I’m heading out on an adventure this weekend, and super excited about it.
I’m also a little bit nervous, but mostly excited, which is how an adventure should feel, right?
My flight leaves at 6 AM on Sunday morning, which means an early alarm, and that my bags better be packed before I go to bed tomorrow night. I’ll be flying from Buffalo to Charlotte, and then on to Asheville, landing at 10:30 AM. At that point a very nice transportation guy, who unashamedely has already declared his love for Jesus over the phone, will be picking several of us up from the airport, and driving us to the Ridgecrest Mountain Resort where we begin five days of writing instruction and encouragement at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference.
Honestly, I can’t think of anything more fun than hanging out with a bunch of book loving, writerly types in the middle of the mountains for five days. A place where all of my food is prepared and the dishes are cleaned up afterwards. Doesn’t that sound like a little slice of heaven?! (I mean, even if you’re not a writer but you’re a mom, doesn’t that sound lovely?!)
Here’s the funny thing… I almost chose not to go.
I’m not kidding. I hemmed and hawed until I was sick of hearing my own hemming and hawing 😜.
I should confess that Scott and I can tend to suffer from decision paralyzation sometimes. Does anyone else feel that way? Alone or with their spouse? Or, both?!
When we have a decision to make, be it big or small, it can take us F-O-R-E-V-E-R, like light-years and light-years FOREVER, to finally come to a conclusion and move forward in a specific direction. I’m not sure if this comes down to fear of making the wrong decision, or a fear of commitment, or if it’s peronsality type, but whatever the case, it doesn’t come easy and it doesn’t feel like a whole lot of fun when you’re in the middle of it. Which is what happened when the idea of this conference came up.
While I’ve had the conference on my radar for several years, I’ve not even attempted to go in the past because up until this year I’ve always had at least one kiddo at home with me full-time during the day. Since this particular conference runs Sunday-Thursday (covering the span of four weekdays), it would have been hard to find childcare to allow me to go. But this year, with all three girls in school, (which still makes me want to cry tears of sadness and joy all at the same time) it really opened up the possibility that I could attend if I wanted to.
So, you might ask, if it was that easy why wouldn’t I go? Right?
I probably waited too long to research airline tickets, and so they kept getting more expensive, and with two of our three girls in a private Christian school our budget has been tighter than it used to be. Once I totaled the cost for airfare, lodging, the conference ticket and miscellaneous travel expenses it was all beginning to make me a little uncomfortable financially.
I applied for a scholarship, but wasn’t a chosen recipient (which I fully understood, but was still disappointed), and then kept my fingers crossed for a magic check, or tax return, or some obvious financial “sign” to show up in the mail– you know, like in Lisa’s version of a Hallmark movie (;
But that never happened either.
So I prayed about it.
And then I prayed some more.
And then I waited for God to write an answer in the sky, but it’s been so darned cloudy here that I think I missed the message.
I’m kidding. Kind of.
Honestly, I wasn’t hearing anything specifically from God one way or the other. No yay or nay…Nothing.
Finally, three weeks ago I decided that it wasn’t the frugal thing to do– to spend the money to go, and so I declared that I wasn’t going. I thought I would feel peaceful about the decision, and at first I was, but then I got a little bit sad about it.
The thing is I’ve been freelancing in bits and pieces for years. I have a journalism degree. I’ve been writing poems and stories since I was six years old, and reading books like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre for fun since I was in 9th grade. I really have always been wired to love words, and books, stories and the sharing of messages.
Deep down, I really wanted to go, but the investment felt big and there were no magic doors opening.
Somewhere along the way, after I made the decision not to go, but kept praying about it anyway, I heard a podcast about decision making.
I don’t think it was Emily Freeman’s
podcast, though I have been listening to that regularly and recently purchased her book “the Next Right Thing
” (which is all about decision making and is fabulous). This particularly podcast by an unnamed podcaster, or perhaps it was a radio show host, talked about how God has equipped
us to make decisions– that He’s given us the intellect, the emotional intelligence and the wisdom (particularly when we’re praying about something) to make decisions on our own.
Listen, I’m not a theologian, so I apologize if this isn’t proper theology. I pray about everything in my life and sometimes I do hear God very clearly. But, sometimes I believe God doesn’t have a specific right or wrong in mind for us…He wants us to practice our decision making skills instead of spoon feeding us answers.
Hmmm…I thought. Maybe there isn’t a clear right or wrong here. Maybe I just need to use my God-given ability to make a decision and actually make one that I feel good about, rather than making one out of guilt or fear.
And so I did.
I thought about my reasons for wanting to go, and why I was choosing not to go. I realized that sometimes, in cases like this, we have to make investments into our callings in order to figure out our next steps. I decided I needed to make a decision not out of guilt, sadness, or ambiguity, but out of the authenticity of who I am.
I started asking myself some questions. Questions like, What do you want to do? How will you feel when the date of the conference comes and goes and you haven’t gone? What will you do to further your writing dream if you choose to not go to this conference? What might happen if you do go?
It was that last question that got me. What might happen if you do go?
I wanted to know the answer to that question.
I’m looking forward to discovering the answer to that question.
To what God may say to me, to the friends I may meet, to the business opportunities that may open up for freelancing, or for my dreams to be the author of a published book someday.
After all of this indecision, the thoughts and the prayers, after finding myself increasingly curious to answer the question “What might happen if you do go?”, I woke up one morning, about a week after I declared that I wasn’t going, and declared that I was.
I bought a plane ticket before I had the chance to concoct more excuses, and now I’m two days away from arriving in Ashevlille with a proposal in my bag, a dream in my heart, and an open mind to the possibility of what might happen.
And if it’s nothing more than making a new friend along the way, because I know I will, then it will all have been worth it.
So, in the spirit of needing to finish preparing for the conference (I’ve been working on my proposal in my minivan, at my kitchen table, at my daughter’s ballet practice…just about everywhere), I’m going to wrap this up and am telling you ahead of time that I won’t be posting here tomorrow.
I haven’t packed a single thing, and we’re having a small sleepover to celebrate Aubrey’s 6th birthday tonight, so I’ll be playing putt putt, eating massive cupcakes from Ohlson’s
(a fantastic bakery here in town), and trying to get three 6-year old girls to sleep after they’ve
eaten massive cupcakes and played putt putt.
But, I will write on Sunday while I’m traveling, and share lots of pictures with you covering my adventures to North Carolina. Until then I wish you luck on any decision making situations you might be in. I encourage you to pray, and then use your God given wisdom and discernment to make that decision. I’m rooting for you, and promise you’ll feel so much better once you make that decision!