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:-)
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
Your counteraction can sometimes speak louder than an action…..
A counteraction can be defined as: An act of retaliation; a counterattack; any action in opposition to a previous action. (according to yourdictionary.com)
Where am I going with this? Your actions and someone else’s counteraction can both be wrong but the approach of a counteraction leaves the lasting impression. When you make a decision to respond in any situation, there are consequences to consider that may never be okay with an apology.
So, after seeing social media EXPLODE over the incident that happened at my alma mater, Spring Valley High School in Columbia, SC, through a viral cell phone video where a cop approached a student to leave the class that ended up in a violent counteraction to her action, I had to speak up…but as I get older, I’m learning the importance and the power of the ‘pause.’ President Barack Obama does it in his speeches…and whether it’s just his style naturally or if it was taught, it still allows a person to think about their response before they make it. This skill is quickly becoming a habit for me in my personal and professional life and has saved me from what I call a huge ‘clean up’ job! (aka apologizing from something I said off the fly)
But let’s keep it all the way live….I was LIVID when I saw the video. I played it over and over again then I stopped. I had to let my anger channel through my mind because I am very honest with myself and my emotions. This hurt…then it stung…as I watched the response of the students via video which seemed motionless as this officer flipped this girls desk then dragged her across the floor. You could feel the tension of utter shock as if it was something being played out in a movie and not in an actual classroom….a place where students should be learning and not concern about being mishandled by authority.
Now let me PAUSE….because I dated a teacher and I know that one of the most important attributes of teaching is classroom management. You see, you can be the best teacher ever but if you can’t manage your classroom, it will disrupt the flow of learning and for some teachers, that’s a hard balance which can ultimately be the demise of a teacher’s career. As a matter of fact I met an “Engineer turned Teacher” who ended her 2 years of teaching for that very reason…she could not manage her classroom and found it very difficult to teach beyond her love for teaching itself.
As I watched this story unfold in 4 days there was a lot of information that didn’t condone the action of the student but it made you broaden your perspective a little. Our young people are dealing with some serious issues of life and although it doesn’t justify them not listening to authority, it does raise the question of where was the authority in this young girl’s life? When parents neglect to teach their children respect at home or if no example of authority is being exercised in front of a child, it leaves the responsibility up to every other form of authority outside of the home to ‘teach’ that child and most of the time, a stranger is not going to give that child the ‘benefit of the doubt.’
She was broken…
So when she violated school rules and was asked multiple times to leave the classroom to the point to where a resource officer had to be called to escort her out, as a person in authority, you have to ask yourself, how should I counteract to this action?
He has issues…
And they stem from something bigger than a disrespectful child at the time who would not respond to his actions to remove her out of the class. The excessive force used was by no means necessary and was beyond his professional training as an officer, so what made him go so far?
I don’t know…and the fact of the matter is we all don’t know but he does…
His counteraction now outweighs the action of this student and has resulted in him being fired and possibly facing charges of assault.
So while the story is FAR from being over, my concern at this time is focused on one thing right now..
That young girl….
And while we don’t know all of ‘her story’, we know someone like her…shoot, let’s be honest, someone reading this right now may share a childhood that was similar..being raised by someone other than your mother, but your mother is alive and made a decision not to raise you. How did the your mother’s decision, regardless of the reason, influence you as a child AND as a woman?
I feel like we need to REACH a little further than the internet….I can hear the silent cry out loud for attention with nowhere to talk about their pain. Our young ladies….feeling the pressure to be all and do all and we are hurting…pain neglected is pain that will revisit…and never go away until we open our mouths and our hearts to let healing in….
I’m typing and I’m thinking…”Charlene…what more can you do?” and that voice inside says,”So much more….much more.” So I’m about to rally some of my poetic sister’s together and we will use our gifts to bring awareness and a face to other women and young girls. Each one…teach one…
xoxo Chiccy Baritone
Connect with me:
Facebook: Chiccy Baritone ~ Poet