Welcome to part 2 of this series. It’s so nice to see you again.
In Part 1 we talked about five things that you can do to make your Allume experience GREAT! And those five things were kind of things that you can physically do. This week’s 5 things are pretty much all actions that you are going to have to mentally choose. When it comes down to it, your experience at Allume, or any other conference, depends on YOU.
It depends on your attitude, your involvement, your sacrifice and your ability to be open to whatever it is that God wants to do in and through you for a couple of totally awesome and glorious days.
So let’s get started. Here are numbers 6-10.
If you are a newbie you are going to arrive in Greenville with a look like a deer in the headlights. That’s okay. But once you learn your way around, smile. Remember that you are on a very cherished and important get-a-way. For many of you it will be without kids. Enjoy it!
Your smile is the thing that might make all the difference in someone’s day. There are going to be plenty of people for you to practice on. There are presenters who need to see you smiling in the audience. There will be other bloggers who are at the conference alone. People will be staying in the hotel who have nothing to do with Allume. Flash your pearly whites at them and make them wonder what your secret is.
Now this should go without saying, but just in case I need to say it – smile at the hotel staff. Smile at the guys and gals at the front desk, even if they get your reservation mixed up. Smile at the waitstaff in the restaurant. They are working hard to provide for themselves and their families and if you eat there, leave a tip. Greet the housekeeping staff. Smile at these hard working ladies and be sure to thank them for being a big part of your comfortable stay at the hotel.
When you get into the elevator with a whole group of ladies headed for a meal – smile.
When you enter the cupcake and coffee lounge, even if you don’t know anyone – smile.
This is a time of happiness and joy. Let it show on your face. No body wants to meet a sour blogger. And they won’t want to read your writing either. So SMILE. Get your cheer on girl!
7. Use the prayer room.
At last year’s event I didn’t have any pressing needs or worries to speak of, but I spent some time in the prayer room just for myself and it was amazing. I was taking in so much information and my head was spinning and I was on overload. The prayer room was quiet and serene and beautiful and a place where I didn’t have to know anything. I could just go in and be still, which was just what I needed. It was lovely.
For you introverts this will probably not be a difficult task. But if you are an extrovert you might start freaking out that you are going to miss something. You won’t. We serve a really cool God like that. He knows just what you need, when you need it, and He will make sure that your experience is everything He wants it to be for you.
So, make sure you use the prayer room. Take some time to sit and be quiet. Pray. Pray with a friend. Pray for a friend, your roommates and your spouse. Go in and ask the Lord to show you what He wants you to take away from the weekend. You will be so glad you did.
And write in the prayer journals for your new friends. Last year I ended up in the room with my mastermind group and we were passing around the journals like candy bars. It was so fun to get to write and encourage each other in such a tangible way. You may write in one. You may write in 50. It doesn’t matter. make it meaningful for you.
Give up some of your free time to pray for and encourage others and the Lord will bless it.
Colossians 4:2, 5-6
“Be devoted to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone.”
8. Make yourself available.
A blogging conference, where the purpose is learning, networking and getting to know friends in real life, poses a challenge for both introverts and extroverts alike.
Introverts worry about overload and having enough down time to recharge. Extroverts spread themselves thin and don’t develop deeper, more meaningful relationships. All of this is to be expected and are things to think about as you head off to a weekend like Allume.
But if I have one piece of advice, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, it’s this: make yourself available. Push yourself to do things you don’t usually do. If that means sitting in the after-hours lounge when you’d rather be in bed reading a book, or sitting and getting to know one person really well when you’d rather be photo bombing everyone’s pictures at the photo booth, then push yourself to do that new thing.
Allume offers something that is really rare in life, a once-a-year opportunity to see and do new things that you can’t do in your everyday life. This is much different than your typical church retreat – there are women from all over North America there and they all like to do what you do, blog.
This is different than going to bible study every week, it’s in South Carolina and you had to purposefully travel to get there.
This is different than Women of Faith, there are women you need to meet and connect with form deep bonds with. Bonds that will last long after the ballroom lights are turned off and the next traveler is handed the key to your room.
This is your chance girlfriend. When He decides to turn your light on, you’d better make sure you are plugged in and have a working bulb in the socket. It’s time to shine like the light the Creator of the Universe made you to be. Whatever it takes for you to do that, don’t miss this amazing opportunity. Make yourself available.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
9. Ditch your expectations at the door.
a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.
When you expect something you believe it to be true and that it is going to happen. You have some sort of idea about what’s going to transpire.
Ok, let me just stop you there girlfriend. You have NO idea! You may think you know something about something because of something else. Bah! Here’s me holding up my big “W” fingers for you. WHATEVAH!
Listen, you don’t know jack about what’s going to happen this weekend and that is what makes Allume so incredibly awesome. God will take 450 women and give them an opportunity to come together, learn and mingle and give Him glory and praise and then do what only He can do. He will rain down blessings upon His girls that are unfathomable and defy any expectations that might have dared to show up.
This doesn’t mean don’t prepare – do it. Put together your notebook (or not), pack your favorite clothes, get a manicure (or not), put your lotion in a baggie for the TSA and show up. But remember that once you walk through the doors of the hotel, all bets are off. You don’t rule, reign or roost there. He does. And what He says, goes. You can either get on the bandwagon and enjoy the ride or you can try to hold onto your control and see how that works out for you. In this case, I don’t even want to know.
Think about it, 450 women who love to be in control, coming together and letting it all go. DUDE! Can I get an Amen?
But seriously, ditch your expectations at the door. You will have a much better weekend. You’ll learn more. You’ll be surprised more. You’ll be blessed more and you’ll walk away with so much more than you could have ever imagined.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
10. Find ME! (This was for 2013)
Ok, I admit it. Tip #10 is purely selfish on my part.
I love blogging and I love bloggers. Whether you have been blogging for 10 years or 10 minutes I want to meet YOU! I want to know your name, see your face, get your business card and find out how I can pray for you and support you as you write.
I want to eat a meal with you. I want to sit next to you in a session. I want to share caramel corn with you. You are the reason why I blog. YOU matter to me. Your blog matters to me. So I hope that you will find me and hug me and let me tell you that you totally ROCK! Because you do.
For me Allume is a time to learn and grow as a blogger. It is also a time to come together with a diverse group of women who are using their gifts and talents to glorify the Lord. In Him we find our value and our worth. Not in what we wear or how many twitter followers we have or because we’ve written a book or two.
No. In fellowship we celebrate one another, each with different ideas and passions and abilities. Together we become better writers and thinkers and servants and moms and wives. In one accord we give praise to the King of Kings and we glorify His name. We give Him thanks for what He is doing in us and in our sisters in Christ.
Let’s us magnify the Lord, not because we are great but because He is great. I can’t wait to celebrate with you and I honestly hope that you will find me during the weekend so that we can laugh and learn and grow together.
Now, all that’s left is to pack and travel to Greenville.
I encourage you to spend these next few weeks praying for the Lord to ordain your steps and your interactions and for your sisters who will be attending the conference along side you. Together, you will praise the Creator of the Universe (and learn a thing or two about blogging)!