Influence Conference // Nashville

I just got back from the Influence conference in Nashville, Tennessee.  What a soul stirring weekend it was.  Not only was the conference amazing and fruitful, but having the chance to get away with one of my close girlfriends and have that time to discuss and share what we were learning and what the Lord was teaching us was incredibly valuable.  I haven't stepped away from real life to do something like this in such a long time and I am so thankful my friend Taylor invited me to join along.  I felt as though many of the women speaking at the conference added to things that were already stirring in my heart.  One of those things being an ache for less.  I've had a huge ache for less lately and have made that my goal in a word for this year.  Less commitments, less consumption, less shopping, less time worrying, less complaining, less time on my phone, less time spent being distracted, less stress, less unhealthy choices,  less busyness, less tv, less social media scrolling, and less fear.  I have felt so burdened lately seeing an excess of these things in myself and our society.

A huge aspect of my choosing of the word less is holding less expectations of myself.  I have this vision of my perfect self and do everything to create this person, but fail weekly even daily at what I am trying to achieve and the cycle continuously seems to start over.  Jess Connolly spoke exactly on this at the conference about the fact that she does the same thing.  That women are guilty of doing this same thing.  Her response to her ideal self now, however, is that getting better is off of the table for her.  The only thing she is committing to is staring at the face of God each day.  That we are our most influential self when we make a mistake and repent, not when we turn into our versions of best.  There is so much freedom in that, isn't there?  When she spoke this at Influence, I wanted to jump up and down.  That was something I needed to hear.  I am always searching for ways to be a better everything- wife, mom, teacher, friend, coworker, and person.   I make lists on paper and in my head of all the things I need to work on and I need to do x, y, and z for myself, my husband, my daughter, my job, and my family in order for everything to function proficiently and to produce the best possible version of our lives.  It's maybe not that extreme, but I feel like it is something I do unconsciously and have fallen in the habit of- the constant re-evaluating.

To stop and remember the simple but greatest calling on my life, to commit to look to God each day and to commit to less of what the weight of the world seems to put on our shoulders (all of the things that do not come from the Lord), is something so beautiful to me. That I can be the most influential when I make a mistake and own it.  It seems to shout to embrace the ordinary, the mess, the mundane tasks, and to rest in this beautiful life we are given.  This new mindset that was shared with me a few weeks ago has made all of the difference.  I am feeling less of all the things and finding so much joy.

Here's to a year of fighting for less, finding quiet in the chaos life throws our way,  and finding faith in the dark because I am learning we are meant for so much more.

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