I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Checking Your Spiritual Packing List


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The other night I chatted with Reba via IM and mentioned I started pulling things out for the upcoming ACFW conference. Her response was, “Already?”

Already?

September was already upon us, so of course I was beginning to pack. Beth blogged What to Pack for the ACFW Conference, then Pat’s post followed up with packing the business essentials.

I made a clothing packing list and a business list that included business cards, bookmarks, netbook, camera, one-sheets. But then I made another list—a mental one—my spiritual packing list.

This list included a teachable spirit, a humble heart, blessed attitude and an overflowing bucket of grace. I need to pack my mouth stretcher too because every year I end up storing my size 7W foot in my mouth at least once.

Conferences release a myriad of emotions—excitement, anticipation, joy, anxiety, fatigue, envy. Having a teachable spirit allows us to be blessed by those who have walked the road before us. Every writer started at the very beginning. Those bestselling authors and terrific presenters were in our shoes at one time—unpublished with a hopeful heart. Having a teachable spirit allows us to accept constructive criticism and view our weaknesses with grace and an open mind.

Even with a teachable spirit and open mind, you may have great intentions, but could end up hurting friends you care about or saying something you didn’t mean. Having a humble heart allows you to go to that person and ask for forgiveness. Having a humble heart also makes it easier for someone who offended you to apologize. Bury the grudge and extend grace to the offender. 

I remember attending my first ACFW conference in 2005 and receiving so many blessings. After that, I prayed and asked God to use me to bless someone at the conference each year. The first year I did that, I met two new attendees--Kelly and Tammy. I still stay in touch with Tammy. She mentions how much I blessed her during that conference. I think I received the greater blessing. 

So while you're packing those outfits and one-sheets, pray every day leading up to the conference and while you're there. Ask God to give you a humble heart, teachable spirit, and to use you to be a blessing to someone else. Keeping your expectations in check allows God to use you for His purpose. What better conference benefit could you ask for?

The MBT Ponderers are blogging about the upcoming ACFW conference all month. Consider reading the latest issue of Voices, the My Book Therapy e-zine written for the Voices by the Voices. The issue is packed with great advice for conference prep. 

Your turn: What spiritual item could you add to our list? What spiritual takeaway have you received from previous conferences?

8 comments:

  1. I definitely need to pack your spiritual list. Another thing I'll need is peace. Peace to know every person I meet and every outcome is already ordained. Peace to know that getting published will be in God's timing and not mine. Peace to know I don't have to strive to make it happen.

    Great post, Lisa!

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  2. This is such an important post and so well done. Thank you for this post and blessing--it is a great post!

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  3. As one who will not be able to attend, I will pack my prayers for those who are able to attend!

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  4. I like what Teri said. I'll send my prayers with you all as you attend. :)

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  5. Wait! Should I be packing? Already? I decided to use Beth's "guy" packing list. That way, I throw in my 2 pairs of pants, 2 shirts and I'm done!
    Wow, I didn't even take that much time to pack when I left the country. :-)

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  6. Reebs, you are too funny. I think TEE's list for men included extra underwear too...

    LJ, great thoughts on something we often overlook. I'm with Teri and Jeanne, and will be praying for each one of you to walk God's path for you at ACFW this year. And I'll miss you!

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  7. This is an awesome, awesome post, LJ. I'm reading it on the run at the moment, but even a quick skim is such a reminder to me that there's more going on at ACFW than simply books pitched and whatnot. Our hearts and spirits are also being impacted AND we can have an impact on the hearts and spirits of others.

    I'll be reading this again, that's for sure!

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  8. Lisa,
    I remember meeting you at the MBT Pizza Party at ACFW a couple of years ago. I'd hear all about you from Roxanne, so I knew I was going to like you--and I was right!
    One of the best blessings of any conference--ACFW, Mt. Hermon, BlueRidge, StoryCrafters--are the relationships formed or deepened.
    And yes, attitude makes all the difference about my perspective. Sometimes when my attitude starts tanking, I take myself back to my room and take a nap.
    All better!

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