I begged him not to go. It was a week out from the Influence Conference, basically a four day stint of blogging, stranger-ladies, and stellar speakers, and I just couldn’t. I brought up all the usual defenses: finances, time away from home, my husband’s time away from work, missing homeschool co/op,missing my son’s soccer game and church on Sunday, my pig would miss me–I was pulling out all the stops to skip out on this event.
But he just smiled and said, “You do this every year. You will be fine! You need time for yourself. We are a team. GO.”
So I went. And came home filled. And here is what I learned at Influence.
I cannot fathom how each year I have attended a conference that my roommates have become these instant life long friends. This year was no exception. My three roommates and I clicked instantly and have been in constant contact ever since we have been home. When you have such a strong common ground as belief in Christ, it is beautiful what good things can grow from that center. You know that belly laugh and the mascara runs you only get from a few days with incredibly sharp and witty women? Yeah. That. It is just good for the soul. And these women are doing big things for the Lord. Huge. Humbled they let a little Southerner like me in. Oh, and they tried, really hard, to emulate my accent. (Oh, and we may or may not have jumped onstage and lip synced “All About that Bass” in front of about 300 women. Video to come. )
Oh, and I got to meet Lisa Leonard! For those of you who are uncertain who Lisa is (and shame on you if you don’t!) she is a jewelry designer with a huge God heart and an incredible life story. Blessed to have chatted with her:
This is my third year attending a blog conference (first year at Influence) and I think I go into it every year thinking God is going to give me a greater message about my blog. Like, “This is the year, Christie!” kind of thing. But, each year I come home with the same message in my heart:
Bloom where you are planted.
Be influential right where you are.
When Jess took the mic and began pouring out her heart, I was writing as fast as I could to keep up with the truth she was sharing:
What is the FIRST thing you think about in the morning?
What do you cry about? Pray about?
What do you spend your money on?
What do you save your money for?
What do you WORK for? What drives you?
What do you worry about?
What frustrates you?
When I left my job seven years ago to stay home, God did not call me to be a stay at home blogger. He called me to be a stay at home MOTHER. There are admittedly times where I have allowed my writing (if you can call it that) to supersede my priorities at home. I do not think I understood how VALUED we are as women until you are gone for four days and it takes five or six people to fill the jobs one woman handles on her own.
Ladies? You are valuable. You are IMPORTANT in your community. Forget online reach. You can reach out to the same people that stand behind you at the grocery store. Something Hayley said in her keynote that stood out to me was people that cast an online vision of you “will know OF you, but not YOU”. I want to be known, not because a handful of strangers share a blog post on facebook, but because I have helped with educational reform in our small town. That I love the Lord and desire to make Him famous. Or helped another mama clean up a mess at Chick Fil A when no one was looking.
There are SO many things God is speaking to my heart about right now and zero of them are blogging related. Because of this, I have decided not to participate in the 31 Days series this year. If I allow blogging and chasing after the wind take time away from the good work that needs to be done in my home and town, then count me out. It is time to shut our computers and turn off of phones, and roll up our sleeves and begin DOING THE WORK of an evangelist.