Going to the dentist is so awkward. I’m a person who generally likes her personal space when it comes to people I don’t know well. My dentist and hygienist fall into that category. Don’t get me wrong, I like them…just outside the bubble. The nature of dental work is just awkward and personal. You just sit there with your mouth gaping open doing your best to answer their questions while trying not to bite a finger. I actually did bite my dentist once…barely, but it still happened. I think he learned the valuable lesson of only asking yes-or-no questions from that day forward.
One of the hygienists at my current dental office, doesn’t actually speak words so much as shows me what to do. For example, instead of just telling me to open wide, she actually just opens her mouth at me and I’m supposed to know to mimic her. It’s sort of bizarre–especially if you happened by the exam room at that moment–both of our mouths gaping open at each other. Despite the awkwardness of a dental visit, I continue to go because ultimately I find it beneficial.
I have a godly mentor who always admonishes to “embrace the awkward.” I can stand going to the dentist knowing it’s going to be weird because I just embrace the awkward. And really, there are lots of things that this principle works for.
Sharing the Gospel
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16
We can desire to serve God with all of our hearts and really not be ashamed of the gospel, but starting a conversation to share the gospel can still be very awkward. When I feel awkward I make jokes…usually bad ones. So awkward. But what if we started embracing the awkward and talk to the lady next to us waiting at the deli counter in the grocery store. She might need Jesus. What about your child’s friend’s mom? What about your neighbor? Your postal worker? Your family? Yep, it might be awkward. Embrace the awkward.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16
It’s not easy to confess sin to another person–another sinner. But Scripture tells us to. It humbles us and allows us to pray for one another. And it’s awkward. It’s awkward to confess to someone else, and it’s equally awkward to hear someone else confess. But it’s good. Embrace the awkward.
Being a Real Friend
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” Colossians 3:12-14
Friendship is like any other relationship–difficult and rewarding. Colossians lists a bunch of characteristics to “put on” and above all to put on love. It seems simple, but putting on love in our friendships can be messy…and messy can mean awkward. Real friendship means telling the truth in love, confronting sin in love, forgiving in love, longsuffering in love, pursuing in love. Embracing the awkward in love.