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10 Life Lessons I Learned at the Titus 2:1 Conference

I attend 3-4 blog conferences a year. Usually I lead a session, helping other bloggers to improve their SEO and make more money from their sites. Except, sometimes I forget to submit a speaker proposal, and then I just attend as a participant. It happens more often than I'd like to admit.

A couple of weeks ago, I accidentally published a blog post about being alone and friendless. My stomach dropped when I realized the post had published, but it was too late. (I meant to save it in draft, not to publish it.) In the days that followed, though, some commenters wrote things like most popular, smartest woman in the room and you're just wonderful, and I was feeling pretty good about myself.

Fast forward to this past weekend, when I attended the Titus 2:1 Conference, a conference that caters to Christian homeschoolers who blog or use social media (but stay with me even if that isn't you).

If you are a Christian homeschooler, I implore you to make plans to attend 2:1 next year. You will leave a different person.

The thoughts that stuck with me from 2:1 go so far beyond blogging and homeschooling. These are about living, being a Christian woman, and finding joy in my life –

1. Friends make any place feel like home.

Many of my friends attended, women I talk to several times a week each and every week. These are my people.

from left to right – Cheryl, Amy, Angie, Rachel, Maureen, me, and Kris

For the first time in my entire life, I had absolutely no anxiety about measuring up. I never once worried that people would look at me and see a boring fat person unworthy of their time.

2. Everyone feels insecure.

I shared a room with my friend Rachel. In one of our late night conversations, she confided to me that she often feels like she doesn't measure up.

Rachel is beautiful and funny and smart and interesting. She's the mother of 7 children, and she is a blessing to everyone who knows her.

And yet, she feels insecure and unworthy. She was afraid what people would think if she wore this shirt (even though it's 100% true):

3. God makes you good enough.

I was completely secure at 2:1. I never worried that I'd be unwelcome or that I was out of place. I never worried about saying the wrong thing.

More than that, I felt like I should reach out to others, especially to women who were sitting alone, perhaps feeling the way I've so often felt, and I did.

I met dozens of wonderful people. Some of them knew of me; many did not. Old acquaintances became new friends. I made business contacts for my consulting business as well as my blog. Best of all, I made friends.

In her keynote speech, Rachel said, “‘I'm not good enough' is a lie the world tells you to hold you back from what Jesus wants for you.” She gave a keynote speech with almost no preparation (because the planned speaker had a family emergency and couldn't make it), and she was eloquent and powerful.

Stop looking at yourself through the lens of the world. Start looking at yourself through the eyes of the Lord, and do the work He created you to do. You are good enough.

4. Stop comparing.

“Comparison is the death of contentment,” Rachel said. {Can you tell I'm working through my notes from the conference? There were so many life-changing words being spoken that I can hardly remember anything.}

I compare even though I know I shouldn't. I feel good about myself because I have more readers than so-and-so; I feel lousy about myself because I didn't get into the blogging group I applied for. What do they have that I don't? I wonder.

An hour or so later, Jolanthe Erb quoted Galations 6:4 during a separate presentation –

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else. (NLT)

It may be hard to avoid comparisons, but it's vital. God wants you to be the person He created you to be. He doesn't want you to be anyone else (popular or not).

5. Your marriage is your kids' only example of how to be married.

Like comparing, marriage came up over and over in the sessions I attended.

“This will not be worth it if you have brilliant kids and a broken marriage,” said Heidi St. John.

“Do your kids look forward to being married because they want what you and their father have?” asked my friend, Carissa. Her words spoke right to my heart and convicted me. I can't say that they do.

Maybe someday. It's something to work toward.

6. Take advantage of the opportunities He provides.

My friend, Christine, said “If God gives you an opportunity, don't shut the door in His face.”

It was another sentence that stung because it convicted me of being lazy and disorganized, of letting things go.

Forgetting to submit a speaker proposal is a missed opportunity.

Failing to follow up, missing an email, letting a question go unanswered – all are missed opportunities.

God provides opportunities, but it is up to you to take advantage of them.

7. Take care of first things first.

Let's be honest. Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, homeschooling, housework, and cell phones are not first things. They should never come first. {We already knew that if we were honest with ourselves, didn't we?}

Heidi's things of first importance were:

  1. spiritual life
  2. marriage
  3. family
  4. home
  5. homeschooling
  6. blog & other outside stuff

Mine look a little different, but not substantially. What are your things of most importance?

8. You have to let your kids go.

Rachael Carman spoke about raising your children to be world changers, about making them into arrows that you will someday shoot out into the world.

Wasn't it me who wrote yesterday about feeling guilty about my children having to play by themselves? Someday, they are going to have to live by themselves. They're going to have to stand up for themselves.

They are going to have to stand up for God.

9. Choose joy.

Adopt an attitude of joy. Make your joy contagious to others. Let joy be your testimony in a dark world. I talk all the time about living fully, being present in the moments of your life. It's harder than it sounds, isn't it?

When life hands you setback after setback, it's easy to get down. You get into a rut, and you feel defeated. You just can't get ahead.

But you can.

Jesus lights up even the darkest days, if you let Him.

Serve others. Worship God. Choose joy.

10. Link arms with other believers.

Mothering is hard work. It's chaotic and stressful and packed with duties and commitments, disappointments and regrets.

When we stand alone, we are easily toppled by any attack.

When we link arms with our sisters, we stand firm against the world. We bolster each other. We lift each other higher than any one of us could stand on our own.

 

© 2012 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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17 thoughts on “10 Life Lessons I Learned at the Titus 2:1 Conference”

  1. I truly enjoyed this post. It was great to see pictures of the bloggers I know virtually – together!! It sounds like you were amazingly blessed by the event – it shone through in your writing.

  2. Your authentic self is clear here and I so thank you for sharing from the heart. So often we feel that we cannot be real, that we have to present something other than ourselves, even when we feel insecure. I honestly love knowing that others feel the same as me! That is how we can help build each other up for His glory! You are awesome!

  3. It was wonderful meeting you this past weekend! It has been great to see what everyone has come away with from this conference. While we all heard the same thing, it has affected us in so many different ways. Looking forward to linking arms with you and the others!

  4. You, my friend, have a beautiful heart. Thank you for sharing what you’ve learned and where you’ve grown. I am beyond blessed and thankful that you and I are friends. I am so grateful for the encouragement that you’ve given me and for believing in me when I didn’t believe.
    You are a life friend. One that I’m deeply grateful for.
    Rachel

  5. I love these sentences: “These are my people. For the first time in my entire life, I had absolutely no anxiety about measuring up. I never once worried that people would look at me and see a boring fat person unworthy of their time.”

    And your comment about our insecurities and comparisons…so very true! Wasn’t that one of the best “sound bytes” from the conference…”Comparison is the death of contentment.” I am so bad at being insecure and comparing. Someone once told me we usually compare our worst in a certain area to someone else’s best in that area. How very true!

    I am glad you came, because I enjoyed chatting with you. And I remember you. 😉

  6. ((Tara)) I was so nervous before I got on the plane for DC, I really thought I was going to throw up. I didn’t know a SOUL that was going and dreaded being the outsider/stranger in a room full of chatty people who probably already had connections. In fact, had my brother not sponsored my trip, I would have backed out at the airport! When I think now what I would have missed, I am so humbly thankful that I overcame my fraidy cat self. Each lady who attended seems like a gift straight from Heaven. I am blessed!

  7. I just had to let you know that I really needed that blog post today 🙂 I don’t even know how I came across it, other than divine intervention 🙂

  8. these are great takeaways! i’m not a homeschooler but I am a believer and I have just about every single thing you named on this list perculating in my head at least twice a day.

    And I have at times put the babies, the blog and the laundry before my husband, b/c let’s just face it: sometimes it easier that way.

    Alas, I’ve been thinking a lot about getting my act together in this department so this post was a good old pleasant kick-in-the-pants.

    I’ve only been to one mini-bloggy conference and was hoping to get out to blogher 12 or the next blissdom…sounds like this one would give me a run for my money though!

    • I have nothing inherently against BlogHer or Blissdom, but if you’re looking for a conference where you’ll learn and grow, I would recommend a smaller one like 2:1 or Type-A Parent. BlogHer and Blissdom are huge, and they are primarily focused on parties and networking and connections. That can be valuable, but I prefer a conference that focuses on education and low-key conversations. I like small crowds better in general, though; it’s just my style.

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