Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekend Worship—Conditions of the Heart


For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Galatians 6:3

This week I had the privilege to attend my fourth ACFW conference. For those who don’t know, ACFW stands for American Christian Fiction Writers. This conference is always a blessing, and a trial for me to attend. A blessing because it’s such an amazing organization, and I always see grace in action. Here, seasoned writers encourage, teach and network with those who are still working hard to get started on their publishing dreams. It seems everywhere I turn I see someone putting others ahead of themselves. I have a friend who gave away her coveted editor appointment to another writer, and as a result the recipient moved several steps closer to her publishing goal. It’s not unusual to see knots of attendees huddled together, praying for one another or celebrating good news.

The trial comes when I see the other side of human nature. In the stress-filled environment of a conference some revert to a more selfish way of carrying on. Their conversation tends to consist more of I and me, instead of you and yours. Even worse, their actions are subtly orchestrated to remind those around of their importance and yes, greed. The hardest thing about encountering this, is how obvious it is to everyone around.

So what do I do when I encounter these sorts of individuals? I’ve discovered the first thing I need to do is pray—for myself. When I see this in others, I use it to remind me to be on guard against self-centeredness within my own heart. Because I guarantee you it’s there, even if I’ve managed to conquer it for the moment. I let the behavior I observe be a signpost, pointing to the fact that none of us is perfect and we all must work to react in a giving and grace-filled manner.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks, Edie, for the reminder to always be on guard.I just went to a conference. I was pondering how I came across to the people I sat beside. Probably a little of both. Thanks!!
    Erin

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  2. I love hearing about a writer giving away her coveted editor appointment. I'm reading it everywhere ... the way to success is to give things away, not to try to figure out how to get more. You've said it, Seth Godin says it, Jeff Goins, and my husband's in a networking group whose motto is Givers Gain. I love the idea because it frees all of us up to be generous. Sounds like you had a wonderful conference!

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