There is something powerful in an invitation. It speaks an affirmation to the very essence of who you are.
I remember the first time I spent time with Paul. We were sitting in a green room suite for the bands, speakers, and staff of a large conference we were both working. We had only exchanged glances and small pleasantries up until this moment. When he came and went from a room, I followed him discreetly with my eyes. Then, as he was surrounded by people, Paul walked over to me and asked me to join the conversation he was in over at the other end of the room.
My response was filled with my usual awkwardness. I think I just stared at him, confused by what he asked. He smiled his patience with me (which oddly still continues 15 years later in our marriage as I try to keep up) and repeated his question.
"I would love to have your input in this conversation we are having over there. Would you join us?"
After my awkward silence, he was met with my awkward and insecure response.
"Me? You're talking to me?" See up this point, my best friend and I would joke at the reality that we were always the girls in the corner of the room with no one to talk to. It was funny because it was always true.
He held out his hand to help me off my seat on the floor and reaffirmed that I was the one he wanted to join him.
Let's put aside the fact that my husband is super hot and any girl would be honored to receive his attention, I was still figuring out who I was and hadn't found my confidence yet. Let's be real, I wasn't even near the right track to take the train all the way to the other sphere where my confidence apparently lived. Getting down that road took years.
I sat in that conversation utterly stunned and a deep feeling I wasn't sure how to describe settled in my spirit.
I was wanted.
Someone sought me out and choose me.
The power in the invitation.
Invitation is confirmation that who I am is valuable and needed. And even more than needed, it is wanted and desired.
We each offer something unique to the human race. Our very existence changes the course of history.
Invitation validates that uniqueness in each of us.
That moment of being invited usually means that something is going to change.
You can't accept an invitation and not be faced with the core issue of addressing the identity of who you are and what you offer. Someone has seen something in you. They are acknowledging who and what you are and expanding your territory. When you are invited it is often within a territory that you have not chosen nor one that you often inhabit. Otherwise, you wouldn't need to be invited.
So what happens when your territory is expanded?
Often you are asked to leave the comfort of what feels normal to you. You are embarking on new experiences, new business, new dreams, new understanding, new religion, new books, new music.
Someone sees a value in who you are and that it contributes to this world outside of where you normally exist.
That is powerfully beautiful, especially in a world where we are often seen and not known. Where we are constantly surrounded by people and yet, more and more feel incredibly lonely. Where everyone else seems to be doing something amazing with their life, why doesn't anyone see me?
Saying yes to invitation requires vulnerability. It as an awareness of who I am and an appreciation of what I offer to the world. It takes courage to humbly accept your powerful existence in the world. Accepting the invitation is an opportunity to absorb the gift. To be in the moment and let go of the lie that you don't belong in this new space you have never before explored. Big and powerful things happen when we say yes to the invitation. Most of them are personal and internal digging out the deep rooted lies that you don't belong. Saying yes frees you to enjoy expanding your territory.
When we say yes to the invitation our lives change.
We learn to enjoy the moments, value ourselves, and contribute more and more of who we are to the world.
We should invite people in more.
We should say yes to more invitations of relationships and opportunities.
And when I think of the greatest invitation I ever received, I think of Christ. I remember all the ways in which he continues to invite me into new territory, asking me to trust him and let him expand my territory.
An invitation to enjoy rich relationships.
Invitations to meaningful ministry.
Invitations to mercy and grace and humility.
And every day he invites me to love more than I thought possible.
And that my friends has been my greatest journey and an adventure that hasn't stopped.