You know that feeling of being uncomfortable or embarrassed in a social setting when things just feel funny? Awkward. This word just keeps popping up lately in conversations. People I'm connected with, but aren't necessarily connected with one another. I'm the only common denominator. Hmm. What are you trying to tell me, Lord? Why is it we're talking about this?
It's a funny word isn't it? I mean it even looks awkward. When I'm tossing something around in my head for many days and chewing on it before I decide to write about it, one of the first things I do is look up it's definition. For starters it is an adjective. You know, a description word. Now I'm clearly no English major, but I do want to set the stage a bit here. We use adjectives when we're describing people. Or to better convey a story we're telling. I would definitely use awkward to describe some people, myself included. I would go as far to say that as an introvert and knowing other introverts, yeah we're awkward. But we're not alone in this awkward state. I can think of people who just make trying to have a conversation with them almost impossible and then I can think of people who just make it look like it's the most simple thing in the world.
Let's pick this word apart a bit.
Awkward as defined by dictionary.com:
lacking skill or dexterity; lacking grace or ease in movement; lacking social graces or manners; not well planned or designed for easy or effective use requiring caution; somewhat hazardous, hard to deal with; difficult; requiring skill, tact, or the like; embarrassing or inconvenient; caused by lack of socialgrace.
And since I rarely look up a word without also considering the synonyms, let's look at those too:
clumsy, inept; unskillful, uncoordinated, graceless, unpolished, unrefined; blundering, ill-mannered, dangerous, risky, unsafe, unpleasant, difficult; uncomfortable.
Sometimes I actually get more understanding simply by considering the synonyms.
Now that I've looked at this, I don't like the things that stick out to me are basically describing some back woods person with no education. Ugh. Now I'm not the most confident person in the world and am very hard on myself, but I wouldn't describe myself as a back woods person with no education. Nor would I, you. But isn't that the picture you get in your mind when you envision an awkward situation...sort of a hot mess that you just can't take your eyes off of even though you probably should so the people in the middle of the awkwardness don't have to feel the pain of their awkward state to a more amplified degree? Okay, maybe that's a bit of a rabbit trail, but not too long, eh?
So, yeah, does any of this bring a person to mind? Or a situation you've found yourself in? Is this just another word to describe those of us that are introverts? You may be thinking,
wow you ask a lot of questions.
I get it. I do. But seriously, why are some of us so awkward with one another? I'd like to share the reasons why I think we are and then with that, share what God says about it and how we can maybe not be so awkward in relating to one another. Maybe we can stop avoiding situations we fear will be awkward and instead face it head on, therefore eliminating so much of the icky awkward feelings.
1. I'm feeling awkward because:
My mind is stuck on comparison.
We're too busy comparing ourselves to one another. We're so consumed with what we think someone thinks about us that we are awkward around them. We don't measure up to what we think we should. Or we think we're better than them and this also brings out awkwardness. Goodness, looks like we're thinking too much.
How to stop comparing?
Test yourself. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else. Galatians 6:4
Consider who you're trying to impress. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
2. I'm feeling awkward because:
I'm swallowed up in low self confidence.
I've often marveled at the confidence of others. Even envied it. I've actually had confident moments before, but they were short lived. It scared me, I guess. I definitely feel more confident in some situations over others. Especially when I'm comfortable with the people I'm around, usually family. With that comfort comes a high level of trust. Most of the time I find it a constant struggle; therefore, I create awkward situations that weren't necessarily headed that way on their own. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
How do I stop feeling insecure?
Dwell in the Lord. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, ...Psalm 91:1-5
Recognize that your confidence comes from God. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:4
3. I'm feeling awkward because:
I'm full of fear.
Fear is no fun thing. But it can be conquered. Going around feeling afraid of people is no prison anyone wants to live in. Again, this may just be a personality thing for some people. It can also be chalked up as being a bit sheltered and not having much experience in different situations. Therefore rendering us paralyzed. I'm thankful God allows these fearful situations to come our way because it grows us and stretches us. It is a moment where He gets to show up and receive the glory for bringing us through.
How do I stop feeling afraid?
Pray this verse, out loud if necessary. So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6
Choose to be stable and fearless. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
These are the top 3 reasons I believe we find ourselves feeling awkward in social settings. Sometimes, crazy things just happen. We trip. Bodily functions don't always know when to keep quiet. I mean, seriously some things are just out of our control. But, there are those unfortunate times that we could've avoided the embarrassment of an awkward situation if we'd gone into with the right mindset.
What's the most awkward situation you've found yourself in? Do you know someone who is awkward and could use a little encouragement? I'd love to hear about it.