I walked into the She Speaks conference with an overwhelming sense of peace. I read that many were concerned about their wardrobe and their speeches and book proposals, and though I had my days of anxiousness, by the time I walked in I was completely relaxed. Each person I met enthralled me with their experiences leading up to the conference. God was calling me to be "others-focused," and it was a whole lotta wonderful. Except for the normal bit of nervousness that came Friday night just before 3-minute speech time, the Lord's peace prevailed.
The session after lunch came, and a funk came over me right in the middle. I felt dizzy, sick to my stomach, exhausted, numb. It was as if I had been sitting in the middle of a beach somewhere basking in the sun, and out of nowhere a gynormous wave rolled in and knocked me over, leaving me flat on my back.
So I did what any "others-focused" individual would do. I limped to my room and hid. Behind that closed door, I hoped that my roommate wouldn't come in and see me sobbing on my knees by the bed. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. Had I been sandbagging my anxiousness only to have it explode and make a mess now? Was I exhausted from the days of preparation getting ready for the trip? Was it a spiritual attack? What in the world had come over me?
As I moved to the bed and tried to drift off to sleep, my cell phone rang. It was my 11-year-old daughter, and she was in the same shape I was. She missed me. She felt like she was doing everything around the house and others were taking her for granted. She didn't want to tell anyone, especially Dad, because she didn't want to come apart in front of him. I advised her to go into her closet and pray (the only place she has privacy), and to ask the Lord for strength to talk to Dad. I told her, "Sweetie, you'll be amazed how much better you'll feel if you can find the courage to admit to dad how you're feeling." We cried together for a little while longer, and I shared with her how I was feeling too.
While I was ending my conversation with my daughter, my roommate Amy Bayliss walked in. She saw I was a mess, but she didn't pry. I felt led to tell her what I was going through, but I didn't want to bother her with it. After all, she had another publisher's meeting to go to and a whole list of things to be focused on herself. It was a mixture of my care for her and pride that I wanted to continue faking my strength until she left the room again.
Then I remembered my words to AnaLee. You know, about how much better she'd feel if she just admitted she was weak. So I grabbed Amy, and I told her. She immediately prayed as I continued to weep, and I was amazed. A healing wave of peace and relief flooded over me. Not long after Amy left the room, my daughter called again. She said she took my advice and went into the closet to pray and that she was ready to talk to Daddy. I was definitely able to encourage her after what I'd just experienced.
The memory of this mind-boggling moment ministers to me on so many levels. Pride had convinced me that I was to be "on" while at the conference or else I'd be no good to anyone. I let the enemy discourage me and speak lies into my ear. I almost cancelled my publisher's meeting AND my talk on Saturday night. Honestly, the thought went through my mind that maybe I'm just not cut out for any of this stuff. Nobody else was in their room having a meltdown, I thought. LOL, Like I would know...
The power of releasing our pride and our weaknesses to one another can be an amazing thing. Often, we have experiences that are meant for the Lord's ears only, but in this case, He wanted me to admit. I don't know why I felt the need to hide when the unexpected hit me. But I was humbled and encouraged in a way I will never forget. Maybe the next time I won't be so stubborn.
"Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]."
James 5:16, The Amplified Bible"If one falls down, his friend can help him up."