Join In

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Are you one of those people who exude confidence, who can take the spotlight unflinchingly? Or would you rather stand back, avoid the front and center, and observe?

I think most people who know me would say I am an extrovert. The spotlight usually doesn’t bother me. I can speak in front of groups both large and small and barely break a sweat. That is all true—now. But it hasn’t always been true, and notice I said ‘groups?’ Put me in a conversation where small talk is required, and I fail—miserably.

I was reading an email earlier this week from the first time orientation for the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Conference that I (and hundreds of other writers) am attending in September in Nashville. This writing thing is not new, but the whole ‘writing to publish’ thing is new.

I’ll tell my ‘how I found ACFW’ story in another post.

At this conference there are many volunteer opportunities. Now, I’m overwhelmed about this conference. It’s a BIG deal. Lots of famous, successful authors will be there. Agents and editors will be there. The best part is they’re all Christians. I am going to try to pitch my book. I don’t know what God is going to do there, but I think it’s going to be spectacular. Still, I’m a bit unsure of things. This is all new.

So, I volunteered. I signed up to work. Just a couple of things, but I figure, if I want to meet people, what better way to get to know them than as we work together. This way my awful small talk skills won’t prevent me from getting acquainted with others. I’m really excited about those facets of the conference, now. It has helped me deal with some of my fear.

Back to the emails. This first timers’ group is so cool, because the plan is that we will all (around 100 of us) get to know each other before we arrive. We won’t be walking into a crowd of strangers, but instead into a familiar (even if not face-to-face) group. I can’t wait to meet the people I’ve met on the critique loop and the novel track writing group. These will be even more people I can greet.

What we accomplish in this life isn’t as important as who we accomplish it for. My goal is to work in the name of the Lord Jesus moving as He directs me (as far as I can discern through prayer)for the good of my fellow human beings. Relationships are the most precious things God gifts us with: a relationship with Him and relationships with family, friends, and those not yet friends.

The way to meet those ‘not yet friends’ is to JOIN IN. Allow God to bring you closer to those He wants you to know. Don’t allow fear to keep you in the corner. Embrace those new relationships. Who knows, the people you join with may be the very ones who will help you through that next trial or guide you past the next temptation. Isolated we are easy prey for the devil who prowls around like a roaring lion waiting to devour us. Together, joined, we have power. Joined, we can encourage. Joined we can pull as a united group.

I invite you to join in. Join in with God on His amazing journey. Join in with those who would see you through that journey. Join in.