:
“When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea” (Joshua 4:21-23 NIV).
Every time the Israelites saw the stones, they would remember how far they’d come. They would remember the miraculous parting of the Jordan River and how God brought them out of their decades in the desert into their wonderful new home. And when others, such as their children wondered about the stones, the Israelites would have an opportunity to share their testimony.
Taking time to recognize and honor milestones helps us remember that we are on a journey. We both are and are becoming. Milestones help us appreciate how we’ve grown as well as motivate us to stretch ourselves further.
Like the Israelites’ memorial stones, it can be helpful to find an object to represent our achievements and the victories God has helped us accomplish in our lives. Such reminders can give us renewed motivation and encouragement as we forge ahead into the next season, new projects, or new chapters in our lives.
I decided to find a way to commemorate my first year of blogging. After some thought, I settled on buying a special pen. Whenever I see that pen in my desk drawer, I’ll remember the progress I’ve made and how God led me through my first official year of writing.
What are some milestones you’ve achieved recently? Maybe you celebrated your baby’s first step, your first wedding anniversary (or 10th, or 20th :)), a college graduation, a retirement, the completion of a course, your first year in a new city, or the opening of a new business. What are some simple ways you can create concrete reminders of the milestones in your life? It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It can be as simple as a pen or a rock. :) And remember, God brought you to this milestone, and He will bring you to the next!
“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’" 1 Samuel 7:12 (NIV)
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