First we must set the stage. You must at least have a snap shot of where we have come from.
I have this really great group of friends. We call ourselves the Ladder Bloggers. And before you think that’s all cute, try switching the first sounds of each word and then you’ll realize why we wish we’d taken a little longer in the conference room to think of a name, ‘cause we’re always saying it wrong and laughing at ourselves.
Anyway, This group of friends hang out together on a private fb page, encouraging each other and growing together with our online presence. It’s officially a mastermind group of bloggers, but it’s grown into so much more. We pray for each other, encourage each other on more than just the topic of blogging. It’s beautiful, productive fellowship with others who get this whole blogging part of my life.
(If this kinda thing sounds fun to you, visit this page for links and ideas for starting your own group!)
I’m introducing this group first because throughout this story, I mention them frequently, and you need to know why and how they can be such an intimate part of my life. It’s because I asked them to be.
So, about a month ago now, Kristina (a fellow LB) and I got together to brainstorm about our Allume talks. We’d both been asked to do a breakout session at this year’s Allume, and I was especially nervous about it because it was really my first true speaking engagement and I felt just about as prepared and poised as a 3 year old. I was excited, and had an inkling I would like public speaking once I got the hang of it. But I was still a freaked-out-newbie at this point.
Kristina has done enough public speaking that she knows she loves it. She knows the difference between nervous-because-you’re-underprepared and nervous-because-you’re-body’s-getting-ready-for-action. I figured hanging out with her would be a good idea.
It was, for a lot of reasons. She’s an absolute riot in person. Just that level of quirky that delights me to the core. But enough seriousness that we always get something accomplished at the soul level when we’re together.
And that’s what happened. Not only did we think of a great, hands-on idea for my workshop, but a simple observation she made with the honesty of a true friend actually gave me the central theme of my talk.
Before we met, my talk was about being OK with being a smaller blogger, with a list of whys.
After we talked, I realized that my talk was to be a testimony of how God addressed the pride in my life over the past year, and how heart change is what’s really needed to be able to accept the size of your platform and to have a kingdom impact with your blog regardless of your numbers.
See, Kristina and I met at last year’s Allume. And on this Thursday, almost a year later, she told me her first impressions of me in the brief interactions we’d had at last year’s conference. She told me, sitting across her dining room table, with the candor of a true friend, that when she met me she was fairly certain she did NOT want to have me for a friend.
She smelled the subtle scent of pride.
My conversation at last year’s conference leaned toward criticism and boasting, and she sensed my heart thought that ‘the only thing the blogging world and this conference is missing is Trina Holden’.
Even though we learned we lived only an hour from each other, she came away from Allume lacking the urge to connect further In Real Life.
Well, shortly after I got back from Allume, God began to reveal the pride in my heart, I saw it for the first time, and slowly began the process of repentance and change. I wrote about this revelation here, with a metaphor to a mice infestation.
Finally, 6 months after Allume 2011, I got around to visiting Kristina’s blog, realized we were soul sisters from her awesome poetry, and messaged her that we should get together.
And Kristina tells me that in our first phone conversation she could tell that God had done a work in my heart. Praise God for friends willing to see and rejoice in the work He does in our lives! We’ve been fast friends ever since.
So, it was my honest friend, Kristina who helped me realize the core of my story, my talk at Allume, would be about embracing humility.
The problem of WHAT to say in my talk was solved, we just had to deal with my terror of speaking, and a few other equally paralyzing fears that were lurking beneath the surface…
(I usually take a mid-week break from the internet on Wednesdays, but I promise I’ll be back with the next installment in this tale first thing Thursday morning, mkay?)