Y'all. I don't know where to begin. Last Wednesday and Thursday were phenomenal. I learned so much. But to be honest, I'm still in a haze. Since Thursday (in between refilling sippy cups and changing diapers) my mind has been trying so hard to process all that I soaked in and wrote down.
I have a new outlook on so much in my life. But I also have a lot to figure out. I have come to realize that it is crucial to schedule some time away. The focus and clarity and passion that I felt for all of Wednesday and Thursday were because I had stepped outside of my normal, had my phone taken away from me and was solely focusing on one thing at a time. It is unreal, the amount of clarity that came come from that!
But, here I am, on Monday, right back in the swing of things. And I am fighting so hard to hang on to the things that we talked about and the things that we learned.
One of the biggest things that was reiterated throughout the conference is to be careful how much you say about the conference when you go home. You have a lot to process.
In fact, they gave us a big ground rule for Wednesday night. When we left the conference and everyone broke off into smaller groups to go eat supper, they asked us to do one thing. Or really to not do one thing. They told us not to offer advice.
Their point was this: We had fought all day to cut out any distractions, any of the "normal" that America tends to operate on, any of the voices in our heads. And instead, think long and hard.
So, they told us to continue that through the evening. To discuss what we had learned with each other but not to offer advice. And, how quick are we to do this? We want to empathize with people. We want to let them know that it's all going to be okay. We want to take their sometimes jumbled up words, process them for them and spit them back out in a nice, pretty package with a bow on top. Making them feel better (or not) but really making yourself feel better because you were able to "fix" someone else. Even though you are most likely a hot mess right along with them.
So instead, they told us to let people talk about their experience and then allow them to sit in it. Allow them to process it themselves. Not giving them tips on how you would do it or what sounds like the best plan. Just hear them. And that's it.
And it was so good. To be able to talk about what I'm trying to figure out without having someone say, "Okay, so here's what it sounds like to me..." or "Well, this is what I did when I was at that point..." or even, "Oh, Jenny, it's okay that you feel like that". I was able to just say what was on my heart. And sometimes, saying it aloud sounds different than just thinking it. So it was good to say some things aloud. For me to hear what came out of my mouth but then, still be able to process them on my own.
So we were cautioned on sharing when we came home as well.
This is hard for me. I tend to be an over-sharer.
It's also hard because the people in my life knew how excited I was to go to the conference. They knew that it was a big investment. And that I was hoping for great things. So, they are ready to hear about it! They want to know what I'm doing with my life and what my ten step plan is. And, I'm so grateful that they want to share in this with me. But really? What it boils down to is that I've got a lot to pray about. I've got a lot of work to do. And I've got a lot that still needs to be figured out.
I have actually tried (once) to share some of the more specific things I learned since the conference (hmm...breaking the rule...that didn't take long...) and what I figured out is that words are cheap. What I said and what I feel are two different things. So, about 30 minutes after talking about it, I texted and said, "Forget everything I said, it wasn't completely accurate, I'm still figuring it out".
And the truth is? It's a lot of work. Going to this conference didn't give me some perfect equation. But they provided me with great tools. Tools that I anticipate using for the rest of my life.
Because really, it's true.
Life is too short to live small.
So, all that to say, I'm not planning to be cryptic about this experience forever. But, really, I need to figure out some stuff first. For myself. I want to hear God's voice the loudest in my life. And sometimes that means not talking about things to every person in your life. Because often their voices ended up replaying the loudest and not leaving room for who you really want to hear from (whether the answer is what you want to hear or not).
I did get to spend some time with amazing people and meet some lifelong friends!
I'm hoping to spend some time figuring out what's next and then really going at it hardcore. And, I will be back with more to share, promise. Just not today!
ps. wow - i feel like even what I've written is a jumbled up mess :) i just get so excited, nervous, freaked out, etc when i think about all that i learned! so, sorry for being all over the place :)