Overwhelmed by humility and grace

It’s easy to become cynical and jaded when leaders and celebrities disappoint us time and time again. When your spiritual leader is leading a double life of lies and affairs. When your favorite celebrity turns out to be a jerk behind closed doors. When every time the curtain is pulled back, reality is not what you thought it was.

And so I think the joy of finding reality to be even better than we had hoped is something to make mention of.

Overwhelmed by humility and grace - thoughts on the IF:Gathering #ifgathering

This past weekend I was part of the IF:Gathering in Austin, Texas. In the weeks leading up to the event, I let my anxiety get the better of me. When Lindsey Nobles invited me to blog about my experience, I was excited. But soon my self-doubt and the lies that started as a whisper turned into a roar of anxiety and stress.

I barely slept the week leading up to the conference. I worried about meeting people in person who had an expectation of who I was going to be, I worried about meeting people who had no idea who I was, I worried about living up to expectations as a blogger, I worried about EVERYTHING.

Now I realize all my stress, my anxiety, my worries about meeting those who are in the public eye, those who write best-sellers, those who speak on stages, those who have perfect hair — everything I was feeling was about ME. In my self-centeredness, I let anxiety rule my thoughts.

I think when we look at the leaders, the speakers, the authors, we might have two assumptions:
1. These people have it all together.
2. These people are clique-y women who only care about each other.

Or maybe not. Maybe I’m the only freak who thinks about such things. (Please tell me I’m not.)

So when I got to the Austin Music Hall on day one, my conference pass was exchanged for an all-access pass, and I was led to the front table. Right smack dab in the middle of the leaders and speakers. Right smack dab in the center of my anxiety. (Play it cool, Alysa. Play it cool.)

By the end of day number two, it hit me. God had put me in that seat for two important reasons:

1. To remind me that I am a unique creation with gifts and strengths and purpose. To STOP COMPARING. (This was a great theme of the weekend that I will blog about later this week). To stop trying to measure up to standards no one is putting on me but myself. To rest in who God made me to be. To find peace in the truth, and leave anxiety behind.

2. To communicate to you about the humble hearts of the IF:Gathering lead team and speakers. I was blown away by the authenticity, grace, humility and kindness of every single woman I met. No exceptions.Ā I watched them encourage one another, furiously scribble notes during sessions, and cheer each other on. And they weren’t just kind to each other, they were kind to me, and to anyone else who came by the table. I believe it is important for you to know the humility and grace I witnessed, and to know these women are part of this movement for the same reason you and I are. There is action behind their words, truth in their hearts, and kindness in their eyes. They are the real deal.

Overwhelmed by humility and grace - thoughts on the IF:Gathering #ifgathering

It is not possible to get behind a movement until you know the leadership is authentic. I believe God had me in that seat to tell you that you can get behind these leaders, you can get behind IF.

For those who might think I’m just kissing up right now, I’m sorry you’re still skeptical. I probably would be too. All I can tell you is I felt burdened to share the peace I experienced this weekend in the middle of those who once intimidated me when they shook my hand, looked me in the eye, and said, “I’m so glad you’re here.”


All images used with permission from IF:Gathering

  • Andrea Worley February 10, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    This is so awesome. I just got done listening online to all the sessions. What an amazing weekend and time of refreshing, I felt it through my computer screen. So, so good. God showed up in my tiny, messy guest room. šŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing!

  • Kimberly Louise February 11, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Hi, nice blog Really very interesting post shared above. Awaiting for more
    posts like this.

  • Stephanie Sheaffer February 11, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Sounds like a refreshing kind of “conference.” Much needed in the blogging space.

    How many women attended in Austin?

    • InspiredRD February 11, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      1200 women were in Austin.

  • Back To The Book Nutrition February 11, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    What a great testimony, Alysa! I was able to view several sessions online yesterday, and it did seem they were truly after God’s glory in this generation of women. I’m super impressed and grateful for a conference staff that worked to make the content available to as many as possible and completely free.

  • Tam Hodge February 11, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    I’m not proud to say that I struggle with insecurities. More now in my life than ever. But, your words here…they are hope giving, life giving. I’m so glad you were able to be a part of this and share your heart with us. Thank you, friend. Love you.

  • Melissa Carter February 16, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    I love that you shared this. I was able to sit nearby and could not get over how much everyone was cheering each other on with huge smiles on their faces and with such unity. Not sure why I was so surprised by this šŸ˜‰ but it was a blessing to watch take place!

  • All Things Bright and Beautiful (and Socially Conscious) February 18, 2014 at 8:56 am

    […] the soul-filling conversations and pages of scribbled notes to ponder, I also walked away from the IF:Gathering with some bright, beautiful and socially conscious jewelry that I wanted to tell you […]