It Doesn't Have To Be Awkward

The other night I sat with friends talking about what it looks like to share your faith. We talked about the potential awkwardness, about how we know it really shouldn’t be awkward, about the difficulty of forcing it in conversations.

And then Justin told this story and it was a story I’d never heard, which, when you’ve been married to a guy for almost 13 years and you dated for almost 6 years before that, is rare. 

He started describing a middle school chorus concert he attended as a kid. He remembered one song in particular with pretty elaborate hand motions, the awkward kind, a bit cheesy, juvenile. He said he felt uncomfortable watching; he imagined everyone on stage was immensely uncomfortable, too, as they groaned through the motions. He said you could read the awkwardness on every face.

But one.

He said there was this one girl who was totally into it. He said she didn’t do the motions half way like the other kids. He said she poured herself into the song, a huge smile on her face. He remembered her clearly.

When he described her I thought, “Ah, a weirdy.” But that’s not the way he remembered it at all.

Twenty years later he was sitting at our table telling his friends about her, about how she was the only person he watched, about how when he watched her he stopped feeling awkward. She was loving the song, singing it with her whole heart, hands moving with all-out enthusiasm—and that enthusiasm gave young, uncomfortable Justin peace. 

We’ve all heard the Iraneas quote, “The glory of God is a person fully alive.” And that’s what I thought of when Justin shared this dusty memory, pulled from some far corner of his mind. I was reminded of how God is glorified when we sell out. And of how awkward and uncomfortable everything gets when we don’t. 

If we squirm in our new skin, itching and pulling and otherwise whining about the confines, restrictions, and irritants, our way of life makes everyone uncomfortable, not just us.

But if we embrace it—huge, goofy smiles plastered across our faces—if we live it the way it’s supposed to be lived—no hesitations or short cuts—then, people want to watch.

And maybe join in.