I may or may not be listening to Christmas music right now.
Ok I am.
But that's besides the point.

There's this part about the Influence Conference that I have thought about more than any session, dinner night, or workshop. If anything molded me at Influence, it was this one thing. 

But I'll get to that in a sec.
Let me set you up first.

So here I am, at the IC (it's so much shorter than writing it out every time, and I love a good abbrev.)
Like I was saying, I'm at the IC and I'm doing good in the sessions and workshops and I'm loving all the learning. Plus, dinner has turned out to be way less anxiety-inducing than I imagined. 

But then there's this other time. 

These "breaks".
And they're not super long... maybe 30 minutes or less... but long enough.
Long enough for me to start feeling awkward.
Long enough for me to start walking up to that person who I know but I don't know and then feel too insecure or small time and turn around and go the other way and find someone I already feel comfortable with.
I mean, what would I SAY anyways?

I can see it now (I would tell myself). Hi! I'm Kerrie! From the Williams Post?  Well, uh, nice to meet you...
*awkward silence*
*other person walks away*

I let this fear and insecurity keep me from talking to many people who, I realized later, were most likely feeling exactly like I was!

(ps. I can't imagine how many people I probably made feel left out by my not going up and talking to them throughout the weekend because I was so nervous! If I did, I am SO SORRY.)

Let's take this photo for example:

This is from the Stripes Party. Looks fun, right? I'm all smiles and having a great time with my girls... but most of the party, I felt uncomfortable and on the outside of this amazing community that I really wanted to be a part of. 

The thing is, we're all human with the same insecurities.  Deep deep down, I'd bet that none of us felt cool enough or worthy enough. 
And it was keeping us from one another.  

So it was Saturday night, the last night of the conference, and I was just starting to come around and put myself out there a little bit more (but with no less insecurity or stress in doing so).  We gathered together to close the weekend in worship and that's when it happened.

I stood in a room of  worshipping women who I "knew" but didn't know... women who share the same passion for blogging, which, let's face it, is a huge part of my daily life, and suddenly I felt equal.  I felt the same.

These women cried out to God around me and I couldn't help but stop and look around and think,
"These are my sisters"

These women, they are my sisters in Christ. 

And the walls came tumbling down.
Suddenly, I didn't feel nervous or embarrassed or not enough.

I wish I could explain it better.  To be in a room full of bloggers worshipping our King... I imagined us in heaven and wondered why I hadn't really gotten it before. Why it took me all weekend to get it.

And I'd venture to say I'm not the only one who felt the walls crumble around them in those moments.
Afterwards, I met and spoke to so many more women who shared my sentiments in saying, "I wish it hadn't taken me so long to get to this point! It's the last night and NOW we're meeting!"  

I learned so much at the conference, but one thing that stood out among the rest is this: we're the same. We're God's daughters.
We're sisters.  

My biggest regret that weekend was letting Satan use his lies on me once again to keep me from building some incredible relationships.  And upon realizing this truth, I experienced change. I experienced community. And it's so good :)