Throughout your life FEAR will always find a way to make a guest appearance. FEAR will never show up without a story…a story from your past that replays in your present and future mind that has convinced you that you will not succeed if you tried again or even tried at all. The details in the story are so believable and difficult to imagine past the pain. You have carried that pain because you have convinced yourself that you can’t do it. But I’m here to report to you that as I continue to work on every area of my life that is still dealing with FEAR, there is one area of my life that I conquered FEAR after several years of replaying the story….
I call this blog “Fear 2.0”
I was in middle school at a pool party and while standing at the edge of the pool one of the boys at the party was playing around with some of the people there and as he was running around, he came by me and with both hands, pushed me from behind into the 8 feet part of the pool. All I can remember is me fighting the water terrified because I could not swim. While in the water bobbing up and down, I managed to fight my way to the side of the pool and I pulled myself up as much as I could then I felt the help of 2 adults. In my mind I was drowning but I don’t know if that was known at the time until I was able to catch my breath and then I said to the 2 adults that helped me that I was drowning in the pool and I then pointed to the boy who threw me in. I asked to be picked up early from the party due to being embarrassed and humiliated and the little boy got in trouble. This is the incident that birthed the FEAR of swimming.
Fast-forward to 2005: I am now a young adult in my 20’s and I took a trip to Hawaii for my birthday with a girlfriend. I told her I could not swim but I would try snorkeling since you didn’t have to go out into the deep parts of the water. My thought was I could just stick my face in the water with my facemask and head out maybe 2 or 3 hundred yards from the shoreline. It was an epic fail. The girlfriend that was with me didn’t know how to speak to my fear and help me develop the confidence and knowledge I needed in order to snorkel. It doesn’t make her a bad person at all but it was a reminder to me that conquering fear not only is an inside job but it also includes having the right people in your life who can speak directly to that fear.
Fast-forward to 2014: I reached a point of no return with fear and finally got up the nerve to tell a friend that I needed to learn how to swim so one Saturday in the summer time we went to an indoor pool at a recreation center and he spoke to my fear. He convinced me to put my trust in him and not fear by stating his credentials and experience. The longer he talked and showed me in the water that I was in good hands, the more trust I developed in him. After a few hours of applying the technique that he taught me, he slowly let my hand go but stayed in arms reach as I successfully, for the first time, swam a lap across the 8 foot depth of water to the opposite end of the pool. I kept swimming until fear was completely eliminated from my mind.
Fast Forward to 2019 – January 7th – 11th I took a vacation with a girlfriend to St. Lucia and at the time did not know she was not only an amazing swimmer but her favorite thing to do on vacation was to snorkel.
Even though I was now confident in my swimming ability, I still had a fear about snorkeling that never left me from that Epic Fail in Hawaii that still played in my mind. I told her my fear with snorkeling and she convinced me to put my trust in her and not fear by stating her credentials and experience. The longer she talked and showed me in the water that I was in good hands, the more trust I developed in her
She never stops talking to me in the process, which gave fear no opportunity to replay my mental story
Slowly but surely I’m snorkeling…the epic fail from 2005 convinced me that the rambling of the sound of water which reminded me of the fight I had in the pool as a young girl in middle school robbed me of a beautiful experience. Now as an adult I am blown away at the quietness of the water and the visible beauty of the fish and the coral of the ocean. I jumped out of the water and said out loud in amazement how quiet it is underwater and how proud I am that I can enjoy this experience without fear. This snorkeling experience allowed me to see some beautiful sergeant major fish as my girlfriend threw bread at me so that she could snap the perfect picture.
While conquering one fear, another fear made an encore appearance but in a different form. You see, fear is very sneaky and will show up when you least expect it. What I learned about the difference between Fear and Truth is that fear is False Evidence Appearing Real and believing Truth in a matter means conformity to fact or reality. In both situations the 2 individuals that were with me when fear tried to replay the story of failure in my mind, they both presented credentials and evidence in order for me to conquer fear. That’s the power of TRUTH. It will always have real evidence to confirm it’s validity but Fear will make false claims that will always look and feel like its real.
It’s not necessary to always have someone there in order to conquer fear because you have the power to change that fear in you on your own but in my case, God positioned the right people around me who helped me to develop the confidence and skills in order to combat fear. Question? If you took inventory of the people around you do they have the ability to help you fight fear? As you continue to live, you will begin to understand the importance of connections and attachments. While connections will feed you (ex: enhance your well being), attachments will drain you (ex: take more than it gives and rarely if ever reciprocate what’s being given). Fear has to be conquered from the inside out so monitor the voices in you and around you.
Xoxo Charlene Evans
Facebook: Chiccy Baritone ~ Poet
Annually for the past 10 years I would do a 21 day fast the first 21 days of a New Year. It’s my personal way to spiritually cleanse not only my body but my mind and to seek guidance from the holy spirit concerning my life, assignments that God have put in me to do and my overall journey to becoming the woman of God that He has destined me to be. But this year, God “flipped the script” on me and in my prayer time unctioned me to fast the LAST 21 days of the year going into the New Year and today is day 21. I wanted to share a ‘few’ things that have happened in the last 21 days.
When I think it through, the holidays are ALWAYS hard and honestly I just want to close my eyes and wake up to a New Year as a way to ‘bypass’ experiencing another holiday without my mom or a family of my own. But God always orchestrates my time and company constructively. He fills that void with family and friends that reach out to me intentionally to make sure they extend an invite and I’m forever grateful. It took me years to understand and accept to appreciate and celebrate the ones that are here and make their presence in your life known.
On my 21 day Sabbatical I ‘stepped away’ from all of my social media activity. However, because I am an artist and still receive inquiries about bookings through my personal page, I did log on to redirect those inquires to my booking manager. I didn’t scroll or look at my timeline….I know, it was tempting but I was in a good place with the time away and I was hearing God instruct in several areas of my life in a “clear and precise” manner without distractions and that became more important for me to get back to so the temptation was very short lived.
So what did I do? Here are a few things I want to share:
- I had the honor and privilege to speak at a women’s conference called,”Im God’s Girl For Real” in Orlando, FL and was sitting next to a one of the speakers name Candice Jones who wrote a book called,”Food For Faith – 14 Days of Powerful Declarations To Fuel Your Faith.” I read this book the first 14 days of my 21 day fast and these declarations reinforced my love for God and my FAITH. The remaining 7 days, I would go back and re-read my declarations. This book is a must read. Please visit http://www.candicejones.com to get your copy!
- I started the Keto Diet after 2 weeks of research on my own and testimonies from a co-work who’s wife has been dedicated for almost a year. I downloaded the e-book,”Getting Sexy With Kendra – Living A Ketogenic Lifestyle” and this girl is BAD! *smile*….In a nutshell the regimen is based on high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrates. This forces the body to use dietary and bodily fats as it’s primary energy source, rather than running on carbohydrates; this is called ketosis. I have had to make some adjustments to my macros as my body had to adjust to this change and let’s just say, I’m definitely headed in the right direction! I feel amazing and this journey continues on~
- I will be a first time author in 2019 and this time has been spent working on 2 major books that are very personal to me that I started years ago but have struggled to finish for various reasons. A book about my mom and her health journey and what God showed me and continues to show me with the hopes that someone will be encouraged and blessed by my testimony. My other book will be my long awaited poetry book. I was able to really focus and go deep in my heart, mind and soul on these two projects and I’m excited about releasing them to the public.
When was the last time you ‘stepped away?’ from the digital world because the pull on your life was felt in such a powerful way? Did you obey that feeling or did you make excuses? Sure, I have a consistent online presence and I’m sure my followers would be wondering what’s going on but where does your devotion truly lie as it relates to you life for real? Distractions are not always bad and they are not always good but they can affect productivity and that is what God showed me about ‘me.’ In my idle time, I habitually would pick my phone up and scroll through my social media sites and God told me that you are not using your time ‘wisely’ and your assignments are being delayed. It arrested me in a way that I will do no justice in trying to ‘explain,’ so I obeyed and God downloaded more the plan and purpose for my life to me. I’m still going through what He said and i’m looking forward to sharing my spirit….
2019…….as declared by my pastor, Anthony Murray of Oasis Church, the year of INVESTMENT….2018 was the year of PREPARATION. My first year being a resident of Atlanta, GA was spent preparing and growing publicly and privately but what I have gained in insight PRIVATELY? To be continued……
Happy New Years Eve….May you enter into a New Year with a renewed mind:-)
I notice over several weeks going into my office building a sign that was posted on a door leading out to the parking garage. This sign simply said, “Pardon Our Progress.” The more I would read this sign coming in every morning for the past several weeks, the more it begin to resonate in my spirit. I begin to think about how that simple message has so much profound meaning. The phrase made me think about myself and what kind of progress have I made. Sure, this message was on the door in lieu of the entire building going through various stages of construction but I could not help but think to myself, “Pardon My Progress.”
But it doesn’t make sense right? Because the meaning of Pardon is: the action of forgiving or being forgiven for an error or offense and when I think about some of the things I have changed in my life for the better, I don’t owe anyone an apology for that! So it’s really a little play on words. To define Progress means forward or onward movement toward a destination.
I am familiar with seeing a sign of this nature especially when some kind of work or construction is being done and it would normally say, “Pardon The Mess,” which made more sense. But the phrase, “Pardon Our Progress” is intended to state that this mess that you see now, is a work in progress towards something greater, an improvement, an upgrade. (WHEW~ That BLESSED ME!)
One major change I made on April 11, 2018 was purchase an Apple Watch to keep me accountable with my physical activity and to commit to a workout time that would best accommodate my busy days. For the past 2 months I have been getting up at 5am Monday – Friday doing ‘fasting’ cardio for 30 – 45mins to kick off my day. This change has made a major impact on my life in multiple ways: My energy levels are up and when I get to the office I am ready and alert for work. I love coffee but I don’t feel like I have to depend on it to perk up my mood. I feel better and my body, along with watching my food intake, has resulted in a stronger, healthier body as I continue to slim down gradually.
This change physically has also changed my time management. I wasted a lot of time after work watching several hours of television leaving only a few hours to read and to work on more constructive projects. I really desired to get in more time reading but also time to work on some personal business goals for myself. As a result of staying more active during the day, it helped me to focus longer in the evenings without feeling too tired from the work day. Talk about a huge CHANGE for me! Progress should be measurable in order to be effective meaning you should know what you should change, create a record and test through trial and error. Progress always involves risk. “You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” ~quote by Fredrick Wilcox
Look at it this way also…Progress does not only just involve all of the positive changes you have made but mistakes and failures are also progress! Especially if what you have learned has taught you what not to do! This result gets you closer to a solution or destination in your life because the goal is to be able to look back over your life and witness to progressive changes of yourself. There is a quote by Muhammad Ali that says, “A man who views the world the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
Let that marinate….
So, let me give it to you All Black, No Creamer, No Sugar, No Honey…
You have talked yourself into thinking a little change isn’t worth the effort because you looked at the end result from the end instead of looking at the end result from the beginning…the bible says to not despise small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin..(Zechariah 4:10). Progress is Progressive….it doesn’t go from 0 to 100…it’s 99 other steps that you missed or ignored. Take it one step at a time until what you desire is present.
So “sorry not sorry” for how I have progressed in a little over 2 months. I don’t owe anyone an apology but I owe it to myself to do whatever I need to do in order to present my BEST self. #unapologeticallyPROGRESSING…..are YOU?
Xoxo Charlene Evans
Facebook: Chiccy Baritone ~ Poet
Are You Coming In Or Are You Staying Out?
I can remember on those hot summer days playing outside with my friends, we will make frequent stops at my house to either use the bathroom, get something cool to drink or going in and out “just because”. I can still hear my mom screaming from the inside of the house saying, “Are you coming in or are you staying out, because you are letting mosquitos inside the house!” My friends and I would quickly run out and shut the door behind us. My mom was very adamant about a decision being made and if we didn’t make it she was definitely going to make it for us. Having the door swinging open and close was never an ideal situation because not only were mosquitos a problem, so was her central air! Running your air conditioning unit in the summer was expensive and my hard working parents didn’t play that!
When I think about the importance of understanding the changes in relationships (platonic and personal), I feel like my mommy and her feelings on letting the air out. A decision has to be made. Either you are in or you are out. Managing and dealing with relationships changing is tough and sometimes down right difficult. Whether you have been friends over several years or made an acquaintance with someone fairly new that you are interested in, feeling like a relationship is starting to feel or become lukewarm has to be acknowledged but not necessarily addressed. This depends on the nature of the connection and the reason you may feel that it has reached an ‘in-between’ state.
Guess what? This is also the same way we deal with our personal relationship with God. We are in and out..just fickle… Sometimes we go to church and sometimes we don’t. We don’t pray and sometimes we do. We don’t read our bibles to gave knowledge and wisdom and sometimes we do. We don’t cultivate the relationship and build on desiring a deeper relationship with God for various reasons and then claim to not understand why we are not experiencing the fullness of God. The bible calls this behavior being ‘lukewarm.’
“So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” ~ Revelation 3:16
This is by no means a personal attack, so please don’t take it as such. Rather, think about the areas in your life where you know you could give God more because we ALL have them. Let me raise my hand FIRST! Just like you don’t care for someone who seems to be ‘in and out’ of your life, God feels the SAME way! As a matter of fact, He is so disgusted by this behavior that He says that he is about to spit you out of his mouth! What an analogy. Picture THAT!
Make a decision about who you desire to be in God. When you think about your relationship with God, does it represent growth? If it was a chart will it have multiple spikes of high and low points or will it be a curve (not a perfect curve), but one that shows an increase that shows that you are not the same person you was 20, 15, 10, 5 years or even a month ago?!? Don’t spend your life running ‘in and out’ of your ‘Daddy’s (The Lord) house. No, once you make a choice you then form conscious, intentional decisions to walk with God every step of the way. Life is short and at some point that door to life is no longer going to swing in and out….so where will you be? IN or OUT.
Xoxo Charlene Evans
Facebook: Chiccy Baritone ~ Poet
Now and Later
When I first moved into my house ( January 2011) in Greenville, SC, I was shopping for home decor and paintings like crazy the first couple of months. I was so consumed with trying to decorate and complete every room of the house as quickly as possible. My mom gave me the greatest advice as she watched me stress myself out in this pursuit and she said, “Do one room at a time. When you purchase something, place it in the room and feel the flow of that item in the room. Either it will go with the flow or interrupt the flow and in that case either you need to move it to another location or move it out.”
One particular item that I purchased during this time was a metal flower that had multiple colors. I really liked this flower but it just didn’t ‘fit’ the feel of every room or hallway that I tried to hang it in so I put it away in my closet and would remind myself periodically that I had it and need to use it to decorate a space somewhere in the house. 7 years later, that flower stayed in that closet and never was used. For some reason I never felt compelled to sell it, give it away or even throw it away, even after I sold the house. As I packing my house to relocate to Atlanta, GA I came across this flower. I thought to myself, well, I didn’t use it in Greenville, SC so maybe I will have a space for it in Atlanta. At the time, I didn’t have my residence picked out yet so I did not know if Atlanta was going to be the place where my flower would finally hang. So I included the flower with all of my belongs that were being shipped to Atlanta, GA.
Fast forward to February 2018. I am now in my new place in Atlanta, GA. As I was unpacking my art and home decor, I came across the flower and yes; it flowed very well with my space here! I smile at the journey this flower has been on and how I never felt led to let it go but to wait on the right environment for it to be a part of. An environment where it will enhance the feel and flow of the room. It didn’t feel forced to be a part of the home décor vision. It was created for this space at this appointed time.
I look at my life and what God has equipped in me. Those gifts, opportunities and abilities are not in vain just because they didn’t manifest when and where you thought they would. This is bigger than a flower brought in Greenville, SC that is now being used in Atlanta, GA, but I know you knew that…(smile). This is about never giving up or feeling like what you have inside of you will never get an opportunity to minster outside of you. God has appointed a time, place and season in your life where He will manifest what He has equipped in you. It may not be for where you are now, but trust me, it will be for later.
Believe. Work. Wait.
Xoxo Charlene Evans
Facebook: Chiccy Baritone ~ Poet
Hurry Up And Wait
I took myself to brunch after church this past Sunday and once I arrived at the restaurant, I was told there was a 45min wait. I know that normally if you are by yourself, you could just walk up to the bar and eat but the hostess quickly informed me that even the bar area had a ‘wait.’ Standing there for about 2 seconds longer than I needed to, I wanted to leave. Yes, I was hungry but not starving, the motivation was more towards the fact that the wait seemed unbearable. So without thinking any further, I decided to take a seat and wait it out. After only 15mins of waiting, my name was called and I jumped up! I quickly grabbed my purse and put an extra ‘pep in my step’ just in case he changed his mind! Hahahha! I placed my order and my food came quick, not to mention, it was also very good and tasty. I took my time eating and thinking to myself how I’m growing in the area of patience. I almost made an emotional decision that would have made the wait longer. I have been doing this a lot lately and that is, waiting beyond my comfort and praying to God to help me while I wait. Exercising my faith in waiting has been a great challenge for me as I watch areas of my life unfold totally opposite of “my” timeline. In the mist of waiting, God has the ability to change every situation as quickly as he wants to because the laws of man do not define HIM. Your life can change in a blink of an eye and I can testify to that. But I thought about the result of me waiting and how much I will enjoy the reward after I have waited. This wait was a test of obedience and patience. My willingness to wait resulted in me not waiting as long as I thought and my food was worth that 15mins. God made the 30 min difference and expedited my request…not because I asked, but because I waited.
My Prayer: God, you KNOW our beginning, our end and everything in between. Anxiety is never worth the stress of worrying about situations we cannot control. Help us to desire letting you LEAD and relinquish control. Build areas of weakness into strength. Build our trust and faith in your PLAN. Help us to not grow WEARY in well doing while we WAIT. Let the PEACE of Christ rule in our hearts and keep us! God I will trust in you and your timing, not my own! AMEN!
xoxo Chiccy Baritone
Facebook: Chiccy Baritone ~ Poet
A poem dedicated to a real issue in America…Police Brutality
The inhuman behavior that confesses hate so fluently has a root
Check the soil because it determines the identity of your truth
The soil of a human is red
It has four chambers not flower beds
Receiving and releasing generational poison
Pure love has the ability to filter through taught and learned hate
Love is too great to lose
When shown, it prevails everything
Birth into inequity I understand that sin is in me
But what I do to prevent and dispel evil is a moral choice
Mom and dad taught me to choose mankind over a kind
I can remember pigmentation, not skill, was the reason my daddy couldn’t
try out for Basketball in high school but he still chose love…
I can’t imagine
And I remember, being a young girl on vacation to Dollywood in the
mountains and while waiting to be seated to eat at a restaurant, we were
denied service and my dad chose love…
We walked out and ate somewhere else
Too young to understand but my examples practiced what they preached
As I watched, looked, listened and my heart followed
A well, guarded heart that didn’t allow the issues of life to flow without
Because my root has always been love
Even when love was hard to find between hurt, tears and reality
That had nothing to do with me
Matters of the heart are disproportionally killing America
Bleeding internally from dis-ease
That seems to be connected to your sight
I don’t believe you are colorblind
Because that would mean that everyone is receiving the same treatment
You are only as blind as you want to be
Ignorance has become brutal
Before turning deadly
What is it? Tell me…what is it that you revert to in your heart that has
Pulled on but not able to uproot?
It has grown and continues to deny any food of truth
You were not born that way
Hearts become impure
Expose and remove contamination
Pump God in
When will you stop abusing authority?
What will it take for you to stop before it hits home
Because with hearts that choose to not know God
Revenge gets ugly
What if you were holding the power to break this cycle?
What if your decision to kill perception and bury experiences that
influenced police brutality ceased because you chose to speak?
Nothing will change until you change
And when you change
We all will change..
xoxo Chiccy Baritone
Facebook: Chiccy Baritone ~ Poet