Awkward (in an Approachable Way)
We held a planning retreat in early April to map out our plans for the coming year. In one of the exercises we had to describe our current state as a church. We gave everyone a pad of sticky notes and let people brainstorm.
We captured everyone’s responses, but to be honest, I only remember one. The photo is above.
I love this. Here’s why.
The Value of Awkwardness
Awkward doesn’t seem like a great word. The dictionary defines it as “causing difficulty; hard to do or deal with; causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience; not smooth or graceful; ungainly.”
So why is awkwardness valuable? In his book This is Awkward, Sammy Rhodes writes:
I genuinely believe that our awkwardness and awkward moments are invitations to know more deeply the grace of God. Awkwardness is an invitation to vulnerability, and vulnerability is where intimacy and connection are found.
I want to be vulnerable. In my best moments, I believe in grace. My hope for this book is that its awkwardness will itself be an invitation to the kind of vulnerability that can only happen if grace is true.
Vulnerability is hard. But grace is true. So let’s make some awkward.
There’s value in discovering our inward awkwardness. When we’re given permission to drop the mask and stop pretending, and when we’re freed from the pressure to impress, we can relax. We find ourselves being real. We begin to relax and breathe, and that’s a beautiful thing.
We’ve all been in environments in which it’s not safe. Remember high school? The coolest get ahead. The rest of us get left behind. It happens, but that’s not what church is supposed to be.
I hope you’ve experienced the opposite. I hope you’ve been in an environment in which there is no need to impress, and where you’re valued just for being you.
When we’re awkward, we don’t just enjoy the freedom to be real. We give others that freedom too. We announce that there’s no need to pose or pretend. We begin to accept everyone for who they are.
Someone’s said that when we wear masks, people don’t really like us. They just like our masks. When we drop the masks, we can discover that people really like us, even in our awkwardness. We create room for others to drop their masks and be liked too.
Come As You Are
Our invitation, then, is to come as you are, even if you’re awkward. You won’t be alone. You may even discover that your awkwardness is a gift to others. It gives them permission to be awkward too.
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