Monday, April 28, 2014

I Went to Work Today...But I Didn't Want to...{I Would Rather Be at ACTS!}

Good Afternoon, Friends and Family!
Well it's Monday...and I didn't want to go to work today
(yes, I realize that is NOTHING new for a Monday,
but still, I've a legitimate reason for it this time).
I started to say that I didn't want to get out of bed,
but that's not true.
I would have been HAPPY to get out of bed EARLY
if it meant I could be headed to ACTS today with my dear cousins
instead of working away at the YMCA.
What is ACTS?

ACTS (a.k.a Student Convention or just plain ole' Convention)
is partly responsible for turning me into the confident adult I am today.
The reason I am who am I is due largely to ACTS 
and the opportunities for growth that it brought with it.

"ACTS" is short for Association of Christian Teachers and Schools.
Therefore, ACTS Student Convention
is an annual competitive convention
of high school students from Christian schools
that usually runs the last week of April.
Students may compete in a large variety of different areas including:
Track and Field events, Academic Bowls and Science Projects,
Music and Drama, Photography and Art,
Wood-working and Sewing, Basketball and Volleyball,
Checkers and Chess, Tennis and Ping-pong,
the list goes on and on.
I was privileged to attend this convention
every year of my junior and senior high school career
at New Life Christian Academy
(2000 - 2005).

When I attended NLCA, I was required to compete in at least 5 events,
(now, they only require the students to partake in 2 events...
LIGHTWEIGHTS).
Not that I minded entering a handful of events,
rather, I quite enjoyed it.
To put it mildly,
I was a ACTS Convention Fanatic!
I would start planning my entries in the fall of the preceding year
and have nearly all of them completed
and/or ready to be performed by February at the latest.

During my years as an ACTS participant,
I submitted many different entries:
A Science Collection, short stories and poems,
and Radio Programs (THOSE were AWESOME!).
Of course, I played Ping-Pong
(I have told you before how much I love Ping-Pong!).
But hands down, my favorite area to compete in was Drama.
And, over the course of the 6 years I went to ACTS,
I competed in One-Act Plays,
Dramatic Dialogues,
Poetry Recitations,
Expressive Readings,
and Dramatic Monologues.
(Yes, that is considered Public Speaking.)

The first couple of years I was still finding my dramatic rhythm
and didn't place,
but then all of a sudden something clicked.
I would be foolish to say that I figured everything out on my own
because that is ABSOLUTELY NOT the case!
I had an AMAZING drama teacher
who quite literally POURED herself into me.
And she told me that I could practice for days on end
and it still wouldn't do any good if I didn't pray
and ask for God's Anointing to be on me when I performed.

Somewhere (don't ask me where) I have 6 first place medals
all from Dramatics at Convention.
Yes, I'm thrilled that I won.
Yes, I still have the medals
because they are a source of pride and joy for me.
But those awards are not the most important
things I took away from ACTS Student Convention.
I learned many important lessons that are still impacting my life today.

On the most basic level,
I learned that I have a good memory
and that I can rely on it to not go blank
while standing in front of a large group of people
(at Convention, I performed in front of an assembly of over 1,000 students).
I learned important public speaking concepts like:
voice inflection and how to properly articulate my words
so that the message I was speaking could be easily understood
even by those setting in the far back of the audience.

From an drama standpoint,
I learned how to NOT be myself and instead
become the character I was portraying.
I learned how to tell the story with my face and actions
as well the words that were coming out of my mouth.

From a writer's perspective,
I learned that I am gifted in sentence and thought structure.
I can apply the sometimes harsh rules of the English language
to intellectual phrases and adjust them
so that they are more easily understood by the listener/reader.

From an un-assured teenager's perspective,
I learned confidence in myself and my abilities
as well as in my authorities and in my Heavenly Father.
I learned to trust the elder voices of reason in my life.
I realized that they had experience that FAR out-weighed mine
and therefore knew what they were talking about.

ACTS Student Convention basically made me into a different person.
I honestly don't even want to think
about the kind of person I would be today
if I hadn't had those experiences.
I previously made the statement
that the lessons I learned at ACTS are still impacting my life today.
I can prove this to be a true statement.

I currently teach Junior Church and have no fear whatsoever
of speaking in front of the children
or the other teachers that are with me in the room.
I also have had occasion to speak in meetings at work
and am able to do so without a tremulous voice
or knocking knees.
And in general, I am a more confident person.
I've weathered many storms in my life
and with the help of my great memory
and acting abilities,
I have been better able to encourage myself in the Lord.
("...be filled with the Spirit;
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;" Ephesians 5:18b - 19)

I've already said it:
I owe a lot to ACTS Student Convention.
Is it any wonder that I would rather be at ACTS
than at work on a gloomy Monday?
I really am bummed that I couldn't go with my cousins.
Yeah, I know it's an event for high school students,
but it would literally mean that I got to walk back to my roots;
the starting place of my adult life.
And that's pretty special.
That's not something that comes around very often.
I am hoping to visit ACTS on Thursday,
but it obviously won't be like spending an entire work week there.
However, I plan to spend whatever time I am allowed there
basking in the light of my glory days! :)

I wish I had some old Convention photos
to add to this post to help you, my readers,
better understand why this means so much to me.
I have a nagging thought in the back of my mind
that this post is actually a pretty boring one
for the average reader.
But I'm choosing to not let that bother me.
ACTS is and always will be a HUGE part of my life
and this blog is the place where I get to tell my story my way.
So I'm telling it :).

Thank you so much for stopping by!
I hope you will visit again soon!
I've got some great posts lined up for the next few days!

Have a Great Week!