Welcome to a special edition of Five on Friday-Links I love: The Christianity 21 Recap Edition.
Last weekend I did something brave.
I put on all my favorite charms, got on a plane by myself, and flew to Denver to participate in and present/speak at the Christianity 21 Conference (aka #C21Denver if you follow me on Twitter.)
I made hotel reservations and rented a car (and got sucked into some of the insurance, of course!) and managed canceled flights and standby status and delayed luggage and driving in a new (big!) city.
All by myself.
I don’t travel like this. I have never rented a car before. I have seen it done, but have never done it myself. When I travel, I generally drive, in my car, to said place. Or I ride, while someone else drives.
So I am not lying when I tell you that I did not get a night’s sleep for the three weeks prior to the trip.
But it wasn’t just the logistics that had my adrenaline flowing at warp speed.
It was also the speaking. Knowing that I was going to speak a part of my truth, from a place of deep passion, at a conference that also included many, many people that I respect and admire was a bit foreboding.
Because I wanted to get it right. Really, really right.
Because what I spoke about – Faith in the Home – really, really, matters to me.
Not because I do it perfectly myself, (or even well half the time,) but because it is something – as cheesy as this sounds – that I feel called to talk about. To drag back out into the light for all of us to examine and discuss and practice at.
In the end there were some hiccups. My slides were out of order and so some of the effect I had hoped for was lost. I had to do some quick rearranging and editing on the spot. But I spoke my truth. I spoke it loudly, without apology, and with passion.
And for that I am very proud.
Especially the “without apology” part.
And that is an important detail.
Because lately I have become aware of just how much time I spend apologizing – mostly to the voice in my head that is the leader of doubts and fear – for who I am.
For what I believe or don’t believe or don’t know or want to know.
And last weekend, this progressive little wing of my tribe, this motley crew at C21 gave me a beautiful gift.
They reminded me to stop apologizing.
Instead to step out, into the light, into the truth of who I am, even the rougher, unfinished edges. Because nothing good is going to grow or flourish in the dark.
Margaret Zimmeran and Julie Clawson, the very best of roomies, reminded me to stop apologizing for my softer, domestic side.
That there is no shame in bringing my crochet with me everywhere, for writing a “pretty book,” for being interested in both theology and glitter.
Sarah Bessey reminded to stop apologizing for loving Jesus a little too much. That there is no such thing. That it is even okay to cry over our love for him now and again. And again.
Phyllis Tickle (my fairy-godmother, always) reminded me to stop apologizing for talking about the Holy Spirit. For welcoming the Holy Spirit. For thinking that maybe the Holy Spirit is moving.
Sarah Pulliam Bailey reminded me to stop apologizing for taking time to play. For reminding me of BOTH parts of my very favorite creed “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever” are important.
Carl Greene reminded me to stop apologizing for wanting to tell my story. He reminded us all that our stories are signpost for others coming along the trail, helping point the way. That they are needed.
Nadia Bolz-Weber reminded me to stop apologizing for being a girl. To use my voice, to speak confidently and humbly. And that humility and wallflowery are not the same thing.
Kent Dobson reminded me to stop apologizing for being unsure of what Heaven is exactly. That maybe there are things HERE NOW that need my attention and service.
Tony Jones reminded me to stop apologizing for being a human being with feelings.
Jamie Wright reminded me to stop apologizing for being a critical thinker. For not being satisfied with any ole thing. For pushing, asking questions, and turning things on their sides to see if they still stand.
And everyone reminded me that if I do any of this without humility, then all of it is pointless.
So here is to stepping into the light.
Humility and truth, hand in hand.
You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God.
You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight.
You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less.
You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.
If you lose your saltiness, you have lost your usefulness and you will end up in the garbage.
And don’t say anything you don’t mean.
Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it.
Live out your God-created identity.
-Fragments of Matthew 5. All found at #C21Denver