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Just a little over a week from now I will be headed to Allume, a blogging and social media conference that exists for the purpose of encouraging women in their walk with God and relationship with others as they pertain to writing, blogging, and social media.
I am oh. so. excited.
Over the past few months I have had a lot of fears about the conference. But, if I’m honest, most of those fears have been allayed with some intentional planning and through getting to know (or better know) some of the other attendees. While I have only personally met three other people going, I know so many others by the faces, usernames, Twitter handles, and avatars that I’ve seen scattered all over this small corner of the internet.
I am expecting to be among friends. “New” old friends.
Are there some nerves about meeting these people in real life? Yes a teeny bit, but no. I’m no stranger to meeting strangers off of the internet. I had two of them in my wedding and they turned out to be wonderful friends. Easy to talk to. What I knew from our online connections yet so much more. I expect this to be much the same.
Am I scared I might feel overwhelmed and alone in a crowd of 300-400 women? A tiny bit. But I have read some great advice about how to overcome those fears and get the most of the experience even as an introvert.
Am I a little bit scared about my own awkwardness and will people like me and what if my clothes aren’t cute enough? Yeah…but those things are so tiny. And…shhh…I have a secret. I’ve been talking to some of these women – and they are worrying about all of those things too. So, we are all worrying about wearing cute clothes and being awkward and shy and feeling like outsiders…all at the same time…together…
Which after you really think about that, just sort of makes you laugh and go, “Oh, so she’s just like me!” and the fears just sort of melt away.
But I do have a confession. One big fear. The biggest of big. One that I have hinted at and tried to plan and control away.
It’s a fear that I don’t know how I will handle if it actually comes to fruition.
It’s the one I’m scared of the most.
I’m afraid that Allume will be a massive disappointment.
I mentioned in my last post that the first and probably biggest reasons for purchasing my ticket to Allume was that I had had a totally life-changing experience at a different conference last year and I wanted to have that sort of experience all over again.
The PWOC International conference was full of God-moments, Divine appointments. There were moments where I “just happened” to pick the session that ultimately turned my life around. Where I met the girl who was willing to tell me her story, pay for my ice cream, and sit on the floor and pray with me while we were missing out on the conference events we were both there to experience. And in that moment sitting on the floor in the hallway when she prayed I would be “beautiful, in his time” when she didn’t even know I had a blog or its name? It still brings me to tears and chills and reminds me just how God-ordained those moments were.
There were moments when others took the time to pray with me and for me to settle my nerves and love me as sisters in Christ.
It was so good that it’s a really tough act to follow.
And I have these fearful thoughts running through my mind.
What? Are you expecting that again? Fat chance.
Divine appointments don’t happen like that two years in a row. Those are things that only happen once in a lifetime.
God has already drastically changed your life. What more is there to change?
(um, that one scares me in more ways than one…)
So yes. I’m afraid.
I’m afraid that Allume will be good, but not great.
I’m afraid that it will be inspiring, but not life-changing.
I’m afraid that I will make friends and acquaintances, but not have Divine appointments. (And that it will be my own fault because I’ve spent too much time planning and preparing for the conference.)
I’m afraid that I’ll pick the wrong session to go to and miss meeting the one person who could have been the instrument that God used to change my life for the better.
I’m afraid that I’ve put this conference on a pedestal of high expectations that it can’t possibly fulfill.
I’m afraid that all the money and time spent – all the planning – will be a waste.
I’m afraid that I’ll come back the same person.
I offer my life, my heart, my plans, my hopes, my aspirations, my expectations. I offer it all up, simply and expectantly, to the maker of Divine appointments. To the one who knows my heart. To the one who can work in spite of my best plans and my worst failings. To the God that is bigger than my fears.
And I rest in this promise:
“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”