This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity of attending The Influence Conference- a conference all about “making your online life mean something” and making much of Christ. It was an experience that I will never forget; one that has left a life-long impression on my heart.
Spending two solid days soaking up knowledge, challenges, and encouragements from the speakers at the conference, there is so much to be processed and so much to be taken in. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve even begun to process what I’ve all learned. But there’s one strong feeling that I walked away with, and that is one of community.
Signing up for the conference one week before it was to take place, didn’t really allow me the time to find someone to sign up with me, or to make friends over the web to connect with. So going into the weekend not knowing anyone, it felt like there was a very strong chance that I might feel pretty lonely at times. But honestly, other than the first five minutes, it felt like quite the opposite.
Being a believer, we are soo blessed because God gives us an automatic sense of community with each and every other follower of Christ. Through his Son, we are unified by the Holy Spirit, which gives us an indescribable and immediate sense of community that could not be traded for any other. This is one of my favorite things because it’s like an automatic bond, a strong “common interest” that instantly makes it feel like, although we’ve just met, we've known each other for years.
But beyond having this connection, there was a new sense of community that I had never experienced before. Ever since starting my blog a year and a half ago, I have always felt a little bit like the odd one out. Sharing with friends and family that I started a blog, I often got the “deer in the headlights” look, followed by a response like “oh, that’s cool.” Other than one other girl, the lovely Cari over at A Sailor, his girl, and their dog, I have most often felt like the only one in the state of Wisconsin who felt strongly called to be a blogger. Now, I understand that is very much not the case- but when there aren’t any other people who share this interest in my direct circles, it begins to feel this way.
Coming to the conference, it was like a breath of fresh air. For once, I felt like someone else got it. It felt like this was God’s way of saying, “See Mindy? You’re not alone!” I absolutely loved being surrounded by others who, just like me, have their own little space on the web and are trying to understand God’s calling for that in their lives. [Not to mention, I met sooo many sweet and amazing women. Three of whose feet are pictured in the image above: Tanya, Meghan, andAshton.]
Not only was it affirming and encouraging for where I'm at as a writer in the crazy world of blogging, but it was also a challenging reminder that God really did create us to live in community. He created us to need each other, to challenge each other, to "encourage one another and build each other up." He created us to be just like the word’s definition, “a unified body of individuals” who are so on fire for him that others can’t help but be drawn into the beautiful community that we have with Him.
As I made the 5 hour trek home from Indianapolis, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad as I left what felt like a sweet, protected, little bubble of women, unified through our love for Christ and passion for sharing words on the web. I am so grateful for each of the women that I met, the awesome team who made it happen, and the community that I'm now excited to be a part of. Even though we are spread all over the states, this community does not need to come to an end. In fact, I am pretty certain that this is just the beginning.