Day 30: Conference

31 STORIES OF FAITH ADVENTURES

DAY 30:  CONFERENCE

I knew God was pushing me to tell my story, and I was pretty sure that meant writing.

As I became sure that it was something God wanted me to do, I began to look for ways that I could immediately obey him.

And Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.’
— 1 Samuel 15:22 ESV

I began to write blog posts because the only way you can get better at writing is to practice writing.

My new friend Kaylie Hodges and I had met planning the IF:Local gathering in our city.  One day at a planning meeting she mentioned that she was going to a conference for writers in April.

“Maybe I should go to that,” I told my husband.  “It might help me figure out what I am suppose to be doing.”

I didn’t know Kaylie well at all.  I had never sent her a text before, but I sent one anyway.

My message said, “So what is the writing conference called?  I want to read more about it.”

She texted back, “It’s the Faith and Culture Writer’s Conference in Portland.”

And then later that night I got brave and texted, “Do you think it would be weird if I prayed about going?”

I felt very unsure of inviting myself along for an out of state trip with basically a stranger.  I get so nervous around people, especially people I don’t know.

She texted back, “No! I absolutely think you should!  I would love to have the company!”

As someone who battles social anxiety, I am so thankful that she was overly positive in her response.  I couldn’t read between the lines and think, “She really doesn’t want me to go.”

The best thing about having Kaylie as a friend is this, she’s got 5 kids.  All 5 of her kids are under the age of 6.  I know if she doesn’t text me back right away, it’s because she’s busy with her kids, not because she’s got some problem with me, which is where my head usually goes with it’s wacky thoughts.

As the conference got closer, I went into overachiever mode.  I read books by the speakers.  I tried to figure out what a book proposal was, and then I wrote not one but two of them.

I booked a meeting with a literary agent.

I knew it was a sacrifice for my family to send me to this conference, and I put a ton of pressure on myself to make the most of the experience.

The night before I was suppose to present my book proposals, I was a wreck.  All of the pressure I had put on myself turned me into a ball of nerves.  I didn’t sleep at all.

Before my meeting, there was a breakout session called, “How an insecure perfectionist became a writer.”  That topic was just what I needed to hear.  The speaker, Marc Schelske, shared his tips for overcoming perfectionism and insecurities.  As he spoke, he asked if anyone was presenting a book proposal that day.  I raised my hand.  He shared his experience doing the same thing the year before, and he encouraged me that I would survive the experience.

My meeting went much better than I could have imagined.  The agent I met with was soft-spoken, calming, mostly positive, and very informative.

I didn’t walk away with a book deal, but that meeting gave me some courage not to give up on writing or sharing my story.

That conference pushed my farther out of my comfort zone than I have ever been before, and I grew personally and spiritually.

It was also a lot of fun.  I had a blast getting to know Kaylie.  She has become a great friend, and we have had the joy of cheering each other on.

This past year has been full of small and large goals revolving around my writing and trying to get to the point where I can effectively share what God has placed on my heart.

This Write 31 Days Challenge has been a part of that journey, a journey to become a better storyteller and a journey to encourage people into a deeper faith.

I’m in the middle of this faith adventure, and it’s hard for me to sum up what it has been like or what I learned.  The thing I notice that is similar to all of the other faith adventures is that there is no road map.

God gives me an opportunity or direction and a beginning step.  I have had to step out and begin the journey with no idea where the journey may take me.  One step, no matter how small, is a an act of obedience.  That step usually leads me to the next step, and I have to step out again, all the while exercising my faith.

This is the way God works.  It is the way God worked in the old testament and the new.  It is the way God has led his followers, how He has led me, and it is how God will lead you, one step at a time.

 

 

I love music and share a song with each blog post.  I found this song to be crazily true about Portland.  Portland is now in my top 5 of favorite cities.  I can't wait to go back.