So…true confessions. I’m definitely hard on myself when it comes to the spiritual life. It’s like I have an angry personal trainer (I imagine someone in spandex with crazy 80’s hair) yelling in the back of my head: “Be patient.” “Be nicer.” “Why aren’t you at daily mass?” “Say that rosary!”
It took me a while to realize that the real core of being Catholic is not a number of rosaries recited or our list of Catholic books read. It’s letting God love you. We, as His Church, are His beloved bride, cherished by Him above all creation. He loves us SO ridiculously much. He loves us into existence.
And if He loves us that much—if He is willing to sacrifice, to fight for us, to call us to His heart, we should definitely love ourselves. Love ourselves, be kind to ourselves, actually be a fan of who we are as individuals.
The Source of Awesome
Of course, I know the counter. Too much self-love, disordered self-love, that’s vanity and pride. And yes, we should avoid thinking of ourselves as the be-all-end-all of awesome.
Key to this, I believe, is a healthy understanding that the source of our awesomeness is God Himself. If I ever were to get a tattoo, it would be the quote from St. Catherine of Sienna: “Be who you were meant to be and you will set the world on fire.” When we’re being what God made us to be, we’re ridiculously awesome. And that’s something to radiate, something to shine forth to all the people around us.
Top 7 Ways to Radiate Awesome
So, with this in mind, here’s my list of how to be awesome (and still be humble):
- Do what you love. If you could spend the next fifteen minutes doing whatever you wanted, what would it be? Read? Go for a walk? Call up that dear friend? Drink a nice cup of Chai Tea? Make some time to do it sometime this week. Of course, nothing sinful—rather, something which brings you genuinely, unforced joy. God gave you this desire in your heart. Do it.
- Celebrate your accomplishments. Don’t let something you’ve achieved pass you by! Think about it this way. If we never acknowledge or celebrate the goodness of our achievements, how can we truly thank God for them? I don’t mean that you should wave banners and blow horns for yourself. But definitely take a moment to reward yourself for all the hard work you did on that project, and how you opened yourself up to the prompting of the Spirit.
- Volunteer. If you have an awesome talent, God probably wants you to use it for His Church. Play the piano? You probably should be doing that at church. Good with finances? You probably should be on the parish finance council. Great with kids? Nursery, youth ministry, catechist. Knit? Prayer blankets are one of my new favorite things. Radiate being awesome by sharing it with others.
- Talk about what brings you joy. Wow, do we complain a lot in conversation! Or, at least I do. The ironing isn’t done. This student is annoying me. I can’t maintain classroom discipline. I have a deadline coming up. These things pile up and fill my conversations to overflowing. Rarely do I make time in conversations for how awesome it is to read books for work. Or how a dear friend randomly showed up at my doorstep this past weekend. Or how I love to write, how I just wish I could write all day. In your words, share the awesome the Lord has given you.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Take a jump! Take a (safe) risk. Preferably one that helps you laugh at yourself, discover something about this world, connects you with people outside of your normal lane. Take that exercise class, go ziplining, talk with the cashier, give a talk at a youth group meeting, introduce yourself to that family behind at mass with the loud kid. Maybe you’re actually awesome at curling. Or maybe you’re not—but it’s pretty awesome that you tried.
- If you’re genuinely good at something, don’t tell people that you’re bad at it. That’s lying. This is a huge pet peeve of mine, and what’s sad is that I often fall into this trap. So, if someone says to you: “You’re such a wonderful cook.” And you say: “Oh no, not really…” STOP. You ARE good at it, and you should celebrate the truth of it. Also, see #3. You should be helping at soup suppers.
- In all things, give thanks. Our lives should be engulfed in thanks. Everything we have, everything we are is a gift. Be awesome, your honest form of awesomeness, and praise God with it. Thank God in your prayers for your unique brand of awesome—and thank Him in your life by radiating awesome.
In what ways do YOU radiate awesome? Share in the comments, friends!