This past week my husband and I attended the general conference for our denomination. It was awesome! It was also jam-packed with TONS of information! The mission of the denomination is to Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples and there were three evenings of messages on just this statement! To say I felt convicted is the understatement of the year. From a lacking intimacy in my own personal relationship with Him, to the selfish way I treat those close to me (husband, children, etc.), to the fact that I have no idea what it’s like to be truly persecuted for my faith. And that was just the evening services!
During the day there were breakout sessions and I chose to attend a session on health. The goal was to look at various ways to promote health in church leadership, in the congregation, and in individuals. Again, talk about conviction!! Most of my conviction in this session came from looking at individual health. Specifically, how I behave in relation to others. I’m a very selfish person, quick to make myself the victim, easily angered, and sometimes downright mean. It’s all stuff I work on, but I had gotten pretty off track recently. This session was fabulous in that for hours a Christian psychologist gave us tips and pointers on how to relate to others in safe and healthy ways. Again, though… there was so much information!
Over the course of the week I began to realize that there was almost too much information. How was I going to effectively apply all of these changes to my life? Too often when I attend conferences with lots of information I set out to make all of the changes, but it’s too much and I look back after six months to find that none of them stuck! I definitely did not want that to happen this time. As a teacher, we get inundated with information at conferences and run into the same situation. However we have a saying where I work: “One small change”. The idea is to pick one thing from all of the information that really stuck with you and make that (and only that) change. In doing this, the change is small and realistic enough to last and actually have a lasting effect.
I chose during this conference to have two small changes as one is personal and one involves my relationships with others. From the evening sessions I was convicted of so much! But, what I realized is that the way I treat others and my love for those I don’t know, or don’t understand, will flow out of a deep and intimate relationship with my Heavenly Father. So, for now, rather than focus on every aspect that I need to improve, I’m letting my one small change be to spend 5 minutes every day with Jesus. The ultimate goal of this is to develop a deeper relationship with Him so that the other changes happen from the overflow of that relationship and a desire to glorify Him, rather than me trying to force them. From the health breakout session, my one small change is to constantly remind myself to be a “non-anxious presence”. In other words, I want to remain present and calm in various situations. With my children, instead of getting angry, I want to remain calm, yet firm. With my husband, instead of acting as the victim, I want to remain calm and assume positive intent. Ultimately, I want to make sure I remain calm enough in situations to remind myself that it’s not about me. Everything I do, everything I am, is to glorify my Heavenly Father.
Father God, thank You for being at the conference last week. Thank You for convicting me and for loving me despite my failures. Lord, I need Your help to make these changes. Father, I want to know You more, I miss You. I have spent so much time afraid to be in Your presence, but I want to be close to You again. Forgive me, Father, for my selfishness. Give me strength and wisdom as I try to make these small changes. Give me Your power to overcome my selfish nature. I love You and I want to glorify You in everything I do. Please guide me, Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.