Saturday, April 19, 2014

Week 15: Be Altered

The Alteration

The Alteration

On the campus of Southwest Baptist University (SBU) – a small university in southwest Missouri – a group of compassionate young women came together in prayer to seek the Lord’s will for themselves, for their sisters on campus and in their community. Last weekend, The Alteration – a women’s conference focused on identity and authenticity – was held as a result of their prayers. I had the honor of leading a breakout session at The Alteration.

The SBU Bearcats are crouched in the middle of what looks like farm country in Bolivar, Missouri. Because the city is so small (population just over 10,000), I stayed just thirty minutes south in the city of Springfield. The thirty minute drive between my hotel and the school felt nothing like the big city thirty minute commute to which I am accustomed. However, it gave me a wonderful time of reflection on Friday and Saturday evenings, after I left campus and returned to my hotel room.

Still reflecting

I’ve spent the past week still reflecting on my time at the conference – the sessions and each amazing young woman I had the pleasure of meeting. It’s taken me a whole week to write about it because it feels like such a travesty to have to sum up the experience in just a few short words. I don’t know about the young women who attended, but I learned lessons that began before I arrived, visited while I was there and have become faithful companions since my return.

Three of those lessons – most valuable truths and arguments for authenticity – that have settled with me are as follows:

      1. People will either like you or they won’t. Pretty basic right? But the latter (or they won’t) is often a tough pill to swallow. Truth is there’s usually no in between. Some may even have a heart to like you but their head simply won’t allow it. Sad, but true…
      2. People will either cling to you or keep their distance. And this really isn’t a bad thing. However, watch out for those who may be loitering for questionable reasons. Learning to discern is key. Learning to guard your heart is even more important.
      3. People will either be inspired or intimidated by you. Sometimes a person’s actions toward you are based off intimidation by the good they see in you. This has nothing to do with you, so DON’T OWN IT. And by all means don’t hide your true self to keep the peace or to keep the person. Sure we have some bad parts that may strike a nerve, as well. Healthy relationships embrace the good, cover the flaws and love unconditionally. If a person truly intends to love you for who you are, your flaws won’t unnerve them quite as much.

And guess what… We have no control over any of this.

In closing, I’ve heard great teachers express that one should teach from the overflow of his/her life. Life has definitely taught me (and continues to do so) many lessons about knowing who I am and being myself. I tried to teach from that overflow during my time at SBU.

My sessions ran over, and I was deeply blessed by the young ladies who were late for their next stop because they took a few extra minutes to share their stories with me. My prayers are definitely going up for more opportunities like that one.

So remember, hiding you true self to avoid the pain of judgment and rejection or to pacify the issues of someone else’s life does you both a disservice. Learning to just be yourself… Well that may just set you both free.

P.S. Special thank you to my oldest Princess, Trinity. Your Auntie is super proud of you and hopes she represented you well, my dear. 🙂

Me and my oldest pricess

Me and my oldest princess