I went to teach, but left learning more than I could have ever imagined. Actually, I was invited to lead a revival, and God used the weekend to breath life and fire back into my own dry bones. He does that, doesn’t He? Gets us where He needs us to be to be able to hear Him most clearly.
This was my first Influence Conference, and I was intimidated. These women, y’all. These are the women I follow on social media, the ones who have handmade shops I love, the ones who have the style and passion and creativity and…well…influence – that I admire. Blogging conferences feel comfortable, but this? I was going to have to be comfortable being uncomfortable, because they asked and God said “go” so I went.
I knew what I wanted to share. That behind every single number the internet shows us is a heart and a story. A human who needs kindness and the benefit of the doubt, and that our goal shouldn’t be to grow our own followers but to use our platforms to invite others to follow Jesus.
So I woke up Friday morning and worked out with Alisa and found myself laughing, cheering, and eventually crying through all the sweat as she declared that we were not liabilities. And I nervously prepared in my room, terrified that somehow it was all going to fall apart. They were going to find out that I couldn’t do it, and they were going to regret asking me to speak.
I was so focused on who would show up that I missed the very message God asked me to give. I paid too much attention to how large the other two groups were in my room that I forget to get to know the women right in front of me. So I said the words and I listened and I prayed, but I regretted so much and felt so unworthy compared to the caliber of women who could have easily spoken in my place.
Those women I was so intimidated to be around turned out to be incredibly lovely, authentic, and welcoming. While inside I was fighting a battle about my worth and feeling completely invisible, on the outside I had some really fun conversations, ate some wonderful food, and got to hug friends I’ve only known online. And when I told Jacey how I really felt everything went, she surprised me with chocolate.
Her chocolate game is as on point as her lipstick.
Our God wastes nothing, friends. No experience, no failure, no opportunity is ever wasted – and even though everything in me wished I didn’t have to do it, I was on the schedule the next day to lead the same revival. Comfortable being uncomfortable, right? Saturday morning started with Holy Yoga, and while I might have gotten a great workout on Friday, the Holy Spirit started a work in me on Saturday in a very small moment.
We were at the end of our practice, eyes closed, laying still. I struggle with this part, always. My mind never wants to shut off, even to sleep, and I kept thinking about my talk, how we were laying on hotel carpet, how much time I would need to get ready, who I would sit with at breakfast, and suddenly there were kind, warm, strong hands on my shoulders. My heart knew she was praying even though my hears never heard the words. Each touch intentional, like God whispering to me to let go, to look up, to listen.
I’d been so focused on ME that I missed Him. And when I listened for Him that morning He whispered that I didn’t have to worry about being worthy, because He had already taken care of that when He claimed me as His. I’d been so concerned with wanting to be known as a powerful, influential, memorable speaker and what I needed to do what get out of my own way so Jesus could shine.
So I took my notes and held them with open hands. I bought chocolate and we sat on the floor. I made time to learn about the women God put in front of me, their hearts, and we dreamed big about what God could do through the internet. And we prayed for God to show us the one thing He wanted to do through us to bring revival and restoration to the spaces He’d given us online.
Maybe they’ll still regret asking me to speak, but at least I don’t regret missing the opportunity to let God do a work in my heart. It took the intentional, prayerful touch of a friend to make me feel seen. And even though we can’t lay hands on the women God brings into our lives on the internet, we can be intentional about the ways that we touch their lives with our words.
Let go. Look up. Listen well.
If you don’t already belong to the Influence Network, might I suggest you consider it? You won’t want to miss what they have planned for 2016! You can learn more about membership here, or purchase a copy of the conference videos here for just $40 (my talk won’t be included, but you really need to grab this before the price goes up & hear the two main keynotes – amazing!)