1) You intentionally arrive five minutes late to service like:
and leave immediately after the closing prayer like:
(Thou shall not mingle with brethren!!)
2) If you can’t find someone to talk to after study/service ends, you’re immediately on your phone like:
(most interesting text, ever)
3) You avoid introductions and group interactions because they inevitably end up like this:
4) When you finally find someone you can connect with, you’re like:
5) When that personally suddenly ditches your convo to talk to someone else, it feels like:
“I don’t think it’s easy for anyone to introduce themselves, but for introverted people, I think it’s only slightly better than chemotherapy.” – this really awesome blog post.
From one socially awkward person to another: I feel your pain. Despite my interest in fashion and my bubbly outward appearance, I am — and always have been — a socially awkward individual who has a debilitating fear of rejection.
The rejection I experienced when I was younger left lifelong scars. Seven years after graduating from high school (a/k/a, a torture chamber for introverts), and I’m still slightly terrified of people, especially people in groups. I’m a bit of a group loner: a slightly off-kilter person who never quite fits in with any particular group and, consequently, looks awkward in every group; hence, the very reason I avoided going to church for many years. When I finally worked up the courage to attend church, I used all of the above tactics to avoid social interactions. I remember being so displeased when I learned how extroverted church culture is. Like, why couldn’t I just learn about God and get out?!?
Though I have a newfound appreciation for interactions with my church family, I still experience uneasiness when I’m forced into groups. When the final word in a closing prayer is spoken on Sunday and everyone disperses to greet one another, sometimes my body is ready to bolt out the door. When Bible study turns into group study, a part of me is like, “ugh! not againnnn.”
But this post is not about lamenting the hard knock life an awkward Christian in an extrovert-friendly world. This post is about the importance of coping with your awkwardness so that it does not hinder your worship to God. And believe me: If you do not have a supportive community of fellow, like-minded Christians who are also focused on strengthening each other’s relationship with the Lord, your worship very well may suffer.
For a long time, I tried to convince myself that I could love God on my own without the assistance of over zealous, way-too-friendly, probably hypocritical Christians. Now I firmly believe I can not worship God properly by myself. When we become Christians, we are baptized into one body — the body of Jesus Christ. As mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4, this body has many parts; although each part may be different and perform different functions, all of the parts are to work in unity towards the strengthening of the body. What use to the body is a strand of hair that breaks off from the rest of the head and falls into a corner? That strand of hair, however strong it may be, can no longer perform its function — protecting the head — because it is separated from the body. Thus, it becomes useless. Consider these verses also:
“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:22-25
Christianity is a faith rooted in service — people serving God and people serving each other, just as our savior Jesus Christ did. Such sacrificial service is pleasing to God. Whenever I want to slip into my secluded, introverted zone, I have to ask myself: how can I serve other people if am too afraid to talk to them in order figure out how to serve them?
In my next post, I’ll explore some suggestions for dealing with being awkward, based on my own attempts to just deal with it.
As a preview, here are the main points:
- Channel your insecurities into a renewed focus on God
- Remember the Lord is our greatest companion; no earthly relationship will be more fulfilling
- Use your awkwardness to connect with others
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