Am I a sellout? Did I turn my back on “my people”? Am I ashamed of the person I used to be? These are questions that race through my mind every day. I am afraid that someday the answers to these questions will be yes.
The picture above is BOTH of my families. I love each one dearly. At the top is my family God has chosen for me.
My family above have taught me to preserve through hardships in life that I have faced. Growing up we didn’t have much but we had more than others sometimes. We made the best of what we did have. In the inner city of Houston I was labeled. Based on my reading scores when I was in grade school I have a jail cell ready for me. Sad, but true! As a teen growing up I knew that I was different from most people in my community. Not because I was better than everyone, but because in all honesty I was afraid. I was afraid of becoming someone that people call a THUG. I was afraid being shot or even killed. I was afraid of being like people I saw everyday fighting for survival on the streets.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18
As an adult now I have discovered that I am where I am supposed to be. Currently I live in Tulsa, Ok where I serve as the Boys Life Minister at Contact Church. What an honor it is?!? As the boys minister I walk with boys that many people will turn back or even ignore. The same fears that I had in my youth are the same fears I have for my boys. Every summer we go camping in Missouri. Our last night of camp is when I share my testimony. Usually when I am doing sharing my story the looks on the kids’ faces are confused. It was like they don’t believe what I have told them. They tell me that I don’t act “black” or I act “white”. why do people think that of me? How do I act black? How am I acting white? Never in my life have I been so curios about something. Truth is we grow up to believe that we have to do this, that, etc. in our culture and other races have they own titles.
The picture below is a picture of my Tulsa family. A family that chose me. People who welcomed me with open arms and tell me that they love me. You can see that I have a bigger smile than the one above. Yes! It is because I am happy with life and surrounded by the people who encourages me to take the extra mile because they believe in me. In Tulsa, I get to be myself. Back home in Houston would receive criticism on who I am. Tulsa is my new home with new fears. I am afraid that I would not be able to reach every kid in the neighborhood. I am afraid that I would not be the light that God has made me to be. I am afraid that I will fail as fighter for God’s kingdom.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”. Isaiah 41:10
“Being Afraid can be your biggest motivation” – Paul Bailey