“The most common regret of the dying was this: they wish they’d had the courage to live a life true to themselves and not the life others expected of them.” – Donald Miller, Scary Close
I’ve been pretty silent on this blog since having Veda, with the exception of letters to our kids. There’s a number of factors that go into it…like having three kids takes up a lot of time, then throw in two entrepreneur parents and there’s even less time. However, I also think I’ve been hiding a bit. I watch everyone else on their blogs or their social media and think to myself, I’m not good enough. I don’t have anything important to say. I want to inspire women to rise up and step into things they feel led to, yet I have felt hidden in my own skin, trying to figure out what God’s doing within in me. But isn’t that what matters, that I am trying to figure it out? It will never be completely “figured out” but I do believe I can find peace for the stage I’m at and ask God to continue to reveal where he wants me. I need to be open to change.
I have hid the past year behind what I thought others expected of me. I have a super fun photography business and I thought others expected me to be featured on a popular blog, awarded in a popular magazine and continue to push myself to be more like the successful senior photographers out there. And then one high school senior said, “Maya, I don’t care about all that junk. I just love the way you made me feel at my session.” I was focusing on the wrong thing. I now have slowly stopped following other senior photographers, stopped comparing myself and doing things I thought others expected of me. And what swooped in…freedom, peace, openness for other things.
Then we decided to tackle something that always seemed to be nagging, our debt. We fell into the thinking that is so common…”we’ll just always have debt.” We realized always having debt held us back from being able to give or serve in ways God might call us to. So we both brainstormed ways to make extra money and Younique dropped in my lap after multiple friends held online parties. I signed up as a Presenter but then something kept saying to me, “You can’t sell makeup, you barely do your makeup now.” And then I heard, “You can’t inspire other women to change their life financially and empower them into more confidence.” And I believed it. A friend would ask what I was doing and I would laugh it off. I closed down again.
But this weird thing has happened as time has gone on. I now see how God is using Younique to help me continue on how strongly I want women to believe deep in their hearts that they are a beautiful, unique masterpiece God created. And they can do anything they put their mind to…and use it to change the world in their unique way.
I’ve hid behind the no-makeup thing for awhile, or the just a little bit of makeup routine. I’m not over the top now but I have no fear of putting on some fun eye shadow and bold lip color. It took me a bit as I asked my husband, is this too much makeup? His response was always positive telling me how much he loved it and I still sat in that stage of what others expected of me. I felt like they expected me to be more of a plain Maya, than a bold Maya.
And then I allowed in openness again. Somehow making videos showing ladies how to use makeup and taking selfies to show how much fun I’m having wearing red lips, has made me realize how God has created me. I have imperfections that he loves and sees them as perfect, because that’s the way he created me. He enjoys if I take delight in rocking a fun lip stick or trying something new. I’m sure he smiles as I encourage other women and help them see their beauty.
Then the other day as I took a selfie trying to show how long the lip stain lasted, I was holding my daughter who saw herself in the camera and immediately started smiling. Her nose gets all scrunched up and her big eyes get squinty as she shows her precious dimples. But then I noticed something. She wasn’t looking at herself, she was looking at me in the camera. She was watching her mom be more confident to do something fun and sharing that with other women. I want her to continue to see that.
Can we all be kinder to ourselves? Can we wake up each day and say to God, “I have the courage to do today the way you want, not the way others expect.” There is power in being open and approaching the world in this way. The world needs this of us…needs this of me.