Advance planning does not work at our house, so I made a spur of the moment decision to attend the SheSpeaks Conference sponsored by Proverbs 31 Ministries this past weekend in Charlotte, NC. I am so glad that I did. Over four hundred women from all over the United States converged for training, inspiration, and fellowship. This conference included tracks for both writers and speakers and I chose participation in a speakers evaluation group with eleven other women. Part of the evaluation included two different talks with assigned topics and time limits. As we began, our leader reminded us that as speakers, we must respect the given time limits and to do otherwise would be rude and unprofessional. However, I figured a couple of extra minutes would not matter. Wrong! The stopwatch beeped and my time was up just as I was barely halfway through the first speech. I was so embarrassed. I spent most of the second night doing a rewrite because I wanted to avoid that buzzer. I breathed a sigh of relief as I sat down at the end of my second talk–satisfied that I had given it my best. And, no buzzer and a thumbs up from my speaking buddies gave me some hope. But the best part was a good evaluation from our leader. Our Heavenly Father gives us the same advice in Hebrews 12:11, No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Disciplined living requires commitment to the rules, even when it is hard. Just ask an athlete, dancer, musician, or student. Sometimes, we rationalize that just a little fudging won’t matter. But it is often just that small detour from the set path that takes us down the wrong road so that we miss out on the rewards of all our hard work. If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding. Proverbs 15:32 (NLT) I gained a tremendous amount of information this weekend and I proved that I could do the hard thing. But I also learned that I could not do it by myself…God was there to guide me and give me the ability to succeed. It was just the kind of challenge that I needed to help me grow.
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