I flew to Washington D.C. this morning to meet up with my new friend Lenae. As the plane prepared for take off, I sort of zoned out and didn't really pay much attention to the flight safety instructions. However, there is one set of instructions that I can't help but notice every time I fly: In the event of an emergency, everyone is instructed to "put their own oxygen mask on first and then turn to the person next to them and help them get theirs on."
Because if you don't get oxygen and you die, you won't be any help to anyone else, right?
It's a pretty simple concept to understand, and yet I would imagine it's quite difficult to put into practice in the event of an emergency. In fact, I feel confident guessing that a lot of us are pretty good at making sure that everyone else is taken care of in life, and caring for our own state of mind and heart comes in somewhere close to dead last. We are, all too often, an afterthought. Even to ourselves.
It make sense to put on someone else's oxygen mask before your own. It's noble; heroic even.
Unless, you don't succeed. Then you both die.
This weekend, I am attending a Christian blogging conference called Relevant. It's honestly a complete miracle that I'm even here. It's been sold out since March and I just got a ticket three weeks ago! My heart has been hungry for some inspiration. The last conference/retreat that I went to was over two years ago, and I walked away from it not feeling very encouraged, rested, or uplifted. (I even had to leave that conference to go to work on one of the days.) It just wasn't restful. It didn't fill me up. Since then, we have been pouring out our lives for others nonstop. We've taken a few vacations here and there, but spiritually speaking, I have been feeling quite dry lately.
So I began looking for tickets to Relevant. I knew it had sold out months ago, but I emailed and tweeted and even entered a blogging contest. (Remember this post? It was my entry). All to no avail. I couldn't get my hands on a ticket. Finally, a little over three weeks ago, I just decided to quit. I realized that if I was meant to go to this conference, I would go and if I wasn't meant to go, I wouldn't. Simple enough, right? Well, the very next day, a lovely lady returned an email of mine saying her ticket (that she had already sold once) was back up for sale. For $60 under the full price. I was ecstatic! I felt like Charlie with a golden ticket to the chocolate factory! Do you have a happy dance? Because I do. It involves wiggly arms and kind of just bouncing up and down. It's silly and it's honest and I was so excited when I got my ticket that I was happy dancing all night long. God had made a way. He wanted me there.
So now I'm here. I have my oxygen mask on. I'm taking the time to make sure that my somewhat tired soul is being encouraged, inspired, refueled, and taken care of so that when I leave here, hopefully I will be able to do the same for others. Maybe even help them put their oxygen masks on.
I have two full days of speakers, breakout sessions, prayer time, and making new friends ahead of me. If you're a praying kind of person, please pray that I would have a fulfilling time and that God speaks to me this weekend. Pray that I make new, lasting friendships, figure out more about who God is and who He has made to be, and maybe that I'll even figure out a little bit more of what this whole blogging thing is all about.