Fear is an emotion that is often triggered by a perceived threat. It is an uncontrollable sensation that our bodies use as a survival mechanism to combat danger in efforts to keep us safe, but the danger in fear is that it suppresses our ability by caging our minds. I have found myself allowing this unrealistic observation of life to keep me from several blessings that God had designed specifically for me. My father use to tell me, as a child, that F.E.A.R. stood for False Evidence Appearing Real, and although I was aware that this emotion was only heightened by my imagination, I still tried to make sense of complete insanity.
A recent fear I’ve been dealing with is how I am perceived by others. This fear is deceitfully problematic because no one is perfect, and people are going to think what they want to think regardless of the choices we make in life. In May of 2016, I found out that I was pregnant. This both scared the pants off me and brought me immediate inexpiable joy. Confused due to the array of emotions that rushed over me, I made the conscious (and fearful) decision to allow myself to be unhappy for months.
I was experiencing an internal battle; fighting against what I thought others would think of me as well as what I was thinking of myself. I had spent my whole life helping other people sort out their life “issues,” but for the first time I realized that it is impossible to help others if I was unable to help myself. I had truly fallen into a state of depression. But, I found that by acknowledging the unique position I was in, I had an opportunity to investigate, up close, and in person, what the face of depression in Black America looked like, and most of all felt like.
The same pain that I was experiencing is what was paralyzing, and keeping so many young African Americans isolated. Coming to terms with my reality was truly a struggle. I’ve always been the person to make sound decisions, I was a role model to so many young women including my 4 sisters, so I found it hard to explain to everyone that the responsible DeVynne that they knew took a turn for what I considered at the time to be the worst. When I found out I was pregnant, I knew I had one of two options. I could run away from the situation at hand and abort mission… literally. Or, I could be a woman and face one of my biggest fears, which was that of becoming a “statistic.”
I prayed for weeks and of course tried to make sense of all my obvious choices. I tried to imagine my life as both a young mother struggling to accomplish her goals, and then as a care free millennial in route to graduating college who could still be selfish and live life as she pleased. God and I had some heated debates during those first two months, but as always, he was merciful and gave me strength. I decided to face my fear and trust, that I would and could beat the odds, despite how the world would try to define me.
By trusting God, he repaid me by opening doors left and right. God literally set me up for greatness in a matter of days! I was offered a job in my field making more than most college students ever see, even after receiving their degree. I then moved off campus into a house that was fully furnished, and not once have I missed a payment on any of my bills. I was also able to purchase a 2017 Honda Accord Sport, and I look forward to soon being a homeowner who is working on obtaining a Master’s degree.
The moral of the story is, God can and will exceed our expectations no matter what the situation looks like. If I were to let others define me based on the circumstances of my situation, I would have never mirrored the image God designed me to be. As humans, we fall short of glory daily and we put ourselves in situations that we often could avoid, but a mistake does not have to define who we are and neither does someone else’s opinion. However, we are defined by our character and how we handle and respond to the situations we face. Never let anyone else tell you what you will amount to because they are not the author of your life’s story. We are blessed every day with new mercy and new grace, so we cannot allow our yesterday to bleed onto our pages of tomorrow.