To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue. Proverbs 16:1
Soon I’ll be preparing to attend the Allume conference. I haven’t been able to attend the last 2 years and it’s starting to feel a bit like getting ready for a family reunion. As hard as it will be leave behind my four favorite people and my main squeeze, my excitement is growing when I think about meeting up with some of my favorite people that I almost never get to see. I’ve been thinking a lot about what this trip means for me this year, and while I don’t know what God has in store, I feel confident that I am supposed to be there.
I have two previous Allume experiences under my belt, and several other conferences, so I know better this year about what to bring, and what not to bother with. I know about saving room for swag, and organizing the business cards I will receive. I know about making sure to stay hydrated and wear comfortable shoes. I know better than to plan on catching up on missed sleep.
I know it’s ok to drink 3 cups of coffee and eat cupcakes at midnight with girlfriends, even though I never do that sort of craziness here at home.
My detail oriented Husband has an incredibly organized packing checklist that he always prints off for me before I travel, which saves me from forgetting many a key item. I would likely leave the most obvious necessities at home, if it weren’t for this piece of paper that acts as my brain when the suitcases come out.
There is one thing though, that is not on the packing checklist.
I have a bit of a history with this conference, and though it’s been several years, I still carry the marks that initial trip left on my heart. That first year I attended, I spent the whole plane ride there asking God to help me to receive whatever the message was He wanted me to take away. The opportunity had been so clearly an act of Divine Intervention, I prayed less out of obedience and more out of sheer awe. God used that first Allume to usher me into a new season.
Now, between scheduling a haircut, planning activities for the kids in my absence, stocking the fridge, making sure everyone here will have clean clothes, and scanning the closet for my own suitable conference attire, I am reminded of the importance of this one key thing that I could easily forget:
Prepare your heart.
Blogging conferences are no longer “new” to me. I attend this year as a well seasoned veteran. Though there will still be “firsts” for me to experience, I am confident of a few things–what I wear at the conference is mostly irrelevant. God’s got bigger plans than whether of not those knee-high brown boots will work with that skirt, or if that turquios bobble necklace is too 2012. (That said, if you are getting head shots taken, or meeting with agents and Editors, then do bring something other than your yoga pants to wear).
You’re going to meet people you’ve never met at Allume. You’re going to have dinner conversations with people that will break down the dam in your heart and your going to find a community of women who love and encourage you. They may be your roommates. They might be your table mates one night at dinner. Maybe you’ll meet them in the prayer room, as they pray over you. You may not know yet, but God does, and He has already appointed these special moments in your trip. You may be a shoulder for your new friend to lean on, and you might even find you need a shoulder too. Be open to this.
Prepare your heart.
Someone might say something to you that changes the entire course of your blogging, or even more, your life. This may sound dramatic, but it’s true. I continue to experience the ripples from the very first Allume (Relevant) conference I attended 6 years ago. God wastes nothing.
God’s going to show up and remind you that He’s in control, and that you can (and should) stockpile all the brilliant advice you want in that social media session but ultimately, it’s going to come down to one thing–Jesus.
Prepare your heart.
Yes, get your hair done, get a manicure, try on twenty-five outfits–fine, yes, I get it. Do all of those things if you want to. But add this one thing to your list–
Prepare your heart. Spend some time in prayer, and ask God to open your eyes, ears and heart to the people and conversations you will have.
God knows why you are going to Allume this year, even if you’re like me, and aren’t entirely sure what He has for you there.
Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground;
for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on you. Hosea 10:12
Are you going to Allume? How are you preparing for the conference? Are you attending my Creative Session: Make It Pop: The Art Of Creating Beautiful Images? Let me know in the comments so I can be looking for you!