What is preparation panic? It's the over analyzing of the miniscule details because you don't have any control over the other stuff.
It's making sure I have the CUTEST outfit EVER to wear to an event.
It's stressing over my business cards before attending a conference.
It's the writing and rewriting of your bio sheet before you go to writers' event.
It's the overwhelming urge to spend HOURS researching every single teeny tiny detail and then angst over it because you may have it wrong.
It's the checking and rechecking your outfits with friends to make sure you're packing just the RIGHT stuff.
It's absolute panic and I was the queen of it! (and still struggle with it)
I'm just a few weeks away from a wonderful event — She Speaks Conference (for writers, speakers and womens ministry leaders). It's an incredible event that is filled with worship, workshops, & women! Three of my very favorite things.
I was there last year and I went prepared.
I had the JUST RIGHT outfits for my two talks (neither of which I wore).
I rush ordered business cards for a new ministry I'd just helped launch because it was ESSENTIAL that I have them. (I don't think I even handed one out).
I had blog posts scheduled to appear the whole time I was at the event. (Don't think I told a soul my website address.)
I had managed all the preparations — all the outward stuff was ready, but my heart was heavy. I was questioning my calling to write and speak. The book hadn't sold and I was getting very few requests to speak. I was in a dry season, but very few people knew it. But I was prepared and off I went.
Oh how I was blessed! The workshops challenged and encouraged me. The women I met embraced me and the speakers inspired me. All of it together made me remember that I'm called by God not by man, and God will accomplish what He chooses to accomplish. My job is to submit my will and show up! I don't have to have the perfect website, blog, or book proposal. I don't have to have the MOST AMAZING MARKETING plan EVER.
I am to do what God calls me to do. That's all. Nothing more. Nothing less.
In this realization, I found freedom. Freedom from preparation panic. So if you're like me and you're getting ready to go to She Speaks (or anywhere or even if you're staying home) and you're in preparation panic take a DEEP BREATH IN and breath out. Now, answer this question — Why?
Why do you write, speak, lead, teach, sing, dance, paint, do mime stuff (really why?) ?
Why are you going to She Speaks?
Have you answered those? Okay, now ask God what's next. I can assure you that He is okay with you even if your bio sheet doesn't get finished or your business cards don't come in. I know that He will still love you if you don't finish your book proposal. He will love you even if you make a mess of your three minute testimony.
Rest in the assurance that if He's called you to it, He will equip you for it. Knowing this is the only thing that keeps me from rampant preparation panic.
And I would love to meet you at She Speaks — I'm the slightly frazzled, but usually optimisitic dreamer. Look for me!
Thank you, just thank you. I look forward to seeing you at SheSpeaks. But again, thank you for this post. I feel those fingers of panic curling around my shoulders and tightening up my stomach. I need to breath. I’ve been to SS before I know how amazing it is and this disquiet in my heart makes no sense at all. Now I’m going to go take a deep breath and practice my mime act. Grins.
Amen!!! I am the most unprepared I could imagine being for this year’s She Speaks. I have no idea what God wants me to speak, and I honestly don’t know how I’ll do it (it’ll be first time since my husband died in May). But, I DO know He wants me there and made the way possible. Therefore, I’m trusting Him to take care of the details. I’m done worrying…I’m done being anxious. It’s all about Him anyway!
Thank you, Mary. Such encouragement! Great reminders!
Thank you, Mary, for your insightful encouragement. This will be my first She Speaks conference and I am looking forward to learning what God is calling me to do. I was starting down the road of preparation panic but you’ve talked me off the ledge. I scoped out your website after seeing your post on the She Speaks attendees FB group. I hope we’ll have a chance to meet at the conference!
Great post! I’m the opposite…I don’t obsess over stuff, I bury my head in the sand like “la la la, no She Speaks isn’t happening in just over 2 weeks, no I don’t need to work on my proposal right now, oh, that speech can wait till next week to work on, la la la”. I look forward to meeting you there! And I just want to enjoy this conference and take in every moment!
I want to thank you sooooo much for this post – and do you want to know why? Are you ready for this??? I was beginning to feel bad that I WASN’T stressing over anything! LOL How’s that for really crazy????
This is my first year to attend, God paid the way so I know He wants me there, I’m going for the Women’s Ministry track so I’m not having to prepare anything (bio sheet, speech, book proposal, etc). As for business cards, I didn’t even realize that others would have them – I just planned to take the same cards I take to the E-Women Conferences with my information on them to exchange with friends I meet there 🙂
I kept seeing all these ladies posting all their concerns and I was truly beginning to feel bad about not having anything to stress over! LOL
Then I read your post and I was like – YES!!! It is definitely okay that I am not stressing over anything. I am simply looking forward to being able to meet all the wonderful new friends and to get whatever it is that He has for me there in the way of training for Women’s Ministry.
Thank You, Jesus, for using Mary’s post to remind me that it is okay to simply be feeling excited about what You have in store for me at She Speaks 🙂
Oh – and don’t worry Mary – I am DEFINITELY going to find you there! It has been waaaaaaaaaay tooooooooooooo long since I saw you in Birmingham last year 😉
I had the opportunity to go to She Speaks this year, but just did not feel the ‘yes’ of God. Maybe next year. I know it will be awesome and i can’t wait to hear all about it.
I have to learn and re-learn the ‘waiting on and trusting in’ God thingy pretty frequently.
Oh, sweet new friend! You said EVERYTHING I needed to hear! I thought I’d learned these lessons….but…NOT! Thanks for the reminder. I already feel a kindred heart with you and can hardly wait to meet you face to face in a couple of weeks!
REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!