I am joining in today with the ever-encouraging Crystal Stine and playing along with her #BehindtheScenes link up!
The idea is that in our Instagrammed, Photoshopped, ever-Pinterest-worthy world online... often the real story is left untold... so here, we get real and we get bold and we tell the whole truth Behind the Scenes... So - here we go!
I stumbled across this photo the other day and because I am gearing up for and counting down to Allume - all the emotions behind the scenes just flooded back to surface!
It was way back in 2009 and I was a little shell shocked that I was even sitting there! I started blogging back in '06... but no one really knew I was doing it! I entered the Blogosphere simply in obedience - thinking I would do it for a year and then be done. Even with no followers, very few readers, and a rare (non-spam) comment here and there, I fell in love with the practice of listening for Him and then writing down what He was teaching me or showing me or asking me to share with you - the internet. (Even though you - the internet - weren't actually reading me, as far as I could tell!)
One year quickly turned into two or three and by 2009 I began to wonder if this was a Thing... if this was something I was actually supposed to be doing long term. And if it was, maybe I should actually learn how to do it... like, for real?
I had read a few life changing books from some of the staff at Bethel church... and had fallen in love with their worship music. I wanted to get a chance to just sit in the midst of it all and soak it in. Then - on a whim, I went to their website and my heart raced and oxygen escaped me as I read that they were hosting a - wait for it.... Writer's Conference! (What?)
Now - I am only recently - as in, real time- in the here and now season- just starting to stand up tall in saying that I am a writer! (Thank you, Jeff Goins!) But back then, blogger and writer were not the same thing and I wasn't even so sure I could claim blogger as a title. I was not one to go to writer's conferences or type out book proposals or even begin to guess how to go about finding a publisher or an agent... the world of books was shifting and I felt Oh So Over my Head in it all!
I didn't know about all of that - I just knew that I
I mentioned it in passing, all breathy-like and wistful, to my Honey and his immediate response was, 'We should make this happen! You need to be there!' Wait, what? I am a stay at home Mama... we are a single income family that lives paycheck to paycheck and just picking up and traveling and being GONE for a whole week... that was not our lives? Still - his support meant the world to me!
Next thing I knew... a few friends, and several strangers (no joke) pitched in and paid my way! As in - they registered me (and a friend so I had a travel companion!) and paid my gas and sent food money... I was in a daze!
I invited my sweet friend Lori... she is not a writer (she always says this!) but this girl can pray... and I usually forget to write down how she prays until she is done - but if someone would do that... well - the world would be a better place, for sure! She may not always write things down - but this girl has a way with words and has been a constant support to me. I was honored to have her come with me!
We both (especially back then) had a tendency to blend in and melt back and shy away... we both felt SO out of place there at a Writer's Conference - despite everyone being amazingly over the top friendly and loving!
This shot... this was taken I believe on Day 2... outside of the church, during a break.
I don't remember much of that conference! Sure - I have notes and CDs of the sessions that I can go and revisit. Much of what was presented was more testimonial and less tutorial... and it felt like if you could just stay there in that atmosphere, and breathe in that oxygen - then a book deal would magically happen for you too! But I didn't go there really for tutorials, although that would have been helpful. What I came there for was to be in the Presence of God in a place where they actually encourage and let Him show up and take charge! I wanted to be mingling around in a room full of creative people... hoping that that alone would stir up creativity in me. It did... and it solidified to me that this writing thing really is like air to me... whether I am writing in my journal, typing out a blog post, or jotting down a scripture or word of encouragement in a card for a friend... it rejuvenates me - when I am doing it for Him!
(It exhausts me when I find myself doing it for others... or my own ambitions!)
So as Allume gets closer, I fight the memories of clinging to just one familiar face and not getting out of my comfort zone... of not taking the opportunity to meet new people and create friendships. Sure - it strengthened ours, but we not only could have benefited from someone else - but we were filled up and ready to share... so I am thrilled to find that even though I am bringing a friend (my Honey!) - he will not be attending Allume sessions with me... (I'm pretty sure he knows this!) However, I also know that chances are GOOD that no matter what room I walk into - I will find a friend.
One reason is because - well, one of the biggest blessings about being a Blogger now is the kinship there is and the community through (In)courage and FMFParty gatherings and just blog hopping and spreading the love! Another reason though is because I am different than I was back in 2009.
My readership is not much bigger... I still have no book proposal penned out... but I claim the title - the gifting, really - of a Writer without hesitation now. I know who I am... and what He has called me to do. I may still find myself shell shocked to be at Allume (thank you Tonya!) and will possibly find myself fighting off a temptation to withdraw or blend in... but that's not really who I am and there is only one me! If He wants us to meet - I want to be crossing the room to make that happen! I am going to Allume - a writers conference for bloggers - not just to learn and to receive, but I am most excited to meet friends face to face and to look for ways to pour out blessings... My desire, always, is to (say it with me now:)
Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.
What about you? Have you found yourself in places that you have longed to be and yet allowed fear and insecurities hold you back? If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently?
Me? I'm doing it over again at Allume, and my plan is to assume that everyone is fighting the same feelings, and I'm gonna cross the room!
Linked up with Crystal over HERE