The 2018 Speak Up Conference is over—and the faculty tells me every year that I say, “It was the best Speak Up ever!” But it was!
At every turn there were participants connecting with each other and with speaking and writing professionals—sharing their dreams, asking for advice, learning how to hone their speaking skills, pitching their book proposals, and learning how to build a platform to further His Kingdom agenda.
Conferees were challenged in the keynote sessions, learning how to find beauty in broken dreams, choosing to let God rewrite their story, accepting the call to be brave, and saying “yes” to being courageous. They laid their disappointments, dreams, and new identities on the altar. (Well, okay, they wrote them on slips of paper and left them on the platform). We worshipped with Laura, exercised with Vicki, laughed with Tracey, dug into the Word with Scott, took notes during the breakout sessions, and prayed with staff members.
So what happens now? Your mind is spinning with fresh ideas and it’s confusing to know what to do first. My friend Priscilla Shirer writes, “God is the God of ‘right now.’ He doesn’t want you sitting around regretting yesterday. Nor does He want you wringing your hands and worrying about the future. He wants you focusing on what He is saying to you and putting in front of you…right now.”
Start with prayer. Ask God what your next steps should be. Pray: Father, I know you have a purpose and a plan for me. Help me to recognize the gifts you’ve given me. I’m counting on You to match me up with a God-sized assignment that will further your work in this world. I give you my inadequacies, my anxiety, my weakness, and my concerns about what people think of me. I am ready to serve You right now.
Begin at the beginning. What one thing does God want you to start doing today? You might need to find a specific place in your home to work on your messages or book ideas. Perhaps you need to decide on a specific topic you’re going to research, instead of allowing your mind to multi-task you into a lack of productivity.
Expect opposition. The enemy is stomping mad about the new dreams God has placed in your heart. He doesn’t want ministry multiplied in your home, your church, your city, your organization, or your global mission. He will do anything possible to place discouragement, defeat, fear, and obstacles in your path. Tell him to take a hike!
Define your season. Are you at home raising young children? That is your main mission right now. You may need to work with small blocks of time to study the Bible, prepare to teach Bible studies, or write short articles for your blog, your website, or for a magazine. Are you an empty-nester? You may have longer time periods to do the research necessary for preparing a series of messages for a retreat weekend or for working on a book proposal.
Say “Yes.” God wants you to move in the direction of a positive, Spirit-infused, Christ-honoring, joy-filled adventure with Him. “…Obey now the voice of the Lord in what I say to you, and it shall be well with you…” Jer. 38:20 ESV
If you haven’t joined the Speak Up Rocks Facebook page, join here. You can bounce your emerging ideas off each other and share prayer needs. Let’s stay connected!
What do you believe is the first step God wants you to take as a result of attending the Speak Up Conference? Comment below!
About Carol Kent
Carol Kent is a bestselling author and an international speaker for conferences, outreach events, and retreats. She’s the executive director of the Speak Up Conference, an event committed to helping people develop their speaking and writing skills. She and her husband, Gene, have founded the nonprofit organization, Speak Up for Hope, which benefits inmates and their families. Carol holds a master’s degree in communication arts and a bachelor’s degree in speech education. Carol has trained Christian speakers for over twenty-five years, and she has been a featured speaker at Women of Faith, Extraordinary Women, and Women of Joy arena events. She is the author of over twenty-five books, including the bestselling When I Lay My Isaac Down, Tame Your Fears, and Becoming a Woman of Influence. Her two newest titles are a 365 page-per-day devotional titled, He Holds My Hand, and Staying Power. Connect with Carol at www.carolkent.org.