I spent the better part of the weekend talking about being afraid.
My commitment for the weekend was to be transparent. This statement may seem unusual coming from a woman who has been called, “real, open, strong” by her friends and colleagues. Truth is, I believe we all hold some part of ourselves back from others. That tiny part of ourselves where hurt and insecurities dwell. The part of ourselves where fear of failing or disappointing others exists. That very inmost part of ourselves we often deny existence for fear of what may happen if we are truly honest with ourselves and each other.
This is the part of myself I committed to opening others into that weekend.
This was how I approached IF:Gathering last month.
A good friend and I co hosted an IF:Local at her house that weekend. The central Gathering took place in Austin, Texas and the entire event was live streamed, as well as DVRd, for local gatherings throughout the world. The local gatherings are called IF:Locals and I’ve heard reports that there were and still are over 1,000 IF:Locals taking place ALL. OVER. THE. WORLD!
Our gathering was small … 3 of us taking over Brenda’s house for the weekend. Our preparation for the weekend was fairly easy and informal. I took care of the logistics – printing all the needed materials, monitoring session updates and sequences through the Local Leaders page as well as monitoring the technology while we viewed the sessions during the weekend. Brenda and Mary took care of the nourishment. 🙂
Although I am an incredibly reserved person, more comfortable listening and observing over actively engaging in conversation, my most favorite part of the IF:Gathering was when we got to turn the volume down on the TV and work through the conversation questions together. There was safety in our small group and I allowed the Holy Spirit to gently push me out of my comfortable silence and speak up. In this process, He allowed me to explore some of the insecure areas I’ve been afraid to share from.
I can’t speak for the other two women, but I came away from IF with an assurance that whatever fears I imagine are simply wasted energy. The only one judging me is … me.
Our focus for the weekend was on the history of Israel and their crossing into the Promised Land 40 years after their deliverance from captivity. Forty years! God told them He was giving them this land and yet, all but two – Joshua & Caleb – were afraid to move forward into His promise. How so like the children of Israel am I and yet, how so like Joshua & Caleb I desire to be!
As the weekend drew to a close, I had the honor of heading out to Brenda’s flower bed and picking, cleaning, and presenting a rock to each of our group. Our final assignment was to write a statement on those stones of what our next step, our testament & commitment would be following IF:Gathering.
My commitment is to no longer be afraid. Of what others might think, of what may or may not happen. If I sense God is calling me to join Him in a work, no matter how big or small, clean or smelly, I’ll join Him. And I summed it all up in …
 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.  Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.  One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.  For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.  And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;I will sing and make melody to the LORD.  Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!  You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”  Hide not your face from me.Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!  For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.  Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.  Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.  I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!  Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! – Psalm 27 [ESV]