It’s hard to believe that the 2014 Influence Conference is over, that I’ve already attended two years in a row (and have purchased a ticket for 2015). My experience this year felt different than last year, quieter somehow (I did a lot less running around and socializing at all hours of the night), but it was just as impactful and rich and wonderful and life-shaking.

a little behind the scenes prep

a little behind the scenes prep

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Last year, I showed up at the conference knowing no one; I’d even met my roommates on the Influence forums and had never seen any¬†of them in person.

This year, I roomed with Jacey–who I met at the airport after last year’s conference–and Liz; the three of us have been in a writing group together since last November, communicating via texts and Google hangouts. These girls are wise, kind, loving and fun, and spending the weekend with them was an absolute joy.

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(I realize that I said in the Influence podcast not to hang with your roommates all weekend, but I was a bit guilty of that this time around. Oops.)

one my favorite moments: dinner with these girls

one my favorite moments: dinner with these girls

The theme for the conference this year was “It’s Time to Build” and I left Indy with a renewed sense of awe for God and all that He’s doing in my life, as well as with a fresh passion for pursuing the things He’s calling me to, instead of the things that I might seek to do out of striving or seeking glory for myself.

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It’s impossible to share everything I learned during two full days of teaching, so I’ll try to sum it up with a few of my favorite sound bites. Sound good?

Haley Morgan: “striving is crap…His spirit lives within me and pushes out all of that try-hard and look-at-me…Every single day, I have influence because I am in Christ and Christ is in me.”

Whitney English: “these are my people; they get God and the internet…Our beliefs–what we say to ourselves in our heads–determines and guides our actions.”

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Lara Casey: “God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things when they are surrounded to His will and His ways…Busy is the opposite of stillness; we’re afraid of being still because we don’t want to acknowledge what’s there.”

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Jess Connolly: “It’s worth us taking the time in the early stages of building to ask why we’re building…God love HIS kingdom; He hates MY kingdom…decide whose kingdom you’re building.”

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Lisa Leonard: “Write down 10 words and phrases that impact you and resonate with you to figure out what your brand is…The water is big enough for everyone to swim. Let’s work together and be kind.”

Nancy Ray: “Setting goals is the first step to turning the invisible into the visible…It’s not about being successful, it’s about being faithful with the message He’s given you.”

Heather Boersma: “Your God story is the strongest weapon in your arsenal.”

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It was a beautiful and busy weekend of connecting with friends old and new, worshipping God with my fellow Influencers, being emptied and filled back up, and learning practical strategies to further my creative pursuits.

I love my Influence girls–see you next year!!

Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:3