By Chandra Lynn Smith
I sit at my desk on Tuesday morning, two days before the ACFW Conference begins. Many of you may be traveling today. This is the first year since 2012 I have missed the conference. It’s funny, before I started writing this morning I read my blog post from last September in which I wrote the top ten things to do if you were missing the conference. It’s time I heed my own advice. You see, one of our sons gets married on Saturday. While many of our members are enjoying their last day at the conference and the Gala, I will enjoy a wedding gala here in Pennsylvania.
But, for some of our members, it may not be happy reasons that keep them away from the conference this year. For some who dreamed of going this year, life may have gotten in the way. Accidents, illnesses, family circumstances, financial woes, crises of any sort can all block a trip to the conference. This past week the flooding from Florence has drastically changed life up and down the east coast.
It’s hard to go enjoy the annual conference knowing others wanted to and cannot. It’s hard to stay at home longing to be there. The acrostics FOMO(fear of missing out) and FOBLO(fear of being left out) are common these days. They are often taken lightly. But, I believe we should be aware our greatest enemy will use them to derail and freeze us.
This week as our friends are learning more of the craft, meeting up with friends they only see once a year, making new friends, having very important, nerve-racking appointments, the very best thing we can do is pray for them. It is not possible to be jealous of and dislike someone for whom you are praying. Praying for the conference, the ACFW Board, the teachers, the appointments, the attenders, including the hotel staff, and everyone there will keep your heart in the right place. Also, friends at home this is the perfect time to WRITE. Don’t forget, your love of story and writing is why you sit here longing to be in Nashville this week.
If you find yourself really struggling with the FOMO/FOBLO thing, try a little exercise. Listen to your thoughts and evaluate their source. Consider this:
God’s voice: Satan’s voice:
Be sure to determine to which voice you are listening, make corrections as needed, and then go back to praying for the conference and writing the story our Master Storyteller has placed on your heart. Never lose sight of the fact that He has the perfect plan for where he wants your story to go and when.What to do when you can't attend conference. @ChandraLynnS #ACFWBlogs #ACFW2018 Click To Tweet
Chandra Lynn Smith writes contemporary fiction filled with inspiration, intrigue, romance, and dogs. Her most recent novella, Turtle Box Memories, won the 2015 Genesis Award in the novella category. Her first book, The Light Holding Her is one of seven novellas by seven authors in Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection. Chandra and her husband live on a small farm in South Central Pennsylvania. Their house is often filled with all four sons, wives, fiancés, one beautiful granddaughter, friends, and anywhere from four to nine “grand dogs.” You can find her at www.amazon.com/author/chandralynnsmith or www.chandralynnsmith.blogspot.com
This is only the second one I’ve missed since the very beginning in Kansas City. I had jealousy creep into my heart as I saw pictures from friends last night, but this morning I prayed for them and for the conference in general, and you’re right…the jealousy will leave when you pray. I had some great appointments and some that were not so good. Thanks for the great reminder that Satan will take away our joy only if we allow it. Congratulations on the wedding in your family. May it be a wonderful time of bonding and melding two families through marriage.
Encouraging words, Chandra. Your comparisons are spot on!