I mention the Influence Conference in this post. I understand that most of you did not attend. Please know that what I’m writing applies to everyday life.
Grace, undeserved favor.
It’s a word that is thrown around and I wonder if it is truly used much outside of God’s grace to us.
The first night I wandered down to the stripes party in a dress that didn’t fit well (it was maternity actually). I began sweating and my bangs stuck to my forehead in chunks. My nerves had taken over and I did everything not to beg the two I was with to stand in a corner with me. In the past I have been known to hold back in larger crowds until I get to know the room and begin to feel comfortable.
God didn’t let me crawl into my shell.
I began to recognize that I was not the only one there that felt nervous. In that moment, God moved me, spoke to my heart, “Go seek others out. Sloppy hair, dress and all. This weekend is not about you, it’s about Me. Go. Talk to others and make them feel comfortable.”
My first response was, No God, there are community leaders for this. They are here with cute nametags to make people like me feel comfortable.
& God pushed me.
& I am forever grateful.
I left the few amazing women I had clung to for 20 minutes and began introducing myself. Outside of my comfort zone I approached people I knew only by tiny pictures online, or not at all.
This is where it could have gotten sticky. I felt like God gave me new eyes this weekend, a look into others’ situations.
Some are dying inside to find someone in the room that knows them, someone who intimately knows them past their twitter handle and blog name. Out of desperation to find community in the midst of awkwardness and insecurity they walk right by.
Some are worn out and “black out,” walking away to take care of themselves. A person or two may be waiting, but out of exhaustion they were not seen or maybe just can’t say no. Walking away hoping that they go unnoticed.
Out of fear some become obnoxious (I didn’t find that this weekend, but have in other situations). It’s a nervous reaction to wanting to be liked.
As I debriefed with the women I rode home with I shared that I would hope that I didn’t offend someone, but I may have. No, I probably did offend someone. Knowing this makes my stomach drop. I’m sure we all had offended at least one person and that’s where grace comes in.
Let’s remember the amazing moments that God spoke to us through another person. Focus on the generosity of the group that invites you in. Give grace in situations where people find comfort in sticking with a person or two the entire time. Don’t assume people are trying to avoid or exclude. The reality is that they may not see the desire to connect with them, or they may be dealing with their own lack of energy or shyness.
In a situation like this ask God to take away judgement and give you boldness and wisdom. Display courage instead of caution.
Let us give grace and learn to accept it when it’s offered.
How do you handle yourself in crowds of people? Are you outgoing or an introvert?
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