For many of you out there wondering...no, I did not attend the Influence Conference.
Oh, but I wanted to!
I was so jealous and discouraged. But as I followed the Twitter hashtag, kept myself posted through the Instagram awesomeness, and have been reading dozens of recap blog posts, I started thinking...
Me not going to the Influence Conference could have been an answered prayer.
Over the past few days I have read posts from women still riding a spiritual and emotional high from a conference that, for them, was beautiful time of encouragement and joy overflowing. I have read posts from women who were challenged, convicted, and ultimately crushed under the weight of the lessons God was teaching them, only to be rebuilt by the sisterhood around them. I have read posts from women who felt alone, lost, and outside, but ultimately still saw God at work, breaking down the idols and barriers that caused them to feel that way. And then there is me...
I know exactly who I would have wanted to meet if I had been there. These girls are amazing! But there were also another 180 women at the conference. What about them? What if God would have wanted me to meet and connect with someone I had never met? What if the people I desperately wanted to meet didn't want to get to know me?
What if God wanted me to watch from afar and learn that as much as I love and want to build relationship with these amazing women, I can't until I surrender my idols to Him?
My idol of being accepted
My idol of being admired
My idol of being part of the "in crowd"
My idol of having my agenda
My idol of being in charge...of who I met, who I connected with, and who I loved on.
Stolen from Shannon's Instagram
So maybe, God was answering all the prayers that were poured out by the leadership of the Influence Conference by having me stay home.
Maybe God was answering their prayers by having some women who attended feel left out.
Maybe God knows best where each of us needs to be in order for us to grow closer to Him.
Stolen from Amy's Instagram
I'm not saying that it is easy. For some of you, it could have been excruciatingly hard. And my heart breaks for you. But the more I reflect on that weekend, the conference weekend, the more i realize what it was about. It was intended to be about Jesus.
It was intended to be about bring each and every woman who attended into a closer and deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
So maybe, just maybe, every regret felt by someone who ignored a call from God, every twinge of loneliness felt by someone ignored, and every sigh of jealously felt by someone who stayed at home was orchestrated by God to teach each of us the very important lessons we needed to learn.
Stolen from Amy's Instagram
So today, I'm thanking God for allowing me to stay home from Influence. And for allowing me to learn from everyone who did attend.
If I get to go next year, I pray that I will be ready to see people with God's eyes and to love them with God's heart...not with my selfish tainted ones.