His hands firmly planted on his hips, his head held high, and his eyes on the prize, Liam marched forward with all the confidence of a seasoned soldier. His mission? To conquer the backyard swing at Grandma and Grandpa's house. My youngest grandson has the whitest hair, the bluest eyes and the most personality you can cram into a three years old body. He has the incredible ability to take on the world with the unfaltering courage of a super hero. A smile broke across his determined face as he mounted the seat of the plastic, yellow, swing. A few pumps of his legs later, and he was flying through the air and proclaiming to the world, " I...am... awesome...!" I watched him with amusement from my comfy, purple chair for quite some time. His eyes sparkled in the sunlight as his fine, white, hair rose and fell with each back and forth motion of the swing. From time to time he would shout out again, "I...am...awesome...!" with the same certitude and enthusiasm as the first proclamation. It wasn't a boastful declaration, it wasn't even announced for anyone in particular to hear, it was a simple truth and he wasn't embarrassed to shout it.
I love the raw, unadulterated confidence of the very young. They are the ballerinas, acrobats, and magicians of the world. Children are some of the fastest, strongest, and smartest people on the planet. If you don't believe me just ask one. If you were to sit down with a group of three year olds and ask them who the strongest is, they will likely all raise their hands and see who can get theirs the highest. Ask a group of ten year olds who the fastest is in their group, only a couple kids might raise their hands and some might point to who they think the fastest kid is. Ask a group of adults who is awesome, and I'd be willing to bet no one will be raising their hand.
We are taught to be humble and not boastful. We are taught to take responsibility for ourselves. We are not taught however, to recognize our unique gifts and abilities and confidently take ownership of them, to develop and nurture them to maturity. We all are born with an aptitude for greatness, but many of us lose sight of it as we experience disappointment and failure, or try to live with-in the parameters of the expectations that others put on us. What if we each woke up excited to be the person we were created to be? What if it was absolutely okay to be exactly who we are, no apologies? I think we could start by devaluing the importance of other people's opinion of us. There just isn't enough time or energy to live out our true lives and someone's opinion of our life. Maybe we could start by unraveling all the expectations we put on ourselves that don't match up to who we are deep inside. Instead of spending so much energy trying to perfect something that we're not, we can begin to practice in earnest, being everything we are meant to be. We need to step into our own personalities, gifts and talents as if we were stepping into clothes perfectly tailored only for us. A life taylored for someone else will never fit you properly. Let's begin by speaking truth to ourselves daily and Stop bullying ourselves, (that's such a bad habit). Let us be delightful, it takes a little getting used to, but its worth the effort. We have the ability to create joy with our presence, enhancing the lives of those around us. When we are living life as the person God created us to be, there is joy.
Now, swing through the air, let the wind blow through your hair and repeat after me, " I AM AWESOME!"
I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well. Psalm 139:14