Last weekend I attended the Women of Faith conference in Dallas. As with all Spirit-filled retreats, the event triggered a time of reflection - "what's next". Friday morning I woke up at 4:30am and was out the door by 5:30am, on the road in what proved to be a joyful period of solitude. But not really alone - alone with the Spirit.
During the 10-3:30 portion of the conference I remained "alone" - in fact I didn't catch up with the women of CEC until just before dinner. For the evening portion, we climbed to the highest possible row in the arena. A nosebleed seat, yes, but we reassured ourselves that we were closer to God.
The praise music was uplifting, but at the end of the day I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be hearing in the message. There was a lot more pushing of WorldVision than I needed to hear. I blame my lack of TV-watching but I felt like I'd paid to be subjected to an infomercial. Sitting as high as we were, it was harder to feel connected and it was challenging to stand up and fully appreciate the music (dizzying vertigo was a constant risk).
The evening ended with a performance by Steven Curtis Chapman, which counts as a high note. He was joined by his teen sons and his wife sent tweets - a wonderful family affair. Following @womenoffaith on Twitter definitely added to my experience.
Day 2 included a Tweet-up experience. During the lunch break there was a gathering of Tweeters. I met and added "followers", Jeanette was able to visit with Sheila Walsh (the only speaker who joined the Twitter crowd), I met Michael Hyatt (publisher) and I won the door prize (a bag of books & 1 CD):
Guys Are Waffles, Girls Are Spaghetti by Chad Eastham
Redefining Beautiful by Jenna Lucado
Take Your Best Shot by Austin Gutwein
Knockout Entrepreneur by George Foreman
Beautiful Mess The Story of Diamond Rio
Relentless CD by Natalie Grant
Since the conference, I've been wading in the warm introspective waters of prayerful consideration. I'm feeling more liberated than I have in a long time. I'm focusing on freeing myself from anxiety. Every time I sense that knotting in my stomach I remind myself that anxiety is a reflection of faithlessness. I trust God and I'm ready to make a move. Nothing dramatic, mind you, but I have to keep stepping out in faith or I'm stagnant.
Before the conference I submitted an article that was published in the August issue of the Trumpet. The editor liked it, but suggested a different angle. Last week I submitted the rewrite and the changes were well-received (praise God!). I'll know more next week.
Meanwhile, I'm writing with renewed commitment and vigor. I *must* not let work take over my life. I have to set boundaries and respect those boundaries. I have to let some things (and some people) fail as I limit my time and energy to what falls within my boundaries.
In a week I'll be leaving for a 2-week trip to China. I hope & pray for this to be an opportunity for massive progress on writing projects.
Meanwhile, my blogs may remain a little neglected. I'll post as inspiration strikes, but mostly I'm jotting notes in a long-hand journal. Very old school but very rewarding.