This past weekend I attended the Spring 2018 Connexus Conference hosted by Valley Christian Church and as per usual, I am feeling so inspired, motivated, and excited by the event that I am feeling called to share more about my experience with all of you, in hopes that you’ll feel inspired and encouraged to attend the next conference! I also attended this conference last fall and I did a whole blog post all about what the conference is and why you should attend, because similar to this past weekend’s conference, I was feeling so inspired and I wanted to share that inspiration with all of my readers!
If you did not get a chance to check that post out, I recommend you read that post first to learn about this conference more in-depth, as this post is going to build on that one. You can check it out here! To give you a brief summary, the Connexus Conference is a faith-based leadership conference all about how you can become a leader within your sphere of influence. Also, since the conference is called “Connexus”, there is a strong emphasis on connecting with others within your sphere of influence! Pretty awesome, right?
This year the conference was a little different in that the spring event is geared more towards a regional audience (i.e. leaders in your very own community/back yard) vs. a national audience (which the fall event focuses on). And the coolest part? I got to be one of the guest speakers on one of the panels! (Okay, maybe not the coolest part for everyone, but it was definitely one of the coolest parts for me!) One of the things I love most is getting to share my knowledge with others to inspire, motivate, and encourage. Being asked to be part of this event was truly such an incredible honor.
As I sat there for the 1.5 day conference, taking about a million pages in notes, it became abundantly clear that I was yet again meant to be there as I felt like the message was made specifically for me. My word for 2018 was “risk“, as I wanted to take more risks in my business and personal life. See, I am an anxious person by nature and I wanted to continue to overcome the fears and anxieties that were holding me back from reaching my full potential. I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and surrender the control I have so desperately been holding onto, but for an anxious, type-A control freak this was SCARY. Wholeheartedly surrendering fears and anxieties and trusting the process? A few years ago I would not have been able to even comprehend this thought process simply because it would have seemed so inconceivable. As I deepened my faith, I learned that I can not do any of this without my faith in God to lead me in the direction He has laid out for me, and this conference just solidified that for me. As I listened to the amazing speakers, this message just continued to be reinforced:
“Trust the process”
“Step outside of your comfort zone”
“God is with us, we cannot fail”
“Let the peace of God rule your hearts”
“God is bigger than our mistakes”
“Greatness is not a destination, it’s a journey”
“Make God a priority”
“Seek out opportunities to help others”
“God will always give us what we need”
Literally every one of these statements had such a profound impact on me because they were exactly what I needed to hear.
Then something really interesting happened. Part of the conference includes meeting with your sphere in small groups and the business sphere for this particular conference was the largest of all of the groups. There were around 20-25 people in this group alone and we were each given the opportunity to share what spoke to us during the conference, or what our takeaway was. Ready for the wild part? Every single answer was different. One of the group leaders even wrote them all down as we spoke and noted that they were all different. How can this be? We were all hearing the exact same messages/speeches, exact same speakers, and we were all in the exact same sphere. So why did we all have different takeaways?
Because God has an individualized plan for each of us, that’s why.
God spoke to each of us based on those individual plans throughout the entire conference. And if this example is not proof enough, I don’t know what is.
One of the biggest takeaways, regardless of which sphere you identified with, was that we aren’t meant to do this alone. If we were, we wouldn’t need God to guide us, support us, love us or to be there for us. We need to trust that God has a plan for each and every one of us in our sphere of influence, we just have to be open to receiving it.
I really wasn’t sure what angle to take with this post because honestly, I am still feeling so inspired and motivated that I could probably write a short novel on what I learned and took away from the conference! After some prayer and meditation around it, I realized this was the message I was meant to share: Believing in ourselves, focusing on our own path, and continuing to develop and deepen our relationship with the Lord.
The topic I was guest speaking on was in regards to how to add values to others in your sphere of influence. One of the things I mentioned during my speaking part was that in my profession, I need to have faith in my clients before they even have faith in themselves, because if I don’t have belief in their ability to make positive changes, then how can they have faith in themselves? Isn’t this such a parallel to our relationship with God? He has the faith and belief in us from day one. We just need to believe in ourselves, trust the process, and most importantly trust Him.
I truly cannot express enough how incredible this conference is. The next conference is scheduled for October 26 + 27, so mark your calendars now and be on the lookout to sign up when the time comes! (Pro tip: Following VCC on social media is a great way to stay connected!) Also, I completely understand that life is busy and when events take place on weekends, it’s hard to carve out time to attend amongst all of the other obligations we have. So here is a powerful mindset shift for anyone feeling ambivalent:
A few years ago, when I was going through a very difficult time, I vividly remember asking God for guidance one day. I was feeling so low and so defeated, I knew I needed His guidance. Right after that, I turned on an episode of Joel Osteen. During this particular sermon, he made reference to the fact that people justify not going to church regularly because they have “so much to do” or “no time.” Then he referenced that people wake up at the crack of dawn to attend football games, sit outside in unfavorable weather conditions, and have no problem letting laundry go undone or putting off errands or other responsibilities for those events. When I tell you my jaw hit the floor, I mean it.
For those of you who don’t know me personally, my husband and I are HUGE Rutgers Football fans (Go Scarlet Knights!) and we are those overly excited people who wake up at 5am, drive two hours in a RV to tailgate and attend a game all day, in 30 degree weather. We’ve sat through rain, sleet, and snow because it’s “part of the experience” (And honestly are you even a true fan if you don’t this?! I mean this is true dedication!)
The thing is, we always justified doing this because we were being such “diehard fans” and we had no issue with letting our other responsibilities go for the weekend to support the team. So when I thought about how it’d feel for me to pray to God and for Him to say “Not today, Sarah, the Jets are playing. Maybe I’ll get to it later..,” I realized my priorities were not in order and changes needed to be made.
This was such a pivotal moment for me and not only shaped my spiritual journey going forward, but my life as well.
See, there are opportunities to learn more about God’s plan for you all around you, you just have to be open to those opportunities and this conference is one of those opportunities. When I tell you something incredible happens when you have a room full of inspired people, I mean it. The energy in the room was incredible. The excitement was infectious. And the best part was, no one felt like they were “missing out” on their weekend. Instead, we were all enjoying our weekend!
If you’re someone who is looking for guidance, this conference is for you. If you’re someone looking to connect more within your community, this conference is for you. If you’re someone who is feeling stuck in your personal or professional life, this conference is for you. If you’re someone who is looking to deepen your faith, this conference is for you. If you’re someone who is looking to be inspired, then this conference is for you.
So, will I see you at the next conference?!
I would LOVE to know what spoke to you today and encourage you to comment below and share with me!
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