If you haven’t done a recap blog post or journal entry, I really encourage you to. You’d be surprised at how much you’ve truly grown, learned, and overcome.
Last year (2016), I created strict routines to develop discipline. It was probably one of my most boring but also my healthiest year. I spent my time working, working out, or at church. I stopped drinking. I stopped dating. I didn’t even go in spaces that entertained things I cut out. It was really a year of focus and no distraction. I was the “boring church friend”, but I was also 30 pounds lighter, and ten times fuller. I introduced faith heavily into my brand and encouraged other women to build their relationship with God through the Word. I also created a safe space for people to come to me for prayer.
(below) My 2016 in an Instagram caption
“Desperation causes you to compromise.” . . Most times we have a vision of what we want our life to look like. A part of my vision was to be with someone special, but I eventually began to compromise my standards based on God’s will for me because I became desperate to hold onto a relationship I felt I had invested so much into. . . When I became single after a 3+ year relationship that I expected to last forever, I decided I could do whatever and be whoever I wanted. I owed it to myself to go after what I claimed was missing. Only two months after being single, I found myself doing things that I was doing at 21. That’s not who I wanted to be. I kept going back to an old comfort zone + battling between my flesh and my spirit. . . On July 21 I decided that I was going to fast from drinking and sex for 90 days. If you’re not familiar with fasting, it’s when you remove things in your life that you prioritize over God. It’s about starving the desires of your flesh to and feed the desires of your spirit. Every time I felt the urge to drink, or call/text someone to “Netflix & Chill” 😉😂 I talked to God, read my Bible, read a devotion, or journaled. I started going to a church that someone had invited me to go to MONTHS before I finally attended. I became friends with a group of women (that I genuinely like and have fun with) that give me honest, Biblical advice instead of worldly advice. Long story short, my fast has extended to 100+ days (and is now just a lifestyle), I workout consistently, I lost 15 lbs, I go to church 2x/week, I read my bible every morning. . . These are things I don’t have to beg, force, drag, or nag anyone else to do with me. I can do it on my own. 5 months ago I wasn’t the woman that would attract the type of person I would want to be with forever. But I am now her. And even if that person doesn’t come around for another year or so, I will still be her. I will be 100% whole in God before taking a relationship seriously because I expect to have 100% of a man that is whole in God, too. I just thank God that when we decide to stop being lukewarm about our love and commitment to Him, that He’s there waiting for us with open arms.
(below) Me when a guy asked me to go out… lol.
(below) My aunt, a pastor of 20 years, calling me to pray for her after my uncle had passed away.
A few weeks ago my uncle passed away so this morning my aunt, who is a pastor, called me and asked me to pray for her. No one’s ever called and asked me to pray for them over the phone before. I’m like 😅😅 dang I still have crust in my eyes, half sleep, no scripture memorized. Tryinna squint to see if any of the scripture on my mirror applies to her. Just nervous because this is my aunt who is grieving and is a pastor. What does someone say to a women who lost her husband? But I remembered that the power of prayer is not based on fancy words. It’s about allowing myself to decrease so the Holy Spirit can increase and takeover. When you have God in you, how “experienced” you feel is irrelevant. Even when you feel weak, God can step in and show His strength through you. Even when you’re a new leader who actively started learning to pray over the summer, you can pray over someone who’s been pastoring and leading people to Christ for 20 years. God’s use for us is not based on our level of skill, it’s based on our level of obedience.
This year (2017), I was so confident in myself as a woman and grounded in my faith and fitness that I could finally create “leniency” in my life. Even though I wasn’t at church 3 times a week (lol), I was still developing spiritually. Even though I wasn’t at the gym every single day, I still maintained my weight. I really set myself up for success and sustainability in 2016.
I really had to dig deep into who I wanted to be in order to grow. In 2016, I made $89,000ish. Why is my income relevant? Because I’m in an industry where being a 6-figure blogger is the standard level of success. I could’ve made well over $100,000. So why didn’t I? Because I didn’t think I deserved it. How is it that someone who knows how to bring in $15,000 in one month can’t cross the 6-figure mark? Limited belief.
2016 was my first year being single, and truthfully, I didn’t know how to enjoy the success “by myself”. So I attracted people that needed me to be successful so they wouldn’t fail. Every time I earned money, I gave it away and masked it with “humility” and “blessing others”. But the truth is, I simply didn’t feel like I deserved to keep my blessings. A few people in my life were ALWAYS LACKING and I was ALWAYS HELPING. I had very poor boundaries. Poor boundaries can take you from serving to enabling.
I’ve always believed that I’ve had the skillset to do anything I wanted. That thought process carried me far. But the next level mindset I needed was that I DESERVED what I wanted. Back and forth contemplation on whether I “deserved” something or if I was “allowed” to have it kept me at a plateau. It kept me from doing (and earning) more from myself.
I’ve had to tell myself the following statements:
1. Stop placing limitations on your abundance and using a limitless God of abundance as an excuse to not desire more.
2. You can appreciate what you have while still striving for more. Your ambition for the future does not eliminate your appreciation for the present.
3. Poverty is not synonymous with humility. Learn to accept the money and influence that you’re blessed with. Stop rejecting it. Stop giving it all away to “even the playing field.” Favor ain’t fair, and that’s okay. .
4. Don’t sit still until God says go. Move, travel, and live life until God says to pause. You don’t have to waste years on “confirmation” or “approval” that’s already been given from a God who wants you to be free.
5. Don’t make this Christianity thing harder than it has to be. Have fun, love people, be happy, take care of your body, spread light.
I’ve reference the book Boundaries numerous times because it changed my life.
Setting healthy boundaries also allows you to create/develop healthier relationships.
I started seeking relationships that could serve me, and I met some AMAZING people. I wrote more about those relationships in this blog post about digital marketing trends. But one relationship I hadn’t mention in that post (because I don’t think I had even formed it yet), was with someone in my Facebook group. (Hint: Find ways to connect with people already supporting you.)
I randomly posted “what service would your provide for me in exchange for 3 months of business coaching?” I wasn’t looking for anything in particular. I just wanted to connect with with other talented women in my group. The thread had over 200 comments and I was surprised by all the responses. But one response shocked me most.
Swipe through the post below to see how within a four day span I connected with a super talented NYC videographer that flew to ATL for 18 hours just for my event.
Last Tuesday in my Facebook group I randomly posted “what service would your provide for me in exchange for 3 months of business coaching?” I wasn’t looking for anything in particular. I just wanted to connect with with other talented women in my group. The thread had over 200 comments and i was surprised by all the responses. But Vanessa’s response shocked me most. Swipe left to see how within a four day span I connected with a super talented NYC videographer that flew to ATL for 18 hours just for my event. Feeling so blessed and highly favored. So glad we’re working together, @vanessa_malzahn!
Earlier in the year when I was weighed down from unreciprocated relationships, I didn’t have motivation to do much. But I refused to spend my year being mediocre, complacent, emotionless, and unmotivated. I needed to figure out why I wasn’t excited about my business.
On March 30 (the second to last day of quarter one), I bought a manifestation audio course by Denise Duffield-Thomas of LuckyBitch.com.
I did ONE exercise that changed EVERYTHING. (If you invest in a lot of developmental tools, you’ll learn that it’s usually ONE chapter in a book or ONE module in a course that makes the entire investment worth it.)
It was a visualization exercise that prompted me to see myself 5 years from now. Vision is SO crucial for women of purpose, and it was the one main thing in my life that I was missing.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18 KJV
In my vision, I was beautiful, healthy, and happy. My team was amazing and I had a great relationship with everyone in my client roster. A client roster for an agency… an agency that I kept putting off until I had the right team I could trust with my clients.
I opened my eyes and I was like “damn I wanna be her.” That vision rebirthed the excitement that was once dead in my business.
Within 2 months, I mapped out the strategy, got my team on board, and launched my dream agency, Built To Impact, which booked out in 5 days.
Wow. The mind is a powerful thing.
Now instead of asking myself “who do I need to become?” I picture myself at 32. She’s real. And I ask myself “what did that version of Maya do 5 years ago to get to where she is now?” And I do that because I am becoming her with every new risk I take.
I specifically invested in that course because I knew I was in a place in my life where I didn’t need more business strategies, I needed more faith in myself. I learned a lot from people who “had faith” but weren’t Christians.
This has been hard for me to verbalize because I always want to be a reflection of Christ. So I’ll give my disclaimer. I will always believes that Christ died on the cross for me so that I could live eternally in heaven. I’ll even travel across the world to spread the Gospel.
With. That. Being. Said. Religion is tricky. There’s something to be said about people who have more abundance than people who are in church every week.
I’m really fortunate that I attend a church where the pastors preach heavily on relationship, but for some reason I got so caught up in trying to “do the right thing” and “be the right Christian”. It kept me small.
They say faith without works is dead but work without faith is dead, too. Too often we WORK for love and WORK for success and WORK WORK WORK. But unless we BELIEVE and have FAITH that God truly wants to see us win, we will always lose. I filled my head up with so much “does God really want me to have this?” and “If I don’t do this, God won’t allow this.”
I think one of the hardest concepts for me to wrap around my head is that I do not have to work for love. It is always available to me. I am loved, period. . . Knowing that is so liberating. It frees me to walk confidently in my purpose. There’s nothing I can do that would deem me unworthy of love. *sigh of relief*
We’ve got to stop believing that we can only WORK our way to the top. A lot of the times our blessings aren’t earned from hard work. They’re a result of faith and grace.
I had to remind myself that even though I am imperfect, my faith in a perfect God will always set me up for a win.
I painted an image of God in my head that only wanted to see me do the “right” things instead of a God who is filled with endless grace, mercy, and love for me.
– My own lack of faith made it hard for me to interpret scripture in my favor.
– My own lack of faith made it hard for me to understand how God viewed me.
– My own lack of faith made me view “obedience” as rules that held me back instead of healthy boundaries that would set me free.
The other most powerful book I read in 2017 was The Power of the Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy (gifted to me by my friend Chris Winfield). I LOVE reading books by psychologists who reference scripture and/or spirituality. It helps me align bigger belief to God’s Will for my life. ((The Big Leap by Gay Hendrix was amazing as well. I read it in less than a week. It talks about what happens when we place a limit on our happiness, love, and success.))
I realized that if there are successful (AND HAPPY) people who believe that the Universe is always on their side, why can’t I believe that the God of the Universe would want the exact same amount of success (or even more) for me?
A couple weeks ago my pastor was talking about “Religious Jesus” vs. “Real Jesus”. He said “How we view Jesus determines how we relate to Jesus.” I’ve never heard anything more true.
He is the Alpha & the Omega. He is the beginning & the end. He is the image of the invisible God. He is the bread of life. He is the light of the world. He is the Great I AM. He is the Good Shepherd. He is our Great High Priest. He is the Way, the Truth, & the Life. He is the King of Kings & the Lord of Lords. He is EXTRAORDINARY. #wearevictory
(You can watch the full message here.)
THIS is why relationship is important.
You either believe God wants you to win or you don’t. And you won’t know the truth solely from religion . You’ll know the truth from a personal relationship.
Now that I know and believe the Truth, I can get out of my own way.
So here’s what I want you to take away:
– Set boundaries with relationships that keep you limited.
– Break barriers on limited thinking.
– Set a vision for exactly what you want (and watch it come to life).
– Believe that God wants more and THE BEST for you.
What did you learn in 2017, and how does your word for 2018 reflect that?