“That’s awkward!”I’ve said this in various contexts: social, athletic, ministry, cultural & lots more. If you’re like me, we tend to avoid what’s awkward & uncomfortable, but sometimes this is detrimental.
When I look at Jesus’ disciples, they seemed to follow Jesus into lots of uncomfortable, inconvenient & awkward scenarios, such as sinking boats, conversations with demon possessed people, massive throw downs with religious leaders & not just a few baffling teaching moments / parables.
Here’s some truth that could be helpful:uncomfortable is often when we grow the most. And maybe we need to grow & mature more than we need comfort & convenience 🙂
Last night, I got to play on the softball team w my church & it was LOTS of fun!!However, I felt not just a little awkward because I was the pitcher & I’ve never pitched before. So it was a vertical learning curve for me & some parts were just flat out ugly.
And sometimes following God doesn’t feel smooth or suave.Indeed, a lot of times when I follow God, I feel uncomfortable & awkward. But I’d prefer to follow God & feel awkward rather than not follow God & feel suave. And maybe that’s the whole point:following God isn’t about our feelings but rather about obedience, full stop. Following God will likely make your flesh feel awkward & uncomfortable, but follow God nonetheless. I’d rather follow God & have my flesh be uncomfortable rather than not follow God & have my flesh be comfortable 🙂
“And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth and his eyes on his eyes and his hands on his hands, and he stretched himself on him; and the flesh of the child became warm. 35 Then he returned and walked in the house once back and forth, and went up and stretched himself on him; and the lad sneezed seven times and the lad opened his eyes.” 2 Kings 4:34-35
When I read these verses about Elisha raising this boy from the dead, what Elisha did sounds really strange to me, but I certainly celebrate the outcome! Weird actions in contrast to resurrection outcomes cause me to pause & reflect. Far too often, I’m quick to dismiss or reject stuff that makes me squeamish just to concentrate on the cool outcomes that I like. Do you ever find yourself making the same kind of decision?
Regardless of your answer, I’m entirely certain that the mother of the boy who was raised from the dead didn’t mind the method Elisha used to resurrect her son. Sometimes God’s methods can make us squeamish, but let’s never belittle nor dismiss God’s motives (genuine love) nor the outcomes, for the sake of being more comfortable & less squeamish 🙂
What’s a yucky appointment? Anything that you don’t look forward to & this can be appointments for car repair, a performance review at work, conversation with your child’s teacher, a medical procedure, etc. Unfortunately, we all have yucky appointments that are unavoidable.
So here are some helpful ideas:
Pray: remember that the Holy Spirit is with you all the time which includes the yucky appointments
Wise Choices: yucky appointments can be the feeding frenzy for worry & fear. Decide to chose peace rather than worry & love over fear
Deep Breath: this is always a good physical reset to release tension
Trust God: it always helps me to remember that as I stay in love with Jesus & true to His purposes to me, that God causes all things to work together for my good – Rom 8:28-29
My new physical therapy exercise is called Turkish Get-Ups & they’re very exciting, so say I with a smirk. I’m supposed to hold some kind of weight, do some weird getting up thing & pretend I’m nimble, maybe.
This is all very exciting because I can see that I’m making progress – to the point that I can do Turkish Get-Ups. Even though I feel uber silly doing these crazy exercises, I’m totally committed to doing them because they’re helping me to reach my goal to go snowboarding, swimming, jogging, paragliding & possibly wingsuit jumping.
Sometimes our spiritual development can be a little bit like Turkish Get-Ups. As we keep growing in our walk with God, sometimes we get to do things that might feel silly. Let’s appreciate, however, that if our flesh feels uncomfortable & silly but our spirits are growing, then ultimately that’s not bad: Maybe we need to pray out loud for someone today.
Maybe we need to ask God for some of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to move in our lives.
Maybe we need to choose to be patient when we’d prefer to rip off someone’s head.
Maybe we need to ask for God’s help in our daily living rather than trying to be independent 🙂
I had an interesting discussion recently with a friend related to talking with people about Jesus. It seems to me that sometimes we can get a little jittery about talking about Jesus with someone who isn’t necessarily a follower of Him (particularly if you lean in the introvert zone). Our culture also says that we are supposed to be tolerant & any overt or heavy duty proselytizing is nothing less than entirely offensive, rude & even repulsive. So talking about Jesus can get dicey.
So here’s an interesting thought, let’s start having spiritual conversations in our daily living, even with people who don’t necessarily believe the same way you do. Some things that can be helpful when having spiritual conversations include:
*listen: ask questions & pay attention
*respect: winning, convincing, coercing & shame don’t belong in these kinds of conversations; be gentle
*avoid the subjunctive: “should” & “ought to” tend to be unhelpful at best
*have spiritual chats with followers of Jesus: share with someone what God has been speaking with you about
“Are you telling me that at 28 years old, you never want to get better than you are today?” One time I had a coaching opportunity for a friend who was doing some preaching. I made them practice all of their sermon in front of me in the room where they would be giving the sermon. This person felt kind of silly going through their entire sermon in front of just one person, in a big empty room. Nevertheless, this was a really good exercise and opportunity to practice & grow, even though they felt awkward.
So here’s my encouragement: try new things, regardless of your agility. Ultimately, when I try new things, I get to lean into the Holy Spirit for help & that’s the best thing I could ever do in my life on a consistent basis! 🙂
Ever been in a situation where things are really dicey? Have you been around people or in settings where the weather conversation was over & then there was the awkward silence because no one could think of things to discuss that weren’t volatile or hurtful? I’ve been in some situations where i knew that people were testing me with the topics they brought up to see if i’d “take the bait.” i hate these awkward times, situations & interactions.
Here’s a possible solution – a few weeks ago i was reading 1 Corinthians 2 & in verse 2 it says, “I determined to know nothing among you except Christ & Him crucified.” This verse has really helped me because if i’m around other believers w a tricky conversation, i decide in my brain that i’m not going to be part of any gossip or negative discussions, but rather that I’m going to steer the dialogue to talking about Jesus & what He’s doing. This strategy has really helped keep my priorities & conversations to be godly! In the event that you’re around non-Christians, i think you can still make this determination by steering conversations to constructive topics (a quote from Mother Teresa, something positive you heard on the news, something good you’ve heard about a company or a positive way of looking at life).
I understand that from time to time, you’ve got to make confrontations & address problems, situations, communication strategies, etc. Nevertheless, i still think that making the decision to aim at knowing Christ & making Him known through various conversations is always a safe way to keep from walking on broken glass!! 🙂