A few nights ago, I went to a Ruthie Foster concert, and since then the song “Phenomenal Woman” has been going through my mind. It’s based on a Maya Angelou poem. You can hear it here (click on “Phenomenal Woman” on the right) and you can read the poem here. To me, Ruthie Foster is the epitome of a phenomenal woman – beautiful, sexy, glowing, confident, funny, and with a rich voice that soars through the rafters.

I like it. I like thinking of ourselves as phenomenal. I think too many of us have been raised to believe that we shouldn’t “toot our own horns” or “strut our stuff”. Was it just me, or did you grow up thinking that it was sinful to believe in yourself or be too confident? After all, if we believed in ourselves, then we wouldn’t rely on God enough, right?

Instead, we’ve learned patterns of self-deprecation and low self-esteem. “Oh, I’m not good enough” or “I really don’t have any talents worth sharing” seem to be common phrases on the lips of too many people. (Perhaps it’s especially true for Christians?) I think that’s the OPPOSITE of what God wants to hear from us, because he/she can’t work through us if we doubt our own abilities. Confidence is not sinfulness, it’s trusting that our creator knew what he/she was doing when we were made.

Like Ruthie Foster, I think it’s time to embrace our “phenomenalness”. Oh, I’m not saying we should all start bragging about ourselves, or taking on overly-inflated opinions of ourselves, but what’s wrong with believing that God made us beautiful and talented and phenomenal? Sure we’re all flawed – that’s a given – but we all have within us the seeds of great potential. Believing otherwise is doubting God’s design and ability to work through us.

So today, I am going to believe that I am PHENOMENAL! Truth is, this month it’s not hard to believe. I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve been more open to new possibilities, or if my two weeks in Ethiopia inspired me, but all kinds of opportunities and inspired ideas seem to be “dropping in my lap”. (Or perhaps jumping out of a plane last fall did something to unleash the inner boldness in me.)

Usually February gives way to the doldrums, but this past month, I’ve had lots of chances to use the gifts that I most love to use. I’ve been hired for 2 freelance jobs, both of which entail facilitating workshops on things I love to talk about – like leadership and creative thinking. I also facilitated an all day staff retreat (not my own staff), and got my first chance to fly by the seat of my pants and prove that I could do it (I saw the agenda 15 minutes before launching into the day’s discussion). I had a chance to speak in church a few weeks ago – another thing I quite enjoy. I’ve also had a few writing opportunities, and will see some of it appear in print soon.

And then this week, I stumbled onto one of the most inspired ideas I’ve had in a long time. Part of my day-job involves leading the fundraising team. I don’t have much of a fundraising brain, so it’s good that my staff do most of that kind of work. But I’ve just managed to come up with a new campaign that might revolutionize the way we raise money PLUS it involves encouraging people to do more (lifestyle changes, etc.) than just give money. (I can’t tell you too much about it because it’s still in the seedling phase.)

There must be something in the air, because I feel PHENOMENAL! (Sorry – am I bragging too much? I haven’t entirely let go of the idea that it’s NOT okay to talk about myself like this. In fact, I almost deleted this post.)

This is all really exciting stuff for me, because in a few years, I hope to leave a “nine-to-fiver” job behind and do freelance consulting, facilitation, and writing – just the kind of stuff I’ve gotten to do in the last month. Woohoo!

How about you? What makes you feel phenomenal?

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