Happy new year!
As 2018 drew to a close, I received a text from a friend who I lead a Bible study with. She asked me and another lady who led the group with us what word we would use to sum up 2018. I hadn’t given it much thought until she texted me; however, as I began to reflect on 2018 I realized that my word to summarize 2018 would be “renewal.”
I selected the word “renewal” because 2018 became the year where I began to truly let go of the things that were too small for me. I let go of small thinking and a small mindset that led me to believe that I wasn’t worthy. This is a very hard thing to admit because I was showing up for the FNPhenomenal community and trying to empower and motivate others when there were periods of time when I needed so much of it myself. What many of you don’t realize is that for a couple of years, there were extended periods of time where I didn’t shower, wear clean clothes, or even wash my hair. I convinced myself that I skipped those things because I didn’t have enough time because I needed to make sure the twins had everything they needed and wanted. Then once I did that, any other time was spent working on FNPhenomenal-related stuff or serving others. Because I was so busy, there just never seemed to be any time left over for me. However, those excuses were just self-deception. It turns out I didn’t do those things because I didn’t think I was worthy.
This is why it’s important to have people in our lives who will tell us the truth and can see through the lies that we tell ourselves. The moment of truth came when I realized I was losing myself in motherhood and I decided to talk about it to a friend of mine. I asked her to help me create a schedule that allowed me to have more time for me, rest more, and not battle with so much sleep-deprivation and exhaustion. I said that I wanted to be able to pour into me, but despite my desires, my small mindset resisted at every turn. When my friend came up with an idea, I rejected it. I said it would never work or I don’t have the time. She got frustrated because even when she found the time, there was something else that I felt needed to go in that time slot. Then, she asked me why I was resisting the change and why I came up with a problem for every idea she had. I always had someone to help or something that had to be done before I did anything for myself. That’s when I realized that although I said I wanted things to be different, my mindset and beliefs about myself had other plans.
When confronted, I realized that deep down I didn’t feel like I deserved to be clean or wear clean clothes. I focused on my limitations and what I wouldn’t be able to do because I am a single mom. Although loving motherhood and loving my children, I realized that I constantly held myself hostage to how I imagined I would have kids and the guilt that I had when things didn’t work out that way. I also failed to see just how gracious, merciful, and loving God has been to me and to my children. Although I believed in God’s love, grace, and forgiveness for other people, I didn’t believe in forgiveness for myself or that God’s grace could cover me or my sins. Despite teaching it and believing it for other people, deep down I questioned whether it applied to me too.
However, that changed in 2018. In 2018, I decided to pour into the Word of God in a way that I hadn’t done before. I decided to see just what God said about me and why He sent Jesus to die on the cross even for me. I studied Zechariah 3:1-5 and saw that what I saw as dirty, God made clean. I started to understand who I am in Christ, and I started to anchor myself in my identity in Christ. Doing that deep dive in the scriptures, I finally began to understand that my outward appearance was a reflection of how I felt about myself in the inside. You see, what is in the dark always comes to light. Thus, when I allowed God to shed light on those feelings of unworthiness, He was able to expose those fraudulent thoughts that were holding me hostage and then replace that darkness with His truth and light – my identity in Christ. Armed with that new truth, I started to let go of the small thinking that the enemy was using to trap my mind. My mindset changed and my outward appearance started to change too. I began to shower, wear clean clothes, wash my hair, and even make the occasional splurge of getting a mani-pedi and massage. Everything changed when I stopped reading the Bible to see what to teach others, and instead to read the Bible to learn who I am in Christ.
One of the other benefits was that I stopped martyring myself to be all and do all for everyone else – including my kids. I had everything backward. I thought I had to sacrifice myself on the altar of the perfect, superhero mom to make up for the fact that my kids don’t have a dad when my kids never placed that expectation on me nor did they want that from me. They didn’t want a frantic, burned out mom, running around all the time to make sure everything was perfect for them while not taking care of herself. They just wanted me. God just wants me too. People who truly love you want what’s best for you and want your presence. We get it messed up and confused with our own expectations of what it means to be perfect when neither a perfect person (other than Jesus) nor perfect motherhood exists.
I had to let go of the small-minded thinking that if I took a few minutes to shower; do my own laundry so I could have clean clothes; take some time to sit and sip coffee by myself; buy something just for me without having it be 100% for the kids or at least share it with the kids; take time for self-care; or even rediscover things that I like to do as a human instead of things only related to motherhood then I wasn’t taking care of my kids, I was selfish or I didn’t love my children enough. I realized that wasn’t true and that God also has a purpose for me as His daughter. It was okay for me to also pour into me.
Learning who I am in Christ helped me to break free of these false thoughts and create a new narrative in my life. That new narrative gave me more peace, more free time, and more sleep. It allowed me to truly focus on motherhood God’s way and begin to see my kids as God created them – which only comes from slowing down and just being present. I began to see my worth and learn to say “no” to requests that weren’t aligned with God’s purpose for me without the fear that if I said “no”, that person wouldn’t like me anymore. I learned that if they only liked me because of what I could do for them and then “In the name of Jesus, God bless you, Bye Felicia Bye!”
Also, I began to realize that even with the new direction of FNPhenomenal, what started as a desire to uplift and empower single moms, became a reflection of my single mom guilt that manifested itself in defiance. I started to write to defy my own perceived limitations as a single mom and also to give a big “screw you, watch me work” to anyone who ever doubted me or said something mean about me to my face or behind my back. It also was a defiant raised fist, in the name of Jesus, to anyone who had negative views of single moms. My desire for FNPhenomenal was to be a vehicle to empower single moms to have hope, but sometimes that hope that I wrote about was tinged with lessons for single moms to lean on their own strength despite my best efforts to turn them to Christ. It’s hard to truly empower others in Christ when one isn’t healed themselves.
However, the blinders and veil are being lifted from my eyes. God is showing me that it’s not about defiance but rather about direction, direction to the one who is able – Jesus Christ. When we find Jesus, we can drop our baggage, burdens, and anxieties at the feet of Jesus and rest. We can rest in who we are in God, rest that Jesus has it under control, rest that God is making a way out of no way, and rest that if we submit to God, pick up our cross and follow Him, then He will lead us by still waters, He will lift the burden from us, and He will lead us down straight paths, and we and our children will be okay.
One of the prayers that really helped me was to ask the Lord to help me see myself as God sees me. Then I prayed and fasted and I continued to ask God to lift the veil from my eyes to realign how I viewed myself to see my worth and identity in Christ. I’m so excited that God answered my prayers. Not only did He realign how I saw myself, but He also gifted me with such a beautiful gift of renewal. God truly renewed my mind and spirit. I’m so grateful that God stepped in, slowed things down, delayed things that I thought would launch, and brought me back to the Source – Him.
Therefore, a critical part of realigning your thoughts and mindset is to take inventory of where you are and where you want to go. As you go into 2019 as yourself these questions:
- What word would I use to sum up 2018?
- What went well and what didn’t go well in 2018?
- What barriers prevented me from accomplishing what I wanted to accomplish in 2018? What lessons did I learn from those barriers that I can apply in 2019?
- What are my goals for 2019?
- How did I do resting and practicing self-care? How can I either keep up the consistency or do better in 2019?
- How can I go deeper in prayer and my relationship with God?
- What can I do to point my children to Jesus?
Also, please make time in the new year to read your Bible and to read books that will help you on your journey. Here are some books that I recommend. I’m listing 2 blog posts where I wrote about books that have helped me learn how to pray and have also helped me in motherhood. I’m also listing a podcast episode, and a couple of books that I haven’t written blog posts about yet, but plan to in the future.
Blog Post: 3 Books That Helped To Teach Me How To Pray
Podcast episode: Parenting God’s Way
Therefore, I encourage you to identify the small thoughts and the limitations that you placed in your life or maybe even in the lives of your kids. Take the limits off of God and see just how much He will show up in your life.
If you want to learn more about taking the limits off of God, growing your faith, and saving more, then join the 5-Day Finance and Faith Transformation Journey today!
Aisha Taylor is a single mom of twins, personal financial coach, work from home entrepreneur, and #1 Amazon Best Selling Author of the book “5+5 FNPhenomenal Ways to Save $100 This Week Without Killing Your Lifestyle.” Aisha has been featured in ESSENCE, Jet Magazine, and Black Enterprise. She is also the Founder of FNPhenomenal (Frugal –n- Phenomenal), a movement designed to help single moms create a vision for their lives, craft a financial strategy to support that vision, and show them that phenomenal living is possible. It’s time for you to be Financially Phenomenal!