I was blessed beyond belief this weekend at BEECH retreat. I cannot accurately put into words all that I took away from the time there. It has impacted my parenting, my relationships, my visions and goals, my perspective, my confidence, and my heart. I met amazing and real people who shared so generously with me. The talks by Jolanthe, Amanda and Jeni, Jimmie, and Rachel are going to impact my blogging moving forward (look for some design changes here very soon!).
I was touched by others at BEECH. Our conversations were vulnerable and transparent and I feel as though I am carrying new friends away with me in my heart. The speakers, in particular John Miller, Dan Morris, and Crystal Paine impacted me far beyond what applies to my blogging and I come home a better version of the me that boarded the plane last Wednesday night. I truly am forever changed.
I know that there are many of you who will never be able to or maybe not even want to attend a blogging conference, but for me, my experience is a lesson in fear and more specifically in the power of fear to hold us back. I was not initially planning to go and booked at the last minute. I then second guessed my decision about every hour until I left.
I was at the airport at 10 at night and flew out at Midnight, not to arrive at my destination until three flights brought me there the following afternoon. My first flights were turbulent and late and stressful. Thankfully, I sat next to a kind mom and her young daughter on the last flight and was feeling somewhat less frazzled upon my arrival in Florida.
There was a bus to take me from the airport to the resort. I boarded with strangers and got off with friends. I began to relax and feel like maybe I would fit in here, that people would talk to me!
I went to check in and there was an issue, a very small one, but it rattled me a little bit. I think by this point, I was already starting to be affected by fatigue and hunger. I took a shuttle to the area of my room and was so looking forward to setting down my bags and brushing my teeth. You know that really gross feeling where you’ve slept for five or ten minutes at a time here and there on the plane and only eaten the complimentary pretzels? Getting into that room was my goal!
When I arrived at the threshold of my goal, there was a miscommunication and I could not get into the room. While I waited for it to get sorted out, I found myself slipping into that awful place of fear and doubt. I texted my husband and fought tears. There came a point when I couldn’t fight them anymore. I was so embarrassed because I was out in the open for anyone to see and I was crying. I worried about what a terrible first impression I was going to make. I began to really question the sanity with which I made the decision to come to a blogging conference. Not just to come to any blogging conference, but to come to one where there were to be so many people I admire.
I began to remind myself of all the reasons that I should not have come. I told myself that I was not in the same league as those other women. I remembered how unprofessional my blog design was and was horrified by the thought of one of them seeing it. I sat there on the ground outside my room asking myself “What ever made me think this was a good idea? What in the world was I thinking?”
Have you ever found yourself thinking something similar?
The miscommunication was quickly sorted out and I nervously settled into the room. I considered skipping that day’s events and hibernating in the room but soon there was a knock on the door and one of the friends I had met on the bus ride over stood outside. Relief swept over me. I could have hugged her!
Everyone from my roommate to my tablemates (apparently not a word until I just now made it one!) to the presenters and planners welcomed me with open arms. There is no better way to say it than that I was blessed beyond measure by the weekend. It far exceeded my expectations!
What if I had left? What if I had given into my fear and not gotten on that first plane to begin with? What if I had listened to that negative voice in my head and not booked the conference in the first place? I would have missed out on so much. Fear would have won.
I just want to encourage you. What is that thing that you have been wanting to do but have been scared to take that first step? Where in your life is fear robbing you of potential joy? Perhaps whatever thing you are not doing today because of fear is precisely the thing that God is most calling you to do.