There isn’t a day that goes by when we don’t ask ourselves to make value judgements on any number of things. Do I go to a coffee shop and purchase a cup of morning eye opener, or do I brew at home and carry a travel tumbler with me out the door? What about a big purchase such as a house or a car? Is a fixer-upper good enough, or should we look for something new and unlikely to need repairs? Behind almost every financial decision is an underlying series of questions we must answer. The question can be asked in any number of ways: Can we afford it? Can we afford not to do it? What’s the benefit? Does the benefit outweigh the cost? Is it necessary? Is it frivolous? Is the timing right? What will be my likely ROI (return on investment)?
To say the least these are tough questions. Recently, Joyce and I attended the annual ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference. This was our first year to be a member of ACFW, or any other writing group, so we had to wrestle through all the above questions before we came to the decision, “Yes, we’re going to bite the proverbial bullet and go.”
This brings us back around to the original question that’s suggested in the title of this blog, “Was it worth it?” In our case I would say a resounding “yes.” We saved our money for months and committed to spend four days and nights at the conference. Everything about the conference proved to be first class—the accommodations, the food, the speakers, the worship, the keynote speakers and especially the people who attended. I was pleasantly surprised, and frankly somewhat amazed, at how unselfish the people were with their time and talent. The general attitude of those who had “made it” with their writing was, “How can I help you become the best writer you can be?” That way of thinking refreshed our souls, put a smile on our faces and a little pep in our step. It encouraged us both to discover first hand we are not alone in our quest of following the Lord into the creative realm of writing.
I believe one of the main lessons I came away with from this conference was the importance of connecting with others. As Christians, we have all seen the importance of connecting with like-minded believers in a group setting. We are not to live as ‘lone ranger’ Christians, but live connected and in relationship with others for the express purpose of encouraging and helping one another. I believe I saw clearly last weekend the importance of applying that mindset to my daily life—whatever career or setting that entails. Just as I have done for many years by discipling ‘younger’ Christians, I am determining to look for ways I can help and encourage others as I travel this road of being an author.
How have you been encouraged and refreshed lately? Have you been given the opportunity to help or encourage recently? (Did you recognize the opportunity when it stared you in the face?) How have you connected with others? I would enjoy hearing from you…