The first year attending, I tried to get my blog cards into every single hand. I tried to talk to every single person. The second year, I made a plan of 4 or 5 people I really wanted to connect with. I made a point to reach out to them and have meaningful conversations.
This year-- I showed up totally frazzled, unprepared, and truthfully, un-expectant. After a summer of what seemed to be event after event, social gathering on top of social gathering, and responsibilities piling up and up, Influence Conference seemed like another thing to do on my social calendar. I'd been completely out of the "internet loop" for months, I didn't even know who was all attending or speaking.
I just showed up.
What happened? God showed up too.
It happens every year, and it surprises me every time (it shouldn't, but it does). I always attend expecting to gain some precious nugget of business wisdom, make professional connections, and walk away with a big new dream. And I do, but each year I walk away closer to the heart of God. Closer to understanding HIS dream for me. Each year I walk away as if I just attended a women's retreat instead of a blogging conference.
That's what I love about Influence Conference, it's real. In a world where we can so easily fabricate our lives through Facebook, Instragram, etc. -- Influence and the women who attend are serious about chasing God and using the internet for good. We're a group of women who just get each other, are refreshed by each other, and encouraged by each other. We get God, we get the internet, and we are serious about how we can use it for His glory.
The title of this post, Time to Build was the theme of this year's conference. Meaning that it's time for us to rally and build God's Kingdom, instead of building our own kingdoms. Jessi said in her session:
I thought about so many things that I'm building for my own glory. Ouch. But none of those matter if I'm not connected to the heart of God. If I'm not building His Kingdom.
Influence Conference was the perfect cap to an eventful year. The perfect way to refresh, reset, and reevaluate. I'm still trying to process it all. The last night of the conference, I was grappling with this awful tension of wanting to go home but not wanting to leave my people. The internet is funny sometimes. God is funny sometimes. But together they just work.
I'm heartbroken that I can't attend the conference next year. I will surely miss seeing my favorite women. I'll be making sure a sweet bride gets married to the love of her life that same weekend (this is another story for another blog post!). However, I was a little hasty and purchased a ticket right away!
Do you think Influence Conference might be for you? (hint... it is!). I'm looking to sell my ticket, at the discounted rate! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. Read a little more about the Influence Conference and the heart behind it here.
images via #influenceconf