Risking the Awkward


Do you ever hold back from doing a certain thing—something you either want to do or feel like you should do—because you feel awkward? I certainly have. And truth be told, most of us probably fail to act on good impulses time and again.

Not long ago, my friend Elaine at Peace for the Journey wrote a blog post called The Unspoken Blessing (well worth the read, by the way). It made me think of the many times I’ve left words unspoken—usually because I would feel awkward speaking them. I left a comment for Elaine and told her this:

“One of my heart’s desires, Elaine, is to encourage others. . . Even so, I miss times of speaking blessing into the lives of those around me. I’ve noticed sometimes that happens because the other person isn’t really comfortable with receiving spoken love and blessings — and so I hold back at times so neither of us feels awkward. I need to risk the awkward.”

If you’re like me, you need to risk the awkward, too. We need to go ahead and speak words of love even if it feels unnatural in some relationships. We need to voice our admiration and let it be an encouragement. And sometimes we need to offer words of comfort even when we’re afraid we’ll say the wrong thing.

Sometimes we need to risk the awkward in even more uncomfortable situations—like when it’s time to confront or to hold someone accountable. We also need to risk awkward rejection at times in order to be a witness for the Lord. Of course, it’s best to enter situations like these with much prayer, depending on the Spirit’s leading throughout.

Risking the awkward applies not only to our words but to our actions as well. Sometimes we hold back on acts of love or service or gratitude because we’re afraid—afraid of looking silly or offending or that our overtures will be unwelcome in some way. How many opportunities have we let slip by us?

Is it time to set our fears of rejection or personal discomfort aside and risk the awkward, in both word and deed? If we do, I think we’ll find that most of our fears don’t even materialize or that the results are much less uncomfortable than we’d thought they’d be. We’ll probably even receive welcome and positive responses. And then we’ll wonder why we didn’t do or say certain things earlier.

How about it? Let’s risk the awkward!

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13

*When was the last time you risked the awkward?

*Flickr photo by Freddie Peña, Creative Commons License

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out next week. Sign-up is free and to the right!


  1. nancy douglas says

    I like how you pointed out that we must risk awkward in both word and deed. It’s tempting to be all “talk” or all “deed” when, as you say, we must be both. Faith in action can be awkward, but better to be embarrassed before man than God. Blessings dear lady!

  2. Martha Curtis says

    Cheryl, I agree. Fear is perhaps my biggest enemy. I am ‘practicing’ boldness. The words or actions I keep inside for fear of not delivering them quite right do not help or encourage anyone, least of all myself. Thanks for posting.

    • Martha, so nice to hear from you here on my blog! I like the way you point out that you need to practice boldness. I think the same is true for many us — it doesn’t come natural or easy to us. Practice helps us improve, though, doesn’t it? Good thought. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jennifer Dougan says

    “Risk the awkward” — I love that, Cheryl. It’s true and inspiring. Thanks.

    Jennifer Dougan

  4. Maybe if we practice speaking blessings to the people we interact with regularly, then it will become easier to do so with those we don’t know as well. I’ve often thought we should practice telling our stories of coming to Jesus with other believers so it would get more comfortable to discuss with others. Same idea with the speaking blessings. . . great post, Cheryl!

    • Thanks, Jana — and great thoughts about practicing speaking blessings as well as our stories of coming to faith in Jesus. What a good idea to help increase our comfort level. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Wonderful advice, Cheryl. So often words are left unsaid because of my fear of the awkward.

  6. Yes, word and deed! I’ve been risking awkward with some of my words lately (especially as it pertains to strangers). Amazing what a kind, kingdom word can do!

  7. Nanette says

    Great post and boy I NEEDED it this week. I have been holding back on a specific topic with a family member and this has encouraged me to move ahead and talk it out. Thanks again

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