The Influence Conference is coming up in just over a month. I'm so excited about my weekend away! Conference ticket, airfare, shuttle, hotel are all booked. It will truly be a new experience for me. I've never been away from my family for this long before. Andrew & I left the kids once over night, back in July, but me, flying off on my own to a conference, is whole new territory. He and the kids will be fine, I'm truly not all that worried about leaving them behind. No, my fears mostly lie at the conference. I've never been to a blogging conference before. And this is so much more than that. It's a meeting of Christian woman, wives, mothers, homemade business owners, anyone seeking to have fellowship, have influence in the world around them.
Why am I fearful? Mostly because of my worrying tendency. My great imagination always seems to dream up the worst in a situation. I dream it up, and then dwell on it, seeing the scenarios, remembering past experiences, letting my brain write out what "could" happen.
But God's word reminds me that my focus shouldn't be there. That, He has given me something much greater than fear to live in:
"Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" Philippians 4:6-7, HCSB).
And so I pray about those fears, I ask Jesus to take them, to scatter them as far as the ends of the seas. And to do something with this heart that is ready to be moved. Ready to take this next step with my little blog, my little corner of this world.
And somehow, come back changed.
Not suddenly with a huge blog following or anything, but recharged, ready to have as much influence as I can in my little corner of the world.
The Influence Network ladies talk a lot about your influence. How your influence is exactly where you are at this moment. What one blogger said the other day really struck me. She can have a blog, or a business, and minister outside of the home, but her greatest scope of influence would always be right there, in her own home.
I've always dreamed of doing big things, of being known. I have big dreams of what I want to do in future years, when my kids are grown. But, that's not where I am right now. Right now, I have two little ones at home who demand a large portion of my attention, my time, my resources. They are my greatest influence.
How blessed am I?
These two fireballs who rock my world, often make me want to pull my hair out, and make me laugh so hard I cry. They are smart, loving, caring little humans. They give hugs and kisses freely, show their strong personalities often. They, and their father, make up my world.
But how am I living my life around them? What am I teaching them, day in and day out? Am I showing them where my priorities are? Am I showing them what I view as most important in my life?
Lately, I've been trying to balance out all the crazy extremes. Finding time for devotions, for exercise, for homemade diners and healthy snacks. I have been trying to get into a better system with cleaning our house, with managing our finances. Not find a perfect balance, mind you, as this blogger so graciously reminded me the other day. No, instead, to bring some priorities back in order. To get my focus back where it needs to be.
These are all things I want to teach my kids about. Things I want them to learn growing up. Life is about growing, changing, adapting to life's challenges, and keeping our eyes fixed up above on our author and perfecter of life.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith" (Hebrews 12:1-2, NIV).
Being my children's primary influence can be daunting. It's an awesome roll to fill. One I'm pretty sure I'm not qualified for. But the good news is that I don't have to be. I just have to focus on Jesus, and run this messy race called life each and every day. When my eyes are on Him, my children see that. They see imperfect me, living my life for Him. Fixing my eyes on Him is the best influence I can hope to have over my children. Teaching them to trust Him with their messy, imperfect lives, is the best I can do. Teaching them to go to Him with their worries, their cares, their struggles. That's my prayer for my life, and that's my prayer for theirs. May we persevere, and all become just a little more like Him each and every day.