Say Oh!

“Each breath that we breathe is a display of His mercy.

So even weary hearts can sing a song of thanksgiving…”

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Sometimes I lose enthusiasm. Who doesn’t, though? There’s no shame in feeling ‘blah.’ There is shame, however, in letting that ‘blah-ness’ dictate your actions.

Here’s what I try to remember (and I’m grateful to have parents and friends who remind me often) when being overwhelmed makes me underwhelmed…when I’ve lost sight of my vision…when I’m barely trudging along…when I have trouble mustering up excitement about what I’m here to do…when I forget to celebrate…

I’ve been anointed. That’s not to say that I’ve been drenched in coconut oil (though my curls might appreciate that). But basically, being anointed means despite my doubts, my nature, or my flaws, God is merciful enough to breathe life into my lungs everyday so I can perform a specific set of skills with unnatural, unexplainable ease. Re-phrase… I don’t/can’t empower myself to do what I do. I don’t get bragging rights. I sing and write to inspire other people because my Creator gifted me the ability and the passion. And if I neglect that truth, He has every right and ability to revoke the privilege.

I’ve been appointed. A generous Creator destined my existence. He’s crafting my story to inspire and relate to somebody, so no matter how skeptical I am of my impact, it’s His impact to make. He’s burdened me to do something that someone else might not do as effectively, and not because I’m naturally any more skilled or worthy, but literally because He said, “Hmm… Maya Elizabeth…here’s a voice. Because I love you, I’m going to entrust it to you. Use it to introduce the world to healing, truth, and love… All the things that I am…”

I’ve been chosen. He’s etched my name on the very thing He gives me chance after chance to wake up and run after. He’s even merciful when I crawl… Do you get where I’m going? I have no excuse, essentially. I’m not here for me. I don’t exist to make art for my own delight and pleasure. At the end of the day, I’m not hustling to pat myself on the back. It’s bigger.

I’ve been graced. It is my responsibility to keep going. It’s my duty to remain steadfast and devoted, to act honorably, to live a life worthy of the gift and pleasing to the gift-giver, to show gratitude for every inhale, and bestow blessings with every exhale.

Even on a blah day, or during a blah week, month or beyond, I have every reason to sacrifice what and how I feel. If I’m alive, I have an assignment to fulfill, contributions to make, and seeds to sow. I’ve been selected and equipped. That, in my opinion, is pretty motivating and exciting. Just the thought gives me reason. So, although I sometimes have a hard time getting excited about my day-to-day, I should be grateful just to have a day-to-day and live it intentionally.

Anyway, the purpose of this rant was to describe the message in my latest single, The Anthem (Say Oh). As you listen, I hope the lyrics meet you where you are and provide somewhat of a pick-me-up to reignite your enthusiasm and your commitment to living on purpose. In every season, give thanks and keep going. That, essentially, is what this song means to me…

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Just Ask

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Our lives have meaning. That’s an absolute truth. But there are times our efforts in life lack meaning. There are seasons, perhaps, where we don’t contribute much, embrace our full potential, or use our gifts productively because we don’t know what we’re doing and we don’t ask for direction. We want to pour out, but we ourselves are too thirsty. We get stuck in a rut.
The graphic above pictures an excerpt from a song I wrote as a plea to my Source when I hadn’t written in a long, long time. Recently I was reflecting on these lyrics that have helped “un-rut” me during some dry times and began contemplating the following points. I thought about thirst and its remedy. I was reminded I have plenty of water at my disposal… I simply need to ask for it.
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1. We have to ask for what we truly need.
Sometimes we move in vain because our motives are misguided and dishonorable.
We can want success. We might fear failure. We can want money. We may be anxious about lacking financial security. We might chase a title so we can demand respect. We can pursue a relationship to secure a status or fill a personal void, perhaps. We may work hard and acquire those fabulous things, and that’s beautiful, but what will we do with them then? Pat ourselves on the back for a goal well accomplished, realize we’re as empty as before, and keep running after the next/better/more?
Instead of asking for visible or tangible things, what if we asked for wisdom? That’s an uncommon request. What about direction, guidance, strong judgment, or discernment? Image-1-1.jpgIf we sought as or more diligently to obtain those qualities, we’d probably make more effective decisions, and spend our time living more focused, purposeful and fulfilling lives.

2. Asking saves us time & trouble.
I’m honestly learning myself that we don’t have to expend and exhaust ourselves trying to figure out (on our own) what we’re supposed to do with our lives–in general, day-to-day, all of the above. We waste too much time running, walking, and crawling in circles when we could reach out for guidance and up for a lift. We pursue things that don’t align with God’s perfect plan for our lives. We just do what we feel like doing, or we do nothing because we don’t feel like it (guilty). Then, when our (non)efforts don’t totally pan out, we get angry, upset, or confused and find ineffective (and usually destructive) ways to cope.
3. We have to ask because we don’t have all the answers… but we have access to the One who does.
 So, if you want to know your purpose or how to live, ask the One who created you. First, get to know Him, then chat about what He had in mind when He decided you should exist. He already knows what He has for you and how he wants to prosper and not harm you. But we make ourselves too busy to sit down and converse, ask questions, listen intently, respond when necessary… This quality time and conversation fills us up–quenches our deep thirst for the answers we attempt to get in so many different places.
He shakes His head, “Child, if only you knew….” If only we recognized the access we have.
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We can literally just ask our Creator. Starting the dialogue is as simple as saying, “Hey, I believe you exist and you are who you say you are, and I trust you even though I can’t see you (that’s called faith, btw). Since I accept that you know best, can you lead me? My feelings/nature don’t seem to know how to get where we’re supposed to be going…” If you don’t even know you can talk to Him, you likely won’t ask Him anything… But I promise you can and you’ll want to.
But, anyway… Get to know the One who knows it all and become vulnerable enough to ask for wisdom and direction. Tell Him where you are and what you want. We all get thirsty. We’ve all been in a place (or will land in a place one day) where we realize we’ve gotten off track or lost all sense of meaning. That’s the space where we recognize we’re in need. And if we land there enough, we’ll know what we’ve been drinking doesn’t really satisfy.

Here’s How You Know You’re Doing Exactly What You’re Supposed To

Last week I officially launched what I’m referring to as my music movement. I published my website (http://www.mayaelizabethmusic.com) and made my first single, Come Ye, available for listening. Several individuals have asked how I feel about this exciting new journey, and with everything else going on in my life, my most honest answer is simply that I’m overwhelmed. I’m starting to process what it means to finally begin releasing my music and exposing my magnum opus, so to speak (at least to this point in my life), and wanted to share two realities I believe confirm I’ve made the right decision in pursuing this path. Encountering the following factors strongly suggests you’re moving in exactly the direction you ought.

First, when your choices and actions align with your purpose, their outcomes positively, and, I’d dare say, divinely impact others’ lives. You can’t possibly know all that everyone within your immediate or extended reach might endure. When what you produce, share, represent, express, or reveal meets multiple people–all from varying backgrounds, circumstances, experiences, etc.–exactly where they are, at exactly the right time, with the exact message, revelation, or encouragement they need, there is no explanation apart from the Supernatural. In these instances, you can rest assured that you’re operating not just in your strengths, but, moreover, in your gift-guided, God-granted, duty-driven destiny. You’re totally tapped into your best offering to honor your Creator, and your most productive and fulfilling contribution to empower the rest of creation.

But, also, you know you’re succeeding in your life’s mission when you face unparalleled opposition. If doing what you’re supposed to was easy, everyone would choose wisely, but the road less traveled is exactly that… Whether you choose to believe it or not, destructive forces work continually and all the more diligently against your progress when you determine to let faith lead you. The day after I’d launched and supporters flooded my timeline and inbox with exciting affirmations, my elation began to subside and give itself over to discouragement. For every lovely thought, it seemed there were ten more negative, doubting, anxious lies screaming, “Defeat! You’ve done nothing of real worth. Busy yourself. Your work was in vain. You deserve no rest.” And the worst lie of all…”Fraud! You barely embrace the hope your lyrics boast.” That was the final straw… That’s when I knew my enemy was in full-fledged attack mode. That’s when I realized rehearsing the truth was even more relevant and necessary than before.

So I’ve resolved: Yes, it’s true. I don’t have it all together. No, I’m not worthy of my gift and its potential impact. However, I know, even beyond my doubts, that my Creator commands my courage (Joshua 1:9). He demands that I suit up for battle to withstand the spiritual forces that rattle my mind (Ephesians 6). And, finally, He has already empowered, equipped, and authorized me to rightfully claim victory (Psalm 118:14)! These are just facts, and they’ve never brought more comfort than they have this past week.

Perhaps you identify with the two realities I’ve just explained. Keep on pressing. You’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to.

Truth is…

This week has been so exceptionally draining. Some days it seemed my efforts to persist and persevere barely surpassed the minimum. I inched my way from one to-do to the next on “E,” knowing full well a fill-up was overdue, and fought the pressure that urged, “You have no time to stop!”

I’ve known depletion. I’ve tried to ignore weakness. There were seasons where  I’d pass station after station, opportunity after opportunity to refuel, and just pray I wouldn’t totally break down before I reached my next destination.

Those experiences familiarized me with what happens when your mind, body and soul finally demand all the accumulated mini recoveries you’ve refused them along the way. So, this week, I took some moments to selah.

I set aside at least a few minutes each day for a reflective pitstop. I conversed with my Source and let Him challenge my thinking. I asked, “Why am I still here? Why me? Why am I doing this? What am I working toward?” I engaged my Creator, contemplating my purpose and begging for inspiration, and He gave me some answers. Here is some of the sustenance He bestowed:

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4. I summed up the above and other verses in this personal charge:Image-1-2.jpg

When I comment on how I rely on “truths” to refresh my soul, sustain my mind, and inspire my writing (in fact, I began writing a new song earlier this week), these are the types of reflections I’m talking about. The above reminders shifted my perspective to keep me going. It may have been just #barely, but I made it. As a reward, I enjoyed this gourmet, all natural #ChuaoChocolatier “Spicy Maya” dark chocolate bar (thanks, Mom♥). It was the perfect “veg” treat to celebrate the end of a long, rainy, demanding week. I’m weary, but, nevertheless, I’m victorious!

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