I wonder if you ever feel like I do? When someone asks you how things are going, or what’s new, or how God is working in your life and your mind goes blank. Or you wonder if it even makes sense to share your testimony, because it doesn’t include anything dramatic or impressive.
Do you ever doubt your story?
I do. I wonder why God continues to give me words to share, when others share them more eloquently, more powerfully, from larger platforms with stronger convictions and faith. I get frustrated at my inability to share in real life, how tongue-tied I get when someone looks me in the eye and wants to know how I am – really. Not wanting me to say “fine” but to truly tell them my story. I can share it in words written on screens and on slips of paper, notes in cards and emails to let you know you aren’t alone.
In real life is hard.
It’s scary and awkward and the words won’t come and we make jokes to avoid sharing hearts. We come up with ways to get out of commitments to meet up, we agonize over what to wear, what to bring, how to act, who will be there. The enemy sneaks “what if’s” into our thoughts until cuddling up on the sofa in our comfy clothes sounds like the better choice.
What if “she” is there?
What if I don’t know what to say?
What if they all know each other?
What if I cry?
What if I don’t?
What if I’m the only one who shows up?
What if no one shows up?
What if my story isn’t anything like theirs?
Your story? It won’t be like anyone else’s story. God is infinitely creative and has set us each on our own path, with our own experiences, talents, gifts and we need to hear it. Because even as we travel unique roads our stories overlap. And I need to hear you tell yours, so I feel brave to share mine, and look you in the eye over a cup of coffee and awkwardly tell you that you aren’t alone. That’s what those women featured above are going to do in April. They sat in front of a camera, surrounded by bright lights with nervous hearts and shared their stories. It wasn’t about feeling equipped or brave, but about being authentic about the challenges and joys of community. I want to leave my daughter a legacy of story – sharing God and His work in my life in the small moments – whether I do that in front of a camera or across the table at a coffee shop.
I want to invite you to register for (in)RL in April – the virtual conference that comes to you, wherever you are in the world – to find or host a meetup and share your story – just by showing up. Because that is the hard part. Registering is easy. Watching the free videos from 2012 and 2013 in the comfort of your home? That’s not difficult (but totally worthwhile). But choosing to get up on Saturday and open your home or attend at a church or coffee shop or neighbor’s house?
If I could, I’d come pick you up on Saturday morning and drive over with you, after we stopped at a Starbucks to add some caffeine to our courage. I’d walk in that house or church or all purpose room with you, and sit right beside you. I’d save you a seat at lunch and we’d share our stories together.
In a way? I’ll be there with you, wherever you are in the world. If you choose to show up on Saturday, to join us? Know that I’ll be watching, too – and sharing my story as one of the (in)RL speakers.
Register for free here!
Learn more about (in)RL here!
And tonight I’ll be hanging out at the (in)courage Twitter party (#inRL at 9pm EST) – with lots of amazing prizes and beautiful friends, and I hope you’ll come join us!
I’m linking up today over at (in)courage with some of the other (in)RL speakers to share our stories – I’d love for you to head over and be encouraged by more of these amazing ladies!
aly d. chase says
crystal, I just love your sweet, sweet heart. what you did there with the “if I could I would come pick you up…” part? purely inspired by god to encourage us introverts. I truly believe you will be there, and you can bet we are all right there with you! xo
Karrilee Aggett says
Love this… can’t wait to hear (more of) everyone’s stories! You know how I love me a Twitter party – but on a Wed night at 6pm… well – I will have to miss it! I know ya’ll will have a blast!
I know :/ It’s so tough to find times that work – we’re going to do some live video chats on other days and times leading up to (in)RL so hopefully you’ll be able to join for one of those 🙂
Thanks for sharing Crystal!! You continue to (in)courage!! See you at the party!!
Jessica Stinson says
Your courage & heart for community is contagious. Love this place. Love you! xoxo
Kris Camealy says
I’m giddy to be a part of this community. Just ridiculously giddy. And grateful–I love YOU
It’s such a blessing when you find a safe space, right? love it – and you 🙂
Umm yeah. I do. When I first saw the invitation to come speak and I saw the lineup of people who really do things like this I thought you’ve got to be kidding me? And then the hot mess and muddle of being in front of a camera added a whole new layer to the awkward. I was sure it would all be on the cutting floor. But it’s never really about us even when it is. Our stories all point to something else. God at work. God with us. I love being a part of it even knee deep in awkward. I’d drive over with you too, friend. And of course the extra caffeine always helps. 😉
“knee deep in awkward” pretty much defines my life. There is a reason we’re friends 😉 And I’m so grateful to share the screen with you in April – you are a brilliant storyteller!