It is really difficult to quickly summarize the affirmations, encouragements, and challenges that God impressed on my heart through the Influence Conference. I shared a little bit about it here, but I'd like to try and give you just a little glimpse of the bigger picture.
Much can be summarized with the words shared by the lovely Hayley Morgan as she encouraged us to link arms with Jesus and walk forward. Hearing these words at the opening session was like music to my ears and joy to my soul. Finding myself in a place of in-between, unsure of exactly what I'm doing or where I'm going, I really needed this simple reminder to focus not on my lack of direction but on simply walking forward with Him. Being in this place, it is so easy to get caught up in the lies of the world, the concerns about no direction and the strivings to be as cool as so-and-so or to do something greater. But as Hayley boldly put it, “If you are believing the LIES you cannot enjoy the FREEDOM of the TRUTH.”
What I know to be true is that He created me. He created me as a good thing in the widest sense of the word. He has given me passions- He has given me dreams. And it is my duty to own my identity in Christ, and obey the call to action to FOLLOW HIM.
The questions beyond this, the ones that are so easy to get caught up in, like: okay, so I know to follow Him but to where? What does following Him look like when I really don’t know where He is calling me? How am I going to be successful and cool and make Him known all at once? Yes, these ones that so easily and so frequently plague my mind and threaten to throw me off the path... these are the ones that I must work hard to defeat.
Lara Casey, one of the speakers, (and might I add an incredibly talented, God-honoring, and inspiring woman) helped me to counteract these questions and lies as she so beautifully reminded me- the goal in our lives is not to be successful, not to follow our dreams…the goal is HIS GLORY. This puts it all back into perspective.
Proverbs 19:21 says it simply, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
One of the coolest things, and something that gets me pretty fired up about God, is that He loves us so much that He wants us to be a part of His purpose- to be a part of his incredible plan to reach all nations- to be a part of making His name great. He could do it alone, He's a mighty God. But He doesn't, because He wants us to be a part of it! I love this!
God doesn't give us passions and dreams for no reason- He plants them in our hearts because He wants us to use them for Him, for His glory! I love love love this reminder because it means that this dream that is deep in my soul to use my words for Him, the crazy desire to write a book and maybe even be a speaker for His name- He put that there! This is one strong affirmation that I so needed to hear.
Jeff Goins was such an encouragement as he said, “If you have a dream, pursue it, protect it, and take care of it—it’s a gift from the Lord.” My dream is not about me, but it needs me. Well if this is in fact the case, then who am I to disobey what the Lord has put on my heart?
When God puts something on your heart, don’t hesitate- just GO!!!
Reflecting back on all these words and challenges that were shared at the conference, I can’t help but feel my joy begin to overflow. God really did want me at this conference for a reason. He wanted me there to affirm me in who He created me to be. He wanted me there to remind me that what I am doing is ALL about Him. And He wanted me there to encourage me that I am so not alone. This journey is not just to link arms with Jesus, but to link arms with others, to build a strong community where we encourage one another, build each other up, and spur one another on to reach the dreams that God has prepared for us so that we might truly MAKE MUCH OF HIM.
As I settle back into “normal” life, and come down off of the conference high, I know that the days ahead will not be easy. That I will need to work to defeat the lies of the world, and that I will need to intentionally and whole-heartedly pursue Him, no matter what happens. But I am SO excited for the journey ahead- I can't wait to pursue and protect the dream that He has placed in my heart.
My prayer is that you might be encouraged by this little glimpse of what I learned through the Influence Conference. And that you might join me in linking arms with Jesus and walking forward knowing that no matter where He leads, with Him there is freedom.
I am so so thankful for the Influence Conference, for each of the women who make up the Influence Network core team that made this happen for us, and for each of the speakers who so beautifully glorified the Lord as they shared where He is leading them in their lives.