It’s not often that you get to hear a “New York Times” best selling author (Anne Lamott), a world-class artist (Makoto Fujimura), an attorney working for social justice (Bob Goff), a mega-church pastor/author/artist (Erwin McManus), a Video Music Award nominated director (Isaac Rentz), another pastor/author of a major church (Kyle Idleman), and Veggie Tales creator Phil Vischer all under one roof in the span of just two days. (Plus an amazing line up of bands!)
Not to mention I shared these incredible experiences with my husband Kedron and a group of great friends like: fellow author Susie Finkbeiner (her debut novel Paint Chips releases in January), Kim Gottschild (editor-in-chief at The Burnside Writers Collective), and Joy and Creagon Muldoon (dear Florida friends and missionaries with Youth With a Mission Orlando).
And that was the amazing experience of the Story Chicago 2012 conference. My head is still spinning.
I didn’t expect to sit in the dark with tears streaming down my face. I didn’t expect a hard outer shell, that I didn’t realize I wore, to crack.
Susie and Joy captured the play-by-play of the conference beautifully. I just want to share one main take away from Bob Goff (check out his new book Love Does). He made this statement, and it’s still ringing in my ears:
Live who you are, not someone else’s version of you.
He urged us that we instinctively know what’s true and what’s meant for us. Bob believes that we can launch each other and our communities when we are not afraid – not afraid to be ourselves and not afraid to love each other.
A variety of cultural pressures force us to conform to a mold we often don’t fit into, whether it be well-intended familial pressures, societal pressures, or religious pressures.
Before we realize it, we’ve developed a protective outer shell. We’re afraid to release the real us that hides inside. So we bury the seed of who we were meant to be and what we were meant to do deep inside the soil of our soul. And it remains dormant.
What would do if you weren’t afraid? Who would you be if you weren’t afraid to be the real you?
Say it. Write it. Create it. Sing it. Live it.
If it feels too big, then do one small thing today. And tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.
I’m still answering these questions too. But that seed inside me is swollen, and the outer shell is cracking. The soil is warming, releasing its hold on that seed and making a path for it to grow and stretch. Will you let yours grow too?
I’d like to give one of you a copy of the newly released book Inciting Incidents.
Inciting Incidents is six stories of fighting disappointment in a flawed world. These authors share moments in their lives that incited great change, a new path, and a deeper faith. The book also features beautiful artwork and photography. As you move forward in living who you were meant to be, I believe you will find these six stories inspiring.
I will draw a winner Saturday, September 29. Enter below!