We've talked about my "celebrity crushes" before. And we all know I'm odd. So this post shouldn't surprise you.
I may or may not have prayed to meet Gary Haugen during the Justice Conference.
Okay. I did. I did pray I would meet Gary Haugen during the conference.
Gary Haugen, President (and CEO) of International Justice Mission. Writer of "Just Courage" (and several other books but Just Courage changed my life so...).
This man, this organization do amazing work. I'm more than a fan.
And my coworker Jason King, coworker and guy I all around like and admire, earned my everlasting ire and jealousy when he got to meet him at Passion 2013 and I didn't.
Gary Haugen was one of the main reasons I wanted to go to the conference. I'd never gotten to hear him speak in person and knew it was going to be amazing. And, just as an added bonus, thought it would be great to meet him. So I prayed a silly prayer.
The night of the conference, I had gotten in late. I was texting a friend of mine at the conference while walking into the motel. I was trying to find out who all was speaking that night. I was exhausted and frankly considering skipping it. But what if I missed Gary Haugen??? I actually texted my friend "If I miss GH, I'm going to be ticked" while standing in line at our motel waiting to register. And then I looked up (side note: look up from your phone on a regular basis so you don't miss anything!)...and there, standing right in front of me at the counter, was Gary Haugen. I went totally fan girl. I got flushed, may have gasped, grasped my children by the arm and "whispered" (who am I kidding...me? whisper?) 'There's Gary Haugen!' I texted my friend "GH is standing right in front of me!!!!!!" And then, tried to consider what to say to him as I introduced myself...I had nothing. Well, that's not true. Lot's of gushing. Lots of "OH MY GOD YOU ARE GARY HAUGEN" but I kind of assumed he was aware of who he was. Some "JUST COURAGE IS SUCH AN AWESOME BOOK! IT CHANGED MY LIFE!" It almost drove me to tears. I couldn't think of a single intelligent conversation starter. Two days before I'd had lunch and intelligent conversation with Katherine Chon...and now I was a blithering idiot.
I couldn't do it. Admittedly, if he'd been alone, I might have stepped forward goofy grin and outreached palm. But he was engaged in what appeared to be a serious conversation with two men and somehow interrupting that conversation to star gaze and humiliate myself with obtrusive gushing didn't seem appropriate. So he walked away, never noticing me.
The young man behind the counter noticed me and asked "Who was that guy? He's got VIP written all over him but I've never heard of him" I opened my mouth and then closed it, checked my attitude and explained who the man headed up to his room was and the impact he had on people like me and the issue of social justice. Because I'd checked my attitude before speaking (as in, I didn't say "OH MUH GAWD, HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW WHO HE IS???), we had a great conversation. And the guys spent the next three days scoping out the place trying to see if he could spot Mr. Haugen and arrange for me to meet him.
Here's my point(s):
1) It's okay to pray silly prayers. And sometimes God will give it to you just to remind you He knows the desires of your heart. Sometimes He might give them to you just to show you it wasn't quite as important as you thought it was.
2) God's answers don't always look like we expect. And we need to be okay with that.
3) Letting go of something you want because it's the right thing to do...is the right thing to do. Believe it or not, there are more important things than the things you want.
One day I'll meet Gary Haugen. Or not. One day Jen Hatmaker and I will be best buds. Or not. But God knows me, loves me, sees me. And that is enough.