Discovering Joy: Turning neuroses into new roses Pt 1

Discovering joy: turning neuroses into new roses

Let’s see a show of hands: Who wants to go to a gathering of hundreds of strangers, where you don’t know anyone in real life, many who are more accomplished in their careers than you, have more friends, are more famous, well-spoken, fashionable, thinner, and especially aren’t just so darn plain-Jane average like you?


We carry our neuroses like a little girl clenching her bouquet of wilted wildflowers, don’t we?

We pull the petals off one by one, and rather than asking Love me, love me not, we recite the ways we are unlovable and unworthy.


I attended the Allume Conference recently, where I was awash for the first time in a sparkling sea of hundreds of talented, Christian women bloggers.

I went in spite of my fears—see that list above—and came away changed and encouraged, with a smile that was permanently plastered on my face.

I learned that really getting the most out of Allume, or any other gathering in life, really learning to discover joy right where we areis that it is up to us, but not about us.

What I mean is that we need to make the effort, to step out of our comfort zones, to move when nudged, to open the doors to our hearts, and to put ourselves in a position to help others.

It is when we truly take interest in others, when we make it about someone else and not us, that our worries—our neuroses—bloom into new roses.

Only then do we discover the joy in our own backyard as we receive and are blessed beyond measure.


Following are the actions I took, and I recommend them highly to get the most joy out of wherever you are, whether in a conference of hundreds or with an audience of one.


Be yourself.  I know, you’ve heard it before, but you can’t hear it often enough. Nobody likes plastic, pretend, pretentious perfection. Give it up, write or do what you do from where you are, and be uniquely you. It fits and feels as comfortable as your favorite old jeans, and is way more comfortable for the long haul.


Be open.  To meeting others, to new ideas, to fresh perspectives. You won’t click with everyone or everything, but your world be expanded in wonderful ways nonetheless. Steer clear, too, of being a Mrs. McJudgy Pants. This means being accessible, too, to those who aren’t as far along their path as you, whether they are bloggers, first-time mommies, or the new face on the block.


Step out of your comfort zone.  Walk across the room to greet someone who is alone, go to a session to hear a new point of view, invite folks you’ve just met to share a meal. Believe it or not, I am basically shy. It is very difficult for me to walk up to people I don’t know and start talking, but I did it anyway, a lot.

Thoughts like these enter uninvited into my head: Will they like me? Will they think I’m overbearing? Will they discover I can be pretty socially inept? Will I discover later I had lettuce stuck between my teeth? Stretching the boundaries of your comfort zone is as satisfying as having a maternity panel in your fashionably snug-fitting pants after a three day conference with great food. They’ll both give you more space to breathe, trust me.


Share your space.  From a conference perspective, take in an additional roommate or two. Just FYI, I’m walking the talk, here ladies. I have never had a roommate at a conference other than my hubbie. This time I had three roommates, who I had never met in person, in a small room with two double beds. One of the absolute best decisions I made—well, my original sole roommate and I made—even though it was made with fear and trepidation, as I now have three new dear friends. Plus, it gave all of us a room and more space in our budget. From the home front perspective, invite folks in for coffee or a meal,  for some relaxation and conversation, or even for an extended stay.


Share yourself.  Offer your work and your words when they can encourage or inspire. Step up to that open microphone and read your Five Minute Friday loud and proud, or share a post that helps us recognize we are more alike and less alone than we realize. We were moved to tears and laughter, and understanding and compassion listening to other moms sharing themselves and their lives. You never know who needs to hear what you have to say, whether from the stage or in the supermarket checkout line, even if it’s about your child refilling your drinking glass from an unlikely source.


Look for ways to connect others.  Careful: I’m not saying connect with others, I’m saying you need to connect others, just like you put two matching puzzle pieces together. This was a common refrain at the conference: “Oh, you need to meet so and so! You two have so much in common!” Whether we are a military, special needs, empty nester, working, stay at home, or any other kind of mom, we need each other to discover the joy in both the hills and valleys, encourage one another forward, and especially to understand we are not alone in our journey.


That’s all for the moment. I’ll share the rest of the list in my next post. You can now read it here. If you’re not a subscriber, sign up for updates below. That way you’ll never miss a post!


In the meantime: I encourage you to turn your neuroses into new-roses, abloom with possibility. (Like it? Tweet it by clicking here.)


Question: What action will you take this week? Please share in the comments, as you never know who might need to hear your words! If you think a friend might find this useful, use the share buttons below. Thanks!

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  1. I’ve been doing a lot of sharing myself recently. So scary! Thanks for being one of those folks willing to let me share :)
    Melissa Ann recently posted…Free Beginner Photography Class Progress ReportsMy Profile

    • That’s so exciting, and you are welcome! The old “What would we do if we knew we could not fail?” inevitably comes to mind. . .
      Grateful you shared your photography and yourself with us at the conference. :-)

  2. Beautiful, Kim!
    “Only then do we discover the joy in our own backyard as we receive and are blessed beyond measure.” Loved it all! Such good advice and so glad to have the rose that you are, in my life!

  3. Sharing your space. That would be the biggest challenge for me! And how wonderful to share space with people you have never met. As I said after meeting Ilene, “there’s not a word yet for old friends who’ve just met.”
    I am trying to imagine walking into a room full of photography bloggers. I think..I might wilt! Although on the other hand, I think I’d channel you. What would Kim Do? WWKD.

    • You expressed my sentiments exactly. That is how it was at Allume. And I am with you on sharing space. All four of us, I believe, had at least a bit of concern.

      “What would Kim do?” Heh.
      Depends. I’ve spent at least my fair share of time hiding under my bed with the dust bunnies, truth be told. :-)
      I can’t imagine you wilting at a room full of photographers. I see you joining right in. :-)

  4. I love that play on words, Kim! So smart. I’m learning that stepping out of my comfort zone is something I need to do more often. And being me! No matter what people think, just be real. Love!

    • Yes, just be real. It’s so hard to keep up appearances of being someone else, isn’t it? Besides, how could anyone not love you as you are? Thanks for coming by, Adrienne!

  5. You always come up with the too darn funny titles and metaphors, Kim! Love it! And I’m nodding with you since I’m much the same way when it comes to meeting new people or going into the “unknown.” :) I truly love hearing about your experience at Allume. It makes me feel like I was there vicariously–soul roommate or no soul roommate! I especially like “Look for ways to connect others” since just today someone connected me with a blogger who has blogged about her breast cancer experience. It really helps to see things from someone’s perspective in that way. Hugs to you and so glad you are still gleaning and sharing your riches from the conference.

    • And you always make me smile and/or think with your comments, Beth! Glad others are connecting you with folks you need to know right now. It is a blessing knowing others are traveling our same path. Hugs and prayers your way!

  6. This was vey inspiring and left me with some thoughts to ponder. It sounds like you had a great conference. Once a year our church holds a women’s conference and it is a lot like what you have described.
    I have a friend that every 3 months she has a luncheon in her home for a all the neighbors that live near by. It is always wonderful. I would love to do the same thing; but have a hard time branching out that much. I think I have some things to work on in that area. After reading your thoughts I think I need to work on some insecurities.
    Blessings for this one!

    • I’m so glad this gave you food for thought, LeAnn. Your friend’s luncheon sounds lovely. Remember you don’t have to start big. You can ask one friend out for coffee, or have them over to your house. I still get nervous when I have friends over. About the day before, I’ll start regretting my decision. Then when everyone is there and enjoying themselves, all my concerns melt away. Let me know when you take a step and how it goes! Thanks for coming by!

  7. Kim, I especially liked these lines,”we are more alike and less alone than we realize. ”
    Great post!

  8. Personal, practical, positive advice! Wonderful!

    Deb Weaver
    Deb Weaver recently posted…“The Art of Rain”My Profile

  9. I’m so glad to have found your lovely blog (thank you, Michelle from Dish of Daily Life!!!). This list is so very important, and exactly the reminder that I need this week. Next week, I’m meeting one of my best blog friends in real life, and need to get the voice out of my head that keeps saying “but you’re so much older and fatter than she is!” out of my head and remember that there’s a reason we’ve become such great friends online. Wonderful post! Heading over to see part 2 now!

    • Hello, Kristi, and so nice to see you here! Thank goodness for friends who share so we can find new friends!
      Oh, those dastardly voices in our heads. :-( We must replace them with much more appropriate voices.
      Thank you for your kind words, and enjoy meeting your friend in person!


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