just do it
Few places provoke in me the kind of instantaneous excitement that airports do. I love sitting there watching the bustle of everyone’s journeys intersecting, wondering where each person is going, and what’s bringing them there. Mostly, I love the anticipation of knowing a new adventure is about to unfold, but not yet knowing what it will entail.
Several months ago I somewhat randomly stumbled across an online article written on the Storyline Blog. I loved what it had to say, so I ended up perusing the website to see what else it had. Once I made it to the home page my screen was commandeered with a pop-up advertisement for something called the Storyline Conference.
Curious, I began to poke around. The conference was advertised as an opportunity to hear from world renowned speakers who would be sharing their thoughts on living clear, meaningful lives that produce a positive influence on culture. It continued on to say that Storyline is a place for people who don’t think it’s crazy to chase after their dreams.
I was intrigued, so I kept going.
Turns out that the Storyline Conference was founded by a guy named Donald Miller and funny enough, I had just ordered his book Scary Close on Amazon. I scrolled through the conference speakers and recognized face after face that felt familiar to me, people whose words have so deeply shaped and encouraged and inspired me: Donald Miller, Bob Goff, Shauna Niequist, Korie Robertson (Duck Dynasty!), Mark and Jan Foreman (as in the Switchfoot parents), Raechel Myers (she founded the SheReadsTruth app!), and so many more.
The excitement began to rise inside of me like a plane getting ready for takeoff.
Finally I made it to the end of the page where it advertised an optional third day of the conference, a special workshop for communicators, people who want to influence with their words.
That last little bit tipped me over the edge and all of a sudden my mind was in full-fledged logistics mode, frantically going through the options trying to figure out a way I could make this happen.
Until I hesitated.
I’d have to get work off, pay for the registration, and oh yeah the conference would be held in CHICAGO. That meant paying for a flight and finding somewhere to stay. Plus it was a conference for writers, probably already-established ones with already-established work. Who was I to think that applied to me? It all just seemed a little impractical. Maybe I could wait and see if the conference would be held somewhere closer next year.
But then I stopped myself. It was a moment of decision, one where I could tell myself all the reasons I shouldn’t go or simply say…why not?
I’m learning that it’s important to be intentional about investing in those things that make you come alive. Starting up writing again was something I wanted to do for almost two years, but busyness and fears kept me from making it happen. In the last month that I’ve been back at it, it’s given me SO much joy. Last week I was working 11 hour days and despite the exhaustion, I literally could not wait to get home and write. Things like that are the things worth investing in.
Which is why I said why not. I had to get all Nike/Shia LaBeouf on myself and tell myself to just do it.
I was catching up with a good friend yesterday sharing dreams and telling her why I was excited about the Storyline Conference. I told her that I almost didn’t go because at first it felt like a very impractical decision. She stopped me, looked me right in the eyes and said,
“What’s impractical in the eyes of the world is actually the most practical thing you can do if this is a purpose God has given you.”
It’s all too easy to neglect the things we love because they’re impractical. They might not pay the bills or contribute to culturally-constructed views of success, so we consider it a waste of time or even foolish to nourish them. But what if those things that make us come alive are not an accident, but are by design? What if those are the very things that make us who we are, the very purposes and passions God has sewn into our hearts to impact this world with?
What if we actually have a responsibility to steward those things well?
A few weeks ago another friend was telling me that she had a bonus coming at work. It was just enough to cover a laptop she’d been wanting to get for a while to give life to her dream of writing stories. She’d been debating for a while whether she should put the money in savings for a new car or buy the laptop. Buying the laptop seemed impractical, like there were other things that she should be investing in instead.
She decided to just do it and get the laptop, and I’m glad she did. Because I believe in her stories and I believe they can make a difference.
Not only that, once she committed to her decision we starting talking ideas and encouraging each another, believing for one another that these stirrings in our hearts were worth paying attention to. I watched her demeanor transform as her once far-off dream began to morph into an action plan. She was positively glowing.
What is one simple step you can take today towards investing in a gift or dream or passion that makes you come alive? Doing so is the most practical thing you can do.
I arrived in Chicago tonight, and I’m so excited for these next three days which will be solely devoted to the nurturing of the passions God has sewn into my heart. I’m ready to soak in wisdom and inspiration from some of my favorite authors who are living out of that sweet spot where passion, purpose, courage, and conviction intersect. And I’m beyond excited to share what I learn.
P.S. Shout out to Maddie and her awesome parents for giving me a wonderful place to stay here!