Not to be stereotypical, but packing luggage as a girl is a tedious task. (Note: This does not apply to all girls or all women.) We have to prepare shoes for every type of weather and walking, clothes for all occasions, and all the products that go into showers and on faces. Packing lightly is at the top of my “things to work on” list. I start off with good intentions, promising to bring only the necessities. By the end of my packing time, I have either one huge suitcase bigger than I am – filled to the brim — or a duffel bag with at least three surrounding small bags – also filled to the brim. I NEED TO BRING THESE THINGS. Do I really need them? For real? No (I say sheepishly).
I’ve been a traveler since high school. Not a world traveler, but a gone-every-weekend-for-things traveler. Most of my clothes go through a cycle of duffel bag, then washing machine and then back to the duffel bag just because I’m constantly on the go. I spend more time in my green sleeping bag than I do in my own bed. I have numerous packing lists for various occasions so even though I pack a lot of stuff, I can do it in a short amount of time. I’ve become a packing and preparation expert.
How often have I prepared my heart?
Admittedly, most of my weekend travels have been youth retreats where I am in charge of leading music, devotions, or even attending as a youth participant. I organize and assemble, make to-do lists and phone calls, and arrive extra early for set up and decorations. But I never prepare my heart.
My heart has been changed, formed, renewed, and molded by the many retreats I have attended, but that is all God’s doing. I never opened my heart and asked God to change it. I never sat down and prayed for a peace, a calm, and life changing words to come from the speaker’s mouth. I have never looked up the scriptures ahead of time to ponder the words of God before we dive into them for the weekend.
I’ve thought for all this time I’ve been the most prepared person when in fact, I was never prepared. Never ready.
MY NEW GOAL: I am going to worry less about packing my bags and worry more about preparing my heart, especially for convention. Want to join me?
I’m an elementary education major so I like to make wonderfully creative things to help me remember stuff. For this…let’s use an acronym that I created!
Pray. Pray for everyone going to Convention, Pray for God’s presence to be there and with you.
Open. Open your heart to Him – This is an act you have to purposefully do, not simply think.
Read. Read the scriptures provided for us for the week! Dwell in His Word!
Talk. Talk to others about it – get them excited and passionate.
Ask. Ask God to control the things you can’t, ask Him to prepare your heart. Just ask.
Listen. Listen to God. You just asked Him for things, so listen and look for Him in your life.
These things will make a great PORTAL for your heart and God will just fill it with His goodness, His grace, and everything He wants you to learn during your time at Convention.
Let’s pack our bags and prepare our hearts for the wonderful journey ahead!
Alyssa Cable is a 19-year-old from Johnstown, Pa. currently in her junior year Eastern Mennonite University majoring in Elementary Education. Mennonite Church USA is a big part of Alyssa’s heart and she is so excited to be blogging about Convention. She loves writing, playing guitar and piano, and laughing.