Recently I was able to hear Jess Connolly speak at an event, and to say I was beside myself with excitement is a bit of an understatement. I’m kinda a Jess Connolly fangirl.
I hustled my car down the interstate at approximately 80 miles per hour due to pure excitement. Also due to my lead foot, but whatever.
You can imagine my need to steal an asthmatic’s inhaler when I learned that the conference was so intimate there was a good chance I would be able to actually have a conversation with Jess, and all the other speakers.
If you follow Jess, you’ll be familiar with one of her better-known posts kill the green room. The big question of that post is this, “Do we need them [speakers, VIPS, sponsors, hosts] to be separate so we can respect them more or do we need to see them in the flesh so we can realize they’re just like us, humans who need the gospel?”
(That’s a rhetorical question. Obviously, the latter.)
After her first talk, I went up to Jess and introduced myself. It was awkward, y’all. Like, drunk turtle on its back awkward. I obsessively replayed our conversation. I kicked myself the rest of the night. (Spot another problem? I was way too concerned with myself.) I thought she was too trendy and important and busy for me to treat her like a human. Like a friend.
I realized I was the one putting Jess in the green room. She was nothing but relatable and honest and vulnerable in her sessions. She’s only encouraging and gracious and kind with those in her community. I was putting her on a pedestal I made for her, one she so openly says she doesn’t want.
As we were walking into worship the next morning, I pulled her aside. Because stopping Jesus-people while they’re heading to worship Jesus is really, quite impeccable timing…except not. Regardless, Jess and her husband Nick were very gracious to pause and give me their full attention.
I asked her forgiveness for putting her in the green room. I asked if we could have a do-over of our introduction. And she gave me a big hug. Then we shared a laugh. Then we talked about our families like normal people. And gave each other friendly slaps on the shoulder as we walked into worship. We killed the green room.
While I worshipped, I gave thanks to God for people like Jess & Nick Connolly. People who shepherd others with grace. People with tender hearts. People who point to Jesus more than themselves.
And it occurred to me that God doesn’t want to be in a green room, either. God has given us direct access to Him through the perfect life and sacrificial death of His son, Jesus. We may “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) We are called to “with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
No green room required.