I posted last weekend about #the4500. This group alone is a miracle that gives testament to the power of God’s love; of prayer; and of “simple, yet complicated” walks of faith coming together for the purpose of building one another up. Because, really—where else on the internet, or in the world for that matter, can you find 1300 women from all over the globe and all sorts of backgrounds who get along with one another, #forthelove? (I’m not naïve enough that I don’t think negativity slips in sometimes—but our attentive and gentle admins (Tracy and Anna) keep it from spreading very far.) In my post, I mentioned a dream about #the4500 and the series of connections it set off, promising to come back to it. So, here’s that story:
Until two weeks ago, I had posted in the group occasionally, but not really connected with anyone on a more personal level. One of the admins had requested to be friends on Facebook back in April, along with a couple of people from SC who are also in the group. I’d watched photos of meet-ups come across the pages of the group, and almost had my own meet-up at the Beth Moore conference in July (it didn’t happen—partially because there were so many people in the venue you could hardly move, and partially because I just chickened out). And when Tracy unveiled her new ministry of weekend retreats to bring the group together in real life (IRL), I never even let myself entertain the thought of attending. (For the record, I’m now kind of wishing I were going to the first one that’s happening in WI in three weeks.) I was perfectly happy on the fringes.
But then I started reading Daring Greatly. And started thinking about living a more authentic life, showing up, and re-engaging. And about that time, I had a dream that I attended a conference of #the4500. In the dream, I met Anna (who encouraged everyone to read Daring Greatly in the group) and we talked about things close at heart. As we were talking, someone unintentionally interrupted us, but Anna gently guided the conversation back to what was on my heart.
I woke up that morning feeling like a weight had rolled off my shoulders. I had a joy I couldn’t explain. I considered posting about the dream in the group, but for a split second I thought, “No, that’s ridiculous. Nobody will care that you dreamed about this.” Ten minutes later, I decided to post it—because it was just a fun little anecdote. We would all laugh about it and be done with it.
So I posted: “I dreamed of #the4500 last night. The whole legion of us was at some conference and I kept running into people I recognized. We had dinners, coffees, chats together. But what really takes the cake—the moment when I was pouring my heart out to Anna and someone walked up and unintentionally interrupted. Without missing a beat, Anna steered the conversation back to what was on my heart in the gentlest way. I’ve never met her IRL, but I imagine that she’s just as sweet, encouraging, and darling as she was in my dream. Anna—you’re a cheerleader for us even in our dreams! It’s ridiculous, but I woke up light-hearted and joyful because of our ‘dream-chat!’”
Anna was first to comment with “we should talk soon!” Almost immediately, people were posting comments that Anna really is that sweet IRL. When I saw Anna’s comment, I thought email, FB messenger kind of talking—you know, written correspondence.
Within ten minutes of posting, I had a FB message from Anna, saying “here’s my number, let’s chat!”
I’m an introvert. If you know me, you know this is true (thought I’m beginning to see slightly more extroversion appearing). I DON’T talk on the phone. My sister and mom are lucky if I answer their calls immediately. It’s just not my thing. Small talk is excruciating. I hate it. For real.
And this STRANGER wanted to talk to me. ON THE PHONE. Bless her extroverted heart.
I didn’t even open the message until I got home from work that afternoon. (I didn’t want her to know I’d read it—because then I’d have to do something about it!) But it was in the back of my mind all day. So when I got home, I messaged her back. In total honesty, I told her it wasn’t my thing; I told her I wanted to chat about the book, but I didn’t think I could do it on the phone; I asked if we could text instead; and I gave her my number so I could not chicken out.
Half an hour later, my phone buzzes with a text. Guess who? We chatted for a couple minutes about the book, then she asked where I live. I told her and she replied with the statement that made me believe Jesus had his hands all over this: “My boss just told me today that I’m coming to [town in the next state]! I smell a meet-up.”
WAIT. WHAT??? The very day I wake up from a dream about meeting her, her boss tells her he’s flying her from five states away to company headquarters which JUST HAPPEN to be TWO HOURS FROM ME???
That’s not a coincidence y’all. That is God at work. If nothing else, Anna and I agree that He’s up to something BIG here.
There’s no way I’d miss this meet-up. No way.
But there’s more. All of the above happened two weeks ago (Friday). I got halfway through Daring Greatly over the weekend and needed to talk it out with someone who’d read it. That Tuesday evening, I took a leap and texted Anna to see when she was available to talk. Yes, talk. Not text. Talk. We set a time for later that night.
It was so far out of my comfort zone. At one point during our conversation she asked if it was weird for me to be talking to her. Um, yes. But we talked for an hour and a half (which neither of us realized until we hung up). And it was such a blessing. She is such a blessing. And I’m so looking forward to meeting her later this month. (Part of me wonders when “the other shoe will drop” and I’ll be scared to death of this meet-up.)
So many other connections and breakthroughs have happened in my own heart as a domino effect of our conversations and what God has been speaking to me through the questions posed both by Anna and by Daring Greatly, as well as other books I’ve been reading and sermons I’ve heard lately. I’ll be writing for weeks about it all.
Moral of the story: Sometimes we get so stuck in the ruts we’ve made—the place where we’re comfortable, the place we’ve made safe. But we aren’t designed for safe. We’re designed to dare greatly, to show up so God can show out. If we aren’t willing to move, He can’t work as freely. But when we show up and engage with the world around us, He has a way of blowing our preconceived ideas straight out of the water.