It's been a few days since I returned from this year's Influence Conference, and I've been processing through everything — the notes, the heart stuff, the "what's nexts..."
To be honest, I arrived at this year's conference feeling a little heavy...
When I went the previous year, I went with specific hopes and dreams to explore and specific prayers I wanted to pray. I had an eBook I was about to release to the world, and I was just bursting with excitement for all that was ahead.
I was in a quieter, much more tender place this year.
On the drive into Indy, my friend (and conference roomie!) Holly asked me if I had anything I was hoping to hear from God about (she remembered I went with questions and prayers the year before).
But I didn't.
"I guess I just want to be a part of God doing something big," I told her. "I just want to hear from Him."
After the Black-and-White welcome party hosted by Mocha Club, I started feeling lighter and more hopeful about all that was ahead. I still wasn't sure what I hoped to learn or hear from God, but I was sure He would show up.
In my still-slightly tender and uncertain place, I had a hard time selecting the sessions I wanted to hear the next day (they ALL sounded so good)! ;) And as we began that first day of speakers and workshops, I found myself reading the tweets from the session I wasn't in, feeling restless and like I was missing out.
But then, all of a sudden, I felt like I was finally hearing from God.
Be where you are and be all there.
Be where you are and be all there.
And it wasn't just about those sessions, it was about life in general. It was about continuing to embrace my current season and live it fully and creatively (exactly the topic I had explored in the eBook I wrote the previous year).
Later, in Lara Casey's session, I stood up in front of a room full of more than a hundred women and gave voice to one of my deepest fears. As other women stood up to share their own, walls and tears came down, and I felt God continue to work something out in my heart.
And even though I was at a blogging conference, He wasn't speaking to me about how to blog better, create more, or find more followers online...He was speaking to me about my life in general and how I'm living it for Him. He was asking me to trust Him more, surrender more, and make even more space for Him to move.
Lara asked us to answer this fill-in-the blank statement: My life is too short not to______.
During her session, I made notes, but it wasn't until a few days later that this phrase stuck with me: "My life is too short not to love the story God has for me."
It's such a simple statement but it says SO MUCH.
My life is too short to wait for someday.
My life is too short not to live with purpose — right here, right now.
My life is too short not to pray boldly and with big belief.
My life is too short not to believe that God can do the impossible.
My life is too short not to pay attention to all God is doing.
And my life is too short not to share it...
This year's conference was so much different than last year's, but in the best of ways.
I did leave with new creative ideas and dreams to explore, but I also left with a deeper desire to truly trust God with my story and a hopefulness about all He is capable of doing in my life and in the lives of others.
He's written all of our stories differently, and there's goodness and purpose in that.
And while He may not give us an outline about what comes next, He has gone before us, and He promises to lead the way in love.
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Before I wrap this up, because I just can't resist, I'll leave you with this picture from my departing brunch at Cafe Patachou. (Honestly, that needs to be a Sunday Influence tradition from here on out...) WOW, that waffle was amazing! I'm STILL thinking about it! ;)
If you'd like to learn more about the conference, feel free to email me. I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have, if you're wondering if you'd like to attend. (You can also check out this fun video recap from The Busy Budgeting Mama. And, yep, that IS me dancing around at minute 3:34.) ;)