Can I tell you a secret?
I’m nervous about our (in)RL meetup this weekend. I’m not good at small talk or meeting new people. I second guess every detail, every word that comes out of my mouth, and I stumble awkwardly over introductions. My completely failure at remembering anyone’s name makes the whole experience even more uncomfortable, and I usually leave feeling completely exhausted and wondering if anyone even left encouraged, inspired, or if they all thought it was a big waste of awkward time.
This is the third year that (in)courage has offered (in)RL – the free virtual conference that comes to you, wherever you are in the world. It’s a time to share about community, friendship, and the story that God is writing in our lives – the good, the hard, and the gloriously ordinary. It’s the third year I’ve hosted, and for me? Where I am this year is because of that very first (in)RL meetup.
We watched the videos downstairs at my house, just a few of us who already knew one another gathered on sofas with cupcakes and painting our nails. We set up a huge screen & projector – totally unnecessary but fun – and listened to the (in)courage contributors share their stories. How they said “yes” to community. How they said “yes” to what God was asking them to do – the dreams He was asking them to chase. And I – yes, awkwardly, because it’s me – told those girls that I really felt like one day I was going to work for (in)courage. That was the dream God was asking me to chase.
That was in 2012.
This is my “one day.” This is my Esther story. My story is one of redemption, grace, healing, and waiting on God. Not for hours. Not for days. But for years. And seeing and believing that God keeps His promises.
So this year, if you’re wondering if you should sign up – or if you did register & now you’re wondering if you should show up – will you? Will you be a little braver than you feel and choose to watch on Friday and Saturday (even if it’s just you and a cup of coffee and no meetup)? Because I promise that the stories that are shared are going to overlap with yours in ways that will encourage, inspire, and fill your heart. And if you signed up to go to a meetup, will you do it? Will you show up and see what God has planned for you as you meet with those women? Because I can promise you that the hosts are nervous. They are nervous that you won’t show up and they are nervous that you WILL show up. They aren’t sure how to ask you to share your story, and they have no idea how to share theirs. But they want you there. They’ve planned for you.
I will be watching with you on Friday. I’ll be tweeting and sharing and loving every second of it. And probably dancing to the music video in my kitchen as I make another cup of coffee.
And on Saturday, when you wake up & try to think of a few reasons to skip out on your meetup, I’ll be there with you. Juggling a toddler and decorations and food and giveaways and praying that God would be more and I would be less. And I’ll be awkward and ask silly questions and feel all unsure about how to make small talk but I’ll do it anyway. I’ll share my story on screen and in real life as you share yours and we’ll watch as God brings His daughters together in community.
Be brave, sister. I’ll “see” you this weekend!