INFLUENCED

Tomorrow it begins. 

I'll be driving the 425 miles to Portland, mostly by myself. Overnight in Portland [king bed to myself!]  and then flying the remaining 1,035 miles to Indianapolis.

And all to meet people I don't know outside the internet.

I've always been pretty good at finding community online, usually making up for a lack of true community in the physical. But this time it's different. Never before would I have spent money to get to a city I don't know, to meet strangers face to face. For no other online community have I invested parts of myself I barely knew existed.

And all for the love of people I don't know outside the internet.

Last year, I watched as a few women tweeted about a conference they would be attending. The weekend came, and I followed along as a couple hundred more women spoke of workshops that made them think and speaker sessions that made them cry. 

I wanted in. I told my husband a few days later that when the next time came around, I wanted to be a part of it. 

I don't think I actually believed myself. I have been involved in communities before, that faded. I have invested myself in circles only to watch them wither. I know at least a small part of me would have admitted this same thought about The Influence Conference, last fall. 

But these bloggers, they're different. These women, they love Jesus. These business-women, they speak life. These ladies, they create with purpose & give back more than they take.

All for people they don't know outside the internet. 

I'm a shy, introverted person who likes comfort zones and staying firmly inside them. And I'm ding-dang scared. 

I'm scared that these women will look at me and think I'm larger than I look in the photos I post. I'm scared that I won't have anything to talk about when I meet women I've had full-blown heart-to-hearts with. I'm scared I won't be the woman I want to be when I'm face to face with women who have it more together than I do.

But I've already taken the first steps. I've bought tickets and made plans and have three  fantastic  roommates to hold my hands through my irrational fears. 

God brought me to these women, and He's taking me further. He's pushing me harder. He's calling me deeper. 

And I'm going.