I’d made up my mind. The conference was too expensive. Traveling to Colorado Springs in the middle of a volatile winter was too risky and stressful. I wasn’t going to the Writing for the Soul Conference in 2014.
God had a different idea.
About six weeks before the conference, it occurred to me I hadn’t asked God what he wanted. I’d assumed because of the price and the travel stress that attending wasn’t his will. I hadn’t prayed about it. Feeling convicted, I prayed and waited for God to give me direction. Meanwhile, I rationalized God wouldn’t want me to spend money on the conference fees, hotel, airfare, meals, and other transportation. Especially when I had other ideas for the money I’d saved.
Ten days before the conference, the Lord led me to go. I did, and from this experience I learned a few lessons.
1.) God has the right to ask me to spend the money I’ve saved in the way that he leads because it belongs to him (Psalm 24:1). I’d been so focused on my plans for my savings that I hadn’t considered God’s ideas might differ from mine. Saving is important and necessary, but when we put some of our money into the world instead of hoarding it, God uses it to bless and to provide for others.
2.) Obedience leads to blessing. Had I insisted on my own way not obeyed God, I wouldn’t have had the experience of meeting incredible people, resting and enjoying warm weather, and learning more about writing. And the mysteries of marketing and promotion. (That’s currently how I feel about these topics.)
3.) It’s not all about me. Sometimes God wants us in certain places so that we may bless and encourage others (1 Thessalonians 5:11). When I attend writing conferences, I pray God will help me be a blessing and encouragement to at least one person. I don’t know if I always achieve this, but I hope in some small way I can help a fellow writer at every conference I attend.
Thank you, Father, for reminding me to seek your will and for the blessing of being able to attend this conference.