IF: Gathering 2017

I had the BEST and most refreshing weekend attending my church’s IF: Gathering! The focus of the conference was the idea of getting back to the basics of the early church and examining how Jesus did life with his disciples. Pure and simple. There were so many nuggets of wisdom shared, but I wanted to take a morning to write down two things I walked away with that were just SO meant for me to hear…because I wonder if maybe, just maybe, you might need to hear them today, too. 

Jennie Allen started the conference off with a GUT PUNCH for me. Social media is such a huge part of everybody’s lives in 2017, and there are so many amazing things that come from social media…BUT, it can get so easy to get caught up in building your platform there that your ACTUAL, REAL-LIFE, FACE-TO-FACE relationships suffer. I’ve found myself struggling with that paradox a lot these last few months because I’ve shared so much about adoption and Noonday that my “following” on Instagram and here on my blog has grown a lot. And if I’m being honest? It’s pretty satisfying to see that a blog post got 1,000 views or a picture I posted got 97 likes or that I gained six new followers. Words of affirmation is my primary love language, and although actual “words” are not spoken, there is definitely affirmation felt there. The danger though, is that we begin to find our identity and our purpose in those numbers, and it becomes a slippery slope. I love how Jennie Allen asked everyone at IF why they love Jesus, and how she reminded us that it is PEOPLE who invest in our lives that bring us closer to Christ. It’s not a blog or a book or an Instagram post that does that…it’s a person. It’s a relationship. And oh my goodness, I needed that reminder. 
2) Don’t Overthink It…Just Get On With It!
The weekend concluded with one of my absolute favorite teachers ever, Jo Saxton. (My church actually didn’t broadcast her speech, but I watched it on the Live Stream.) Maybe it’s her accent or her passion or something, I don’t know, but I could seriously listen to her ALL DAY LONG. Anyway, the main message of her portion of the weekend was encouraging us to not let our fears and insecurities get in the way of community with others. I fall victim to this far more often that I’d like to admit. My house is usually in a state of what my husband calls “squalor.” Picture Cheerios on the floor, band-aid wrappers on the counter, and sippy cups at every turn. It is FAR from Pinterest-worthy. It’s not often (and not without A LOT of advance notice) that I open my home for a play date or dinner with friends, but I’m hoping to take some of the pressure off myself to keep the “perfect” house and just allow people into the mess. There’s such freedom in letting the guard down and admitting that you don’t have it all together. I once heard somebody say (maybe Jamie Ivey?) that the two most powerful words in the English language are, “Me too.” What comfort and connection we find in others when we admit our faults and struggles. My marriage is not perfect, my house is (NEVER) perfect, and my parenting is sub-par more days than I’d like to admit…but God doesn’t just call the qualified. He calls us ALL to community, even those who need to show up with our Cheerio-covered floors. This was exactly what I needed to hear this weekend.
If you didn’t get a chance to attend or view the IF: Gathering this weekend, the live stream is up for just a few more hours today! Go HERE and take a few minutes for yourself…you won’t regret it! 

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