This is for those of you out there who are just a tad bit awkward, like me. I know you’re out there. Those of you who don’t love large social situations and don’t thrive super well on small talk. Those of you who dread new situations simply because of the unknown. Those of you who want to bury your nose in a book and make best friends with the characters because they get you. Those of you who might be just an itty bitty bit of a control freak and as such we like to know how things are going to shake down. Always.
I know. Me too.
This is for people like us. If this doesn’t describe you, feel free to stay and read. Know that I like you a lot because you fill the gaps in conversation when I just have no clue what to say. And you embrace challenge and change. And I need you in my life because you make me better. But this isn’t necessarily for you, for the sake of a heads ups.
Thing is, for those of us that fit the first description up there, it’s hard to broaden our horizons. It’s hard to reach out to new people. It takes serious effort and a lot of putting-ourselves-out-there to break out of our comfort zone. It does. I know.
But we need to. I know you know that already. I just wanted to tell you again.
I wanted to tell you that the great commission, it’s for us too. That whole, love your neighbour and clothe the naked and take care of the widow and orphan? Yeah, we don’t get a free pass to skip those based on our personality or preferences.
Because God’s commands? They’re for all of us. And that means you. And me. And yeah, you. (I’m looking at you!)
I know this for sure because the commands aren’t given specifically to the extrovert or to the one who’s really especially brave. They aren’t given to those who have the gift of gab or the ones who could make friends with a tree. No, they aren’t specific or preferential in their nature. They are simply there for all of us to do.
Are you sweating now? Heart pounding? Thinking of reasons this could never be you? Coming up with reasons why those other people will do a way better job then you?
I know. And, stop it! (and I really love you!)
I want you to know that I get it. I completely understand and I am blundering my way through it. Because it doesn’t come natural to me, it just doesn’t. But the cool thing is, that means I need to rely on a strength that is way bigger than what I have. It also means I can take no credit for any of it because I know it’s beyond me. Any work or any good that comes from it is simply God. For sure. No questions asked.
I want you to hear that it’s awkward for me too.
Getting to know someone new is always awkward for me. I don’t know where to start and I tend to dive in to the deep stuff a bit too fast. I want to know what kind of home you grew up in and what your parent issues are. I want to know the pinnacle moments in your life that make you who you are today and I want to know your vulnerable spots. This can scare people. (allegedly) And I’m trying to get that.
Thing is, it doesn’t matter who you are and what sort of gifts you have (or don’t have) loving your neighbour means stepping outside of your norm and loving on someone different from you.
I get that it might mean there are long silent moments in the car on the drive home.
I get that there might be times you (hypothetically) ask a youngster with no family and no money if she spent her day Christmas shopping.
I get that there are moments when you just smile cause you’ve got nothing else.
I want you to know that it’s okay. It is.
Reaching out to people doesn’t have to be a professional moment. It doesn’t have to go just right and you don’t have to come across as perfect.
But you do need to do it. Because you can’t love your neighbour if you’re not willing to enter their space. You can’t love them if you’re too afraid to talk to them and you can’t love them if you’re trying so hard to pull it off just right that you practice and polish and pretend.
It’s okay to be awkward. It’s okay to feel like you’re out of your element. It’s okay to not be sure what to say. There is grace that covers all of that.
What’s not okay is deciding that you can’t and sitting in your comfy circle with your comfy people and being all, well, comfy.
Comfy is good and nice and easy. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some yoga pants and an old hoodie and a few episodes of something on netflix. I do. But if you have a peek in the very word of God there is very little about our lives that are told to look nice and easy.
It does say a lot, however, about strength and courage and love.
So, fellow awkward homies, I want you to know we can do this. One weird hi at a time. Are you with me?
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