Adventures in the Land of Awkward
Recently, after a busy day, my family and I stopped in for a late lunch early dinner at a pub we had been wanting to try. It was around 4 pm so it was not very busy. Just one other couple in a booth and a guy at the bar. We ordered some fish & chips and a beer. The young waitress seemed bored and distracted. The place wasn’t quite what we had hoped, but the Lord really took my attention to our server.
In my mind’s eye I saw her as a dancer and a swirl of what I can only describe as creativity encircled her. Holy Spirt shared some other insights about her with me and I felt like I had the beginnings of the picture He wanted to share with her. Well we were waiting for our food and she was clearly bored, so I excused myself from the table and approached her at the bar. I smiled and said, “Hey, when you passed by just now, I had an impression that you are a dancer. Is that true?” AWKWARD!
I was really hoping she would say yes and I wouldn’t have to figure out what to say next. “Well”, she said, “I used to be.” “Oh yeah”, I said, “I feel like it was a real passion for you.” “Yes, it was” she replied and explained why it had ended. I asked, “Are you painting now? Her eyes got big and she told me about the painting class she was just considering taking. I excitedly supported her inspiration about taking the class. I told her a few of the things that Holy Spirit was opening up to her and the way she might use that to inspire people and to show them the love of God. She was so excited and the scornful look had vanished. In its place was love and enthusiasm.
I asked if I could pray for her about the things God was doing in her life. “Yes, please!” she said. We stood holding hands over the bar and we had a great time praying in agreement with the things Holy Spirit had showed me and, though our meal was mediocre, my sister in Christ had her eyes lifted up to a new level. She could now see a larger picture of the destiny God has planned for her instead of the sad and tiny picture she was experiencing before we walked in.
Another day, I was heading into the gym. As I walked to the door, a very large, very powerful looking man was ahead of me. He opened the door and looked past me, seemingly waiting for someone. As I approached he acknowledged me and held the door open for me, but he kept looking searchingly beyond me. I am not easily intimidated, but I thought to myself that this man was the real deal. A truly tough man. Not just physically strong but truly tough. My impression was that he was some kind of enforcer. Maybe hired muscle for some organization. Their was an air of calm about him, but also a deep hurt and longing that was noticeable.
I went on in to the gym and got on the elliptical machine. The machine was next to the window facing the street. As I was getting on the machine and putting on my headphones, I was aware that the man entered the gym and walked behind me to the cubbies where he was setting his things. He still seemed to be waiting for someone. I had just settled into a good rhythm when I noticed a power box coming out from the grass mow strip near the street. In my mind’s eye the power box suddenly had many cords plugged into it. I understood that this was a message the Lord wanted me to communicate to the giant, intimidating man. AWKWARD! And risky!
I quickly stopped the machine and took my headphones off as I headed over to the man who was preparing to start his workout. I wanted to get to him before he began so I wouldn’t interrupt. I introduced myself and asked if I could talk with him for a minute. “Sure,” he said and told me his name as he shook my hand with his giant one while looking down on me.
I told him that I had noticed his strength when I saw him outside. “But,” I said, ” I feel like everyone taps into your strength and that you feel like they all use your strength for their own purposes, but no one is ever there for you. Does that sound right?” As I spoke, his whole giant focus fell on me. AWKWARD! But, as my words came out, he nodded his head in agreement. I could feel the fatigue and sadness. “How do you know that?” he asked. I answered him, “Well, sometimes God talks to me about people. Today He wanted you to know that He is your power supply. He wants you to know that He is strong for you and He is always there for you. He will never leave you and you are never alone. He wants you to lean on His strength and talk to Him about the things that concern you.”
This giant of a man blinked away a tear. He seemed doubtful that God would want to talk to him. In my nervousness, I didn’t spend much more time with him. I suddenly felt a little like he would think I was hitting on him like some cougar! 🐾 AWKWARD! I should have prayed with him, but that day, I just went back to my machine. I don’t always and probably never do it perfectly. The more I do it, the more comfortable I get with awkward. I have hope that one day I will overcome the fear of man enough to entirely focus on the person in front of me.
On any given day when you’re just minding your own business, going to the grocery store, the coffee shop or a pub, the Holy Spirit can drop a thought in your mind or show you an image or impression about a fellow shopper that you were not expecting. More than that, many times He isn’t just telling you about them, but enlisting your service!
If, like me, you happen to be actively trying to hear and distinguish God’s voice, and see people the way he sees them, life has become an adventure in THE LAND OF AWKWARD!
God just doesn’t seem to mind making us uncomfortable. In fact, I think He really enjoys putting us in opposition to our pride! Often times I sense a mischievous smile behind His instigation. I know His heart and I know He is a multi-tasker who rarely, if ever, accomplishes only one thing at a time. I trust Him that my obedience, however AWKWARD it feels, will bring something good for the person to whom He is sending me, and grow my trust in Him too.
In the early days of my obedience in these adventures, it did feel like I was sent into the land of giants and they surely looked at me as if I was a grasshopper. I cared a lot about how I was perceived and my stomach would quiver and my hands shake as I went to speak with the person God put before me. I’m sure I exhibited signs of the crazy person I feared they would take me for.
For me and my family, the scenes I described above are not unusual. They are a daily occurence. Sometimes the word comes to me, other times to my husband or sometimes both. The times when it is to both of us are fun. Holy Spirit gives us complimentary information to make up the whole picture. We get to minister to the person together!
When it is me, He calls my attention to a particular person by various means and then gives me a word of knowledge or a prophetic image that I must interpret. Then comes the first AWKWARD part. Was this really His voice or was it my own? Did I understand correctly what He was showing me? Did I interpret it correctly?
In the end, it’s not a question of WHETHER I am going to say something to this unsuspecting stranger, but a question of WHAT I’m going to say and HOW am I going say it. I want to approach the person in a way that opens them up to God’s heart for them and, hopefully 🙄, makes me seem not entirely crazy!
Almost always, the piece of information He has given me is pretty minimal. Not enough to put the whole story together. This is where faith comes in. I have to trust that once I start talking, He will download the rest of what I need quickly and fully. Now I just need a way to start a conversation about the topic I’ve been given. AWKWARD!
Occasionally, I miss it. I will ask them a question about what I think I have seen or heard to see if it applies. “No,” they say! “I don’t have a brother named Stephen, why?” DOUBLE AWKWARD!
It is a little embarrassing, but when I admit that I’m learning to hear from God and I must have made a mistake, I am, almost always, let off the hook. I know that God DOES want to bless this person, so I ask if I can just bless them anyway. Very rarely am I turned down, and sometimes the greatest blessing comes in praying with this child of God.
SOMETIMES only as I begin to pray does my sneaky savior give me the download, and THEN He touches the person in an amazing way! Most likely I will never see this person again in this life. But at the very least, they go away knowing that God has a good opinion of them. That they are treasure in His sight.
If I focus on what the person before me might think about me, it becomes all about me and I lose sight of the treasure that they are to God.
By giving me a word of knowledge or prophetic word about a person, the Lord has opened my eyes and given me a glimpse of the treasure he sees in the person. If I overcome my fear of man and speak the little that he has given me, it becomes a window and sometimes a door to see more fully and, more importantly, for the person to see more fully the heart of God toward them and the treasure that He sees in them!
Several years have passed since I began following the Lord into the Land of AWKWARD and it is still a bit unnerving every time. It probably always will be. But I want to be able to come back to God and show Him the fruit of the land; the precious hearts, that He has sent me to reconcile to Him. I want to see the treasure in people the way God sees it and share the truth of what He sees with them.
Father, help me to stay focused on the treasure you have put before me, and your desire that I value them and bring them into your heart. Help me to see how amazing they are and how awesome it is to treat them as my own brother or sister. Help me to overcome my fear of AWKWARD.