Being Series: Being Debbie Shasanya
Who is Debbie Shasanya?
I'm semi-struggling to explain who or what Being Debbie Shasanya is right now. I guess because last year (2017) when Dara asked me to write for her Being series, I could of easily written about Being Debbie Shasanya aka ASOS Magazine's Senior Production Coordinator aka @asos_debbie aka the girl who brought her daily heel wearing colourful outfits to the 'gram and kept her followers hahahahaha-ing at her random Instagram stories. I was living my best life but if I was to today measure my best life by having an impressive wardrobe, getting lots of free stuff, attending industry events and having over 30k followers - life has taken a turn for the worse. 60 days into 2018 I am no longer she since I quit my job at ASOS after 6.5 years simply because I did not want that life anymore. While I now go by my government name Debbie, am down to 1k followers on my personal Insta and still have a pretty impressive wardrobe: I have absolutely no regrets about leaving ASOS. Even when friends, family members and followers seemed surprised over my sudden departure, God's peace (the kind that surpasses all understanding) seemed to come over me so I knew it was the right move.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
I want to put it out there that ASOS was good to me, real good, too good in fact and God's favour was oh so real. However, I was super comfortable in my role on the magazine so I decided to step up and out of ASOS in faith. (Throwback to 2011 to when I did the same thing while working for the Police - had I not done so, ASOS would never have happened!) Plus, I recognised that while most of my horizontal relationships [with people] were in a good place, my vertical one [with God] could do with a whole lot more effort. Don't get me wrong: God and I were good, but I wanted God and me to be better. All the time and energy and attention I was putting into my job, social life & even church kinda left me spiritually starving so I decided to start the first month of 2018 in some much needed quiet and alone time with Him.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
While January was a dry [reads no alcohol, no meat] month for some, I spent mine with my mobile switched completely off and a mind determined to do what Matthew 6:33 speaks about: seek.God.first. I wanted (and somewhat needed) to do so without the noise of a full-time job, without the expectancy to post 'n' host my life on Instagram and without the distraction of my iPhone. So did I do much seeking? Well, I think I did more in 31 days than I did throughout the 365 days of 2017! By jumping into God's word I read & studied the most bible I have ever read on my own: going all the way into the scriptures above and beyond what I would usually get at church on a Sunday. This coupled with 6 am on my knees prayer on the daily (which btw could have only been made a thing because of God, since me + super early mornings = problematic) I guess was the start of something.
O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You;
Saying that, while I have learnt to study and search the scriptures for myself and start my day off with prayer - Lord knows the seeking Him first part is still a work in progress. In my head (which is a complex random colourful place) seeking God first meant closing in on that distance that I felt has long been between us. Seeking Him first also meant a complete heart and head change about who He is despite what my doubts (God is not going to come through for you Debs) or the world (God isn't real Debs) or the enemy (you're worthless and inadequate Debs) kept telling me. Yet the reality is I am not quite there yet as these thoughts still linger. I feel like a lot has been stripped away from me too which really shows how much of my identity was in my job at ASOS. Weirdly, I'm in no real rush to find another job - although I do miss having the financial security of a salary especially since I have a penchant for buying ridiculously expensive shoes. Recently I told a friend that it seems everyone around me is winning in life because they have high-paying jobs, their own homes, cars, side business and husbands while I'm on this lonely self-inflicted sabbatical kinda journey and having no real clue where I am going next. But I have long learnt that all that glitters is not gold. Sometimes it is, other times it can be gold plated or imitation gold as my Nigerian mum would say.
"Take heed and beware of covetousness,[a] for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."
This is the part where I could tell you I am simply gonna keep trusting God just like that. Or that I'm gonna keep praising Him in the hallway until He opens that next door. But no. This is the part where I admit I am low-key scared of the unknown and bizarrely think God has forgotten all about me even though His track record has proven otherwise. I remind myself of code 257 (that's 2 Corinthians 5:7) but I keep doing it vice versa - sight first, faith coming after.
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7
Yet despite my sometimes overly emotional faithless self, I still rest in the truth that God is still God, period, and He still sits on the throne.
If we are faithless, He remains faithful...
2 Timothy 2:13
I often remind myself of this: 'You cannot base God's existence on your feelings Debs, you're not that special baby girl!' The beauty of it is that God somehow still uses my struggles, my weaknesses, my limitations. Nothing gets wasted.
And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:19
On reflection, I am actually enjoying my season of unemployment. Life has slowed down to a nice pace where I am able to notice more, do more, seek more. And God seems to be speaking to me more too. Tbh I reckon He has always been trying to but there has just been too much noise for me to hear Him. The too much noise was the working from 9 beyond 5 into midnight and getting home too tired to pray but subsequently not too tired to jump on Youtube to watch a marathon of Skinny Girl in Transit followed by a Jackie Aina tutorial followed by a Patricia Bright clothing haul smh. The too much noise was reaching for that enemy of any sort of productivity progress aka my phone instead of reaching for my NKJV. Side note: I am not here trying to rebuke the spirit of a full-time job/iPhone/Youtube consumption but I needed to check me, myself and I since I was getting consumed by these things. Am I better than anyone else for it? I sure am not. But am I better for it? I sure am.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
On a random side note, I really want to start a movement. It's called the get off your phone and pick up your bible movement. (Fyi I stole borrowed that get off your phone/bible part from someone's Instagram bio.) But seriously I want this to be a thing. The read yo' bible movement. It may only garner one or two active followers since no one wants to read their bible anymore but one or two is a start. But maybe I should just focus on making sure I am part of this movement myself and I stay committed to it so I can practice what I'm tryna preach. Yeah maybe.
I don't think I have quite answered who Being Debbie Shasanya is yet, especially at this new season of my life. Perhaps because I have just come out of a place where so many people could tell me who I was: asos_debbie. But as I said, I am no longer she. I now go by my Christian name Debbie and am down to 1k followers on my personal Insta. As for that pretty impressive wardrobe? Well about a third of it is going to be put up for sale on Depop as soon as I get round to it.