"THERE he is... " and she was off!!!
Yep, my friend Emily RAN after Donald Miller. Yes, Ran. Yes, THE Donald Miller! It was the most amazing 45 second unrehearsed speech I have ever heard! She was out of breath and managed to not only get a picture with him... but also told him ALL about our friend Kristen who loves him, how I should speak at Storyline in the future, and most of all that we were thankful for the experience. ALL while running backwards! Haha, IT was AMAZING to watch! I trotted behind nervous and grateful she took the lead! I am always thankful when she takes the lead... I trust that gal pal!
Emily is one of my people… I met her in college, she was riding in a trunk on her way to the Admin building at Michigan State University. Yep, she was in a trunk!!! The details are fuzzy, but I remember being picked up and then remember seeing someone riding in the trunk of the small SUV. Emily jumped out quickly when we pulled up to the building, and I don't remember much else from that freshman year meeting! But our friendship had to start somewhere, and that's as good a starting point as any!
There's been a lot of life between that car ride and now, and this is what I know today... You want Emily in your corner… She seeks justice, is an advocate for the people she loves, will fight someone for you (she hasn't, but I believe she would!), encourages, asks great questions, very creative, incredibly funny, a moment maker, is VERY bold in her beliefs of people and the Lord… And is a REALLY fast walker!!! (She is also my Editor and Chief... Haha, Yep, I call her that!)
Emily wrote me an email about the Storyline Conference asking if I was interested in going with her. It feels good to be known, and Emily knew it would be something I could benefit from in this new chapter of my life!
I had heard about the conference before, and knew who Donald Miller was, and was familiar with a few of the other speakers! INCLUDING Scott Hamilton… I used to LOVE to watch figure skating and I thought he was the coolest! I remember being on roller blades in my basement trying to do jumps, and not really landing anything THAT impressive!!! BUT man when I would bow, it was a bow worthy of the Olympics.
We decided to drive to Chicago… Road trips with friends you know well are good for the soul. It involves a variety of inside jokes, songs, updates on life, and the silence that makes both of you totally comfortable!
As we pulled up to our hotel, that looked more like a Senior Citizen Center/Retirement Community (granted we opted for the cheapest hotel and passed ALL of the nicer ones on the road to ours) we just looked at each other and laughed--the place literally didn't even have a front door! Not to mention, also (and very unfortunately), smelled like bbq hot dogs and cleaning supplies. Yep, not the smell you want to sleep in! I laughed hard. I love that laughter! No words, but you both know what the other is thinking! We laughed a lot!!!
I didn’t really have any grand expectations for the Storyline conference, but knew that God would meet us if we were available! I saw SO many unexpected faces which always makes strange places seem more welcoming… AND I was so encouraged by the two days in Chicago. I am still processing much of the content, and with the aid of the workbook believe that much of it will continue and become more clear. I have written more in the past few weeks than ever before too. It has been an unfolding of memories, truth, and stories! I will continue to process, and I think much of my writing in the next few weeks will be a result of my time at Storyline.
HERE are the 5 Things I Do Know leaving Storyline…
- Everyone has a Story—It’s true. Each person we encounter has a challenge, has a victory, is TRYING, and is probably in need of a little encouraging. Every person is more than we see at a first glance... and every person has a story!
- There is an Excuse for Everything— I mean REALLY! I don’t to run today it is too cold, I can’t possibly write today my brain is foggy, I got distracted by how messy the basement closet was, no one will care if I'm there or not… And On and On… WHAT is your excuse? What keeps you from trying what you think is ridiculous, but could be amazing? From showing up? From simply risking??? What keeps you from being MORE of your true self?
- Self Judgment can Freeze You— At Storyline there were breakout groups that took place over the two days. I am actually a very shy person when it comes to groups of people I don’t know well (which is surprising to some people), but I would rather melt into the wall then be noticed… AND when you have hair like mine that is NOT easy! I was asking Emily which breakout she was going to, thinking I would just go with her. There was an improv breakout I was intrigued by, but also wanted to avoid. Emily said she thought that would be best for me, and I sheepishly agreed. We parted ways, and as I walked into the room I was surprised how UNCOMFORTABLE I felt. Tripp Crosby, who led the seminar, began to talk about our own internal dialogue and self-judgment. I quickly realized that is what I was dealing with. What I am usually dealing with! My own self-judgment gets in the way. It freezes me, makes me insecure, isolates, and in many moments keeps me from truly living! THIS thinking gets in the WAY! It stops me... Halts me in my tracks and makes me second guess who I am! Standing frozen in my internal dialogue and doubt. I hate that feeling, but it is all too familiar and dare I say comfortable!!!
- Next Brave Step— I want to walk confidently because God is in front of me. I want to be brave in the way I live! As a born worrier that is actually harder than you would think! I keep asking for God to make me BRAVE... I want to live with a sense of courage! I want to risk, to not look back, and I want God to be WITH me in those moments. I have started to ask God, "what is my next brave step?" The problem with that question is He answers! In many ways with my new job I am living my next brave step... AND what a BEAUTIFUL next step I am experiencing! But it is scary too. The simple truth is that it is one step... One more step today than I made yesterday. I want to day dream about WHO I desire to be, and then boldly ask God if that is what He wants!!! Take sacred steps with my God! I want my armor to be that of Jesus, and my courage like something I picked up from the Wizard of Oz... So Courageous that I get a medal... like the Lion wears around his neck, with that curly hair, at the end of the movie!!!
- You Want a Friend like Emily… A friend that journeys with you! Who knows what is good for you, asks you to risk more than you want to, and continues to remind you what is best and true about who you are!!! Do you have someone like this? Prompting you to be more authentic today than you were yesterday? Reminding you that challenge can be GOOD in some cases, and nudging truth at every corner!
Where is God prompting? Leading? What is your next bold step towards more of your True Self? What do you day dream about? Lets get those excuses, judgments, and nervous feet out of the way. Friends, lets start running towards adventure, truth, and deepest joys! Where the stories of life unfold when we start to risk!!!
If you need a little help… Just get an Emily on your side!