Try to Be More Awkward

Feb 20, 2024Daily Faith0 comments

My church can be awkward, and it’s one of my favorite things about it. 

Most of us would shrink back in fear from that description. We’d love anything other than to have ourselves described as awkward, let alone find ourselves in a situation that feels uncomfortable and embarrassing. Unfortunately, far too often our drive to protect our appearance and prevent any kind of social faux pas pulls us safely inside our own shell. Why risk a weird conversation when you don’t need to have it? Perhaps that’s why I love my church, who has shown me time and again that fellowship is far greater than the fear of the awkward. 

Our church isn’t huge, but it isn’t tiny either. Though we’ve been members for over a year now, we haven’t gotten to know every member scattered throughout our two services. Time and again, I’ll slide into the row with my family on a Sunday morning, only to be greeted by a man or woman I haven’t met. We’ll exchange hellos and I’ll often hear the usual question, “Are you new here?” or “What brings you here today?” Though I awkwardly explain how we’ve been attending for a while now, the interactions always bring me great joy. 

It would have been easier for the person sitting next to us to stay silent. I know I’ve done the same throughout my own years in churches. I’ve spotted someone and wondered if I should say hello but quieted the urge with my assumptions and fears. They’re probably not new. They already know a lot of people here. Or, This could be awkward, didn’t I already meet them once? What was their name again? Far too often, our worries over our own appearance bypass the opportunities God has given us to build community. Yet instead of caving to fears, the saints next to me in our church were courageous, and in turn they’ve inspired me to do the same. 

Most of us probably deal with the same kinds of fears. Our congregations likely aren’t all tiny churches where every saint knows each other. On Sunday mornings, we meet with a sea of people whose every name we can’t quite recall. We sit next to people whose career slips our mind or who shared a prayer request we just can’t remember. We could easily continue to sit in our seats silently, avoiding these uncomfortable interactions. Or we could be brave. 

We could just be awkward. 

We could pronounce their name wrong and introduce ourselves for the second time. We could be brave enough to exchange small talk complete with painful silence that lingers between the chairs. We’re not just being weird, but tilling the soil of fellowship. We’re planting the seeds of love and care in the heart of the saint beside us, even when they’re covered in an imperfect shell. We don’t know how God will use our fumbling words to encourage his body. Maybe the person beside us has been feeling particularly alone or had a hard week and our meager greeting lifts their spirits. Far too often we negate the importance of the imperfect, forgoing it altogether, when God tells us he consistently uses the weak things of the world to do his mighty work (1 Cor. 1:27–31). Why wouldn’t this include our very words?  

The small greetings I hear from the men and women beside me in church remind me I’m loved. They tell me of the beauty of the fellowship of the body of Christ. They pull me out of my singular focus and remind me I’m part of something bigger—bigger even than the group of families in my small group or who share my similar life circumstances. They lift my eyes to the beauty of the diverse group of church members God has placed around me—people I want to get to know better and learn from. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to revel in this had the people beside me stayed silent. 

Maybe we all need to embrace the awkwardness a little more on Sunday morning. While we don’t want to purposely make others uncomfortable, we can work to push aside our own fear of man in order to bless each other with fellowship. We need not shrink back from the lull of a conversation or a less-than-graceful hello in the church foyer. We don’t need to be embarrassed when we don’t know what else to say as a conversation concludes. The point is to say something. We can share a piece of kindness and be the means of grace to the saint sitting next to us, no matter how awkward it sounds. 


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