You may be wondering why I have a hashtag in my title. No, I didn’t forget that I wasn’t on twitter. I do, however, want to share with you a bit of what I learned from the Relevant Conference 2011 – and since I wasn’t there in person, I will tell you a bit of what I’ve learned through the #Relevant11 quotes I was blessed with on twitter.
This past weekend, 200 or so women from around the US (and a couple Canucks!) gathered in Harrisburg, PA for The Relevant Conference – a conference which exists solely for the purpose of encouraging Christian women, who just so happen to also be bloggers! I heard about this earlier this year through Sarah Mae, one of the founders, and thought about going, but it sold out very fast, with a waiting list of 200 plus! As it turns out, it was not for me this year (maybe next??!!?). But I was pretty excited when my hubby took me on a surprise trip to Lancaster, PA, and we practically drove right through Harrisburg, thinking about all the ladies who would be gathering there in a couple short months.
Anyway, highlights of what I learned from the conference. There was just so much going on through twitter it was hard to keep up with it! But I did come away with a lot of wisdom and some encouraging and challenging things.
1. Be a professional mom, not a professional blogger (@Daze of Adventure)
@GraceFullMama: I don’t want my face to be remembered by my children as buried in my computer.
@Simplemom: The hours that you spend on your blog matter in eternity.
This is definitely one of the biggest challenges for me. I have so many ideas and thoughts to share – yet if it takes time away from my family, time which is precious and limited and leaves a lasting negative impression, it isn’t worth it. I’m still struggling with this – I try my best not to be on the computer when the kids are around, unless for printing off homeschool things, but even today, I’ve failed miserably at this as I’ve gotten caught up in projects and research! I know that God can redeem the time, but I want my focus to be God first, husband second, kids third, then whatever is left over for other things. I don’t have a lot of distinct memories from my childhood – mostly good ones though, the ones I do remember.
I don’t want to miss out on fun, games and making memories because I’m too busy buried in the computer or thinking about my next post. So I am hoping and praying God gives me the grace and opportunity to use my time to best bless and care for my family first – then get to ya’ll later :0)
2. Let your heavenly Father meet your every need.
@AnnVoskamp When your heart is hungry, go to the Father.
Whenever I have a problem or discouragement to deal with, it is very easy to bury myself in my thoughts and feel bad about it all. Or do a google / blog search to see who else is going through the same thing and try to gather some encouragement. This is not right though. My first and foremost response to trouble, distress, discouragements of any kind, should be to go on my knees before the Father and seek his heart for me. I can’t think of a single time when, after even a little persistence, I have done this and not received fairly immediate relief or answer. God is faithful, he will answer!
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you; and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say “Here I am.”
If you take away the yoke from your midst, the of the pointing finger, and speaking wickedness,
if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness, and your gloom be as the noonday.
3. No comparisons allowed!
@GraceFullMama It’s hard not to compare when you’re looking at yourself. But when you look only at God, it is so much fun!
@GraceFullMama The best way to combat jealousy is to praise and rejoice with someone else.
@WomenLivingWell Don’t be someone else – that remarkable is already taken. Be YOU!
Am I attention hungry, or God hungry? Do I have an appetite for God, or to being known?
Youch, another soft spot. We are all so different, you just can’t fall into the comparison trap! Yellow is yellow and blue is blue, there’s no better or brighter colour – each is made and loved by God.
You may not know it, but I have a very easy tendency toward pride and jealousy. Pride is so very sneaky and crops up usually in the oddest and most ridiculous circumstances – being proud about something that you have no right to be proud about, judging others for the decisions they make or don’t make, or for their reasons for doing things. Many a time I have had to check my attitude at the door and call pride for what it is – sin! I am thankful that I have my wonderful hubby to keep me accountable and that I can tell him when it is happening. I think accountability is huge in helping us identify and deal with areas of pride in our lives.
Then there’s jealousy – falling into jealousy over others’ success and attention, mostly, and wanting what they have. Again, many times I have wondered why I am blogging, why am I writing this post? Is it to gain attention? Is it to look good, like SuperMom (which I most certainly am not, you should see my house right now :D), to make an impression? Or is it to minister to others, and in a way, minister to my own heart?
This brings me to the fourth main thing I took away from the #Relevant11 conference.
4. Why do I blog?
@BrookeWrites: Why I blog? So that women can know the power of God’s word to bring about change.
@thegypsymama Think before you tweet, How will this (tweet) benefit others?
Is your blog an instrument for God to use or is it an idol?
We blog in His power to the people He has put in our paths
Whenever I come to write a blog post, I ask myself “Why am I writing this? Is it beneficial and encouraging to others? If not, is it for personal benefit?” Only recently have I been able to say no to certain posts because I know they are just for attention getting – even not linking up to some great sites, so I am not tempted to get in too far over my head and what God wants me to do.
About two years ago, I felt convicted about the time I was spending on Facebook. Not only was I frittering away hours of the day over short spurts throughout, I was tempted and often gave in to write statuses which were complaining and negative, rather than encouraging my “audience”. I felt the weight of it for about a year before I finally made the move and deactivated my account. I was off for about a year when I decided to completely delete it. I tell you, as soon as I had deactivated it, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. I literally felt like I was FREED! It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy checking up on friends…but I was addicted, tied to it, completely and utterly unable to survive without it. Facebook and “Friends” were taking the place of my need to be still and quiet before God.
Don’t get me wrong – twitter and blogging can still very easily slide into the space – especially if I haven’t taken the steps to fill the “empty rooms” with godly pursuits – such as reading his word and prayer. Praise God, he has been growing the desire in me ever since, and I pray more and more for hunger and thirst for him.
Reading through Isaiah, I discovered this verse, which I feel is my reason for blogging. I have shared it before, but may as well share it again.
The LORD God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.
Now I’m not saying I’m some great teacher. Just plain and simple that I think God wants me to use what I am learning to encourage others – first my family, then others.
I don’t want my blog to be a life preserver, but rather to point to The One who has, gives and preserves life, and to be used by HIM as he so desires.
I am honoured to have an opportunity to do this, and so blessed by YOU who read this and encourage me back.
Thank you to all the women who shared from the Relevant Conference through twitter. It has been a true blessing!