rebelling against low expectations

Why You Should Embrace Awkwardness


Someone likes feeling awkward. I’m sure, in a world of 6.6 (as of 2008) billion people, someone must like it.

That someone isn’t me.

Well, wasn’t.

I still don’t like it, to be sure, but I’ve gotten (slightly) better at handling it. Previously, I’d invent an excuse to walk away, turn red in the face, or simply sit there and be awkward.


I still do those things. Hopefully less often.

However, there are some things that will cure even the most acute affliction of awkwardness. One of them is ju-jitsu (nothing weirder than having a complete stranger sit on you while you try to roll them over) and another is embracing the awkwardness.

Setting ju-jitsu aside, I’ll focus on #2.

I noticed that I felt most awkward when talking with other teenagers. With adults and people under twelve, I was for the most part fine. So I asked myself: What’s up with that?

The answer I came up with is: Perhaps they’re feeling awkward too. Maybe it’s like an awkward ouroboros (snake eating its own tale). I’m awkward, which makes them feel awkward, which makes me feel more awkward, etc.

Adolescence is a time of low self-esteem (at least in this century), which immediately lends itself to awkwardness. The reason I didn’t feel as weird around adults is because they were relaxed and confident, which put me at ease. So I decided to try and copy them and Embrace the Awkwardness.

And guess what? I even found a Bible story about it.

In John 13:3-12 Jesus washes His disciples’ feet. That would be awkward today, but think about in Bible times when that was the job of a servant. Do you think the disciples kept chatting away when Jesus “got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself” (vs 4)?

I bet you not.

I bet they stared as the Master took on a servant’s job. I bet they watched as He went around, slowly and thoroughly rinsing everyone’s toes, drying them with a towel, and moving to the next person. This wasn’t a job that could be done in two minutes.

Oh, and I bet Peter’s brother did a massive face-palm when Peter exclaimed, (vs 9) “Lord, [wash] not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!”

(Dinnertime is not the time to bathe, Peter.)

But did Jesus let the awkwardness stop Him? Nope. And we shouldn’t either.

Yeah, it’s uncomfortable talking to that boy who has autism and stands too close. Embrace it.

Yeah, it’s weird offering to clean the car of a lady who’s going through a hard time. Embrace it.

Yeah, it’s awkward when people ask what your college plans are and you say “I have no idea, but I’m hoping God will make it clear.” But then maybe the janitor will surprise you with a word of encouragement.

Who knows? Maybe the other person will still feel awkward, and you’ll feel awkward, etc.

But it’s worth a try, eh?

(Or is ‘eh’ just awkward?)

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Photo courtesy of Emma Brown and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Cricket Hoppmann

is a nineteen-year-old, southern, homeschooled chicken-lover—the kind that still has feathers and clucks (not her, the chickens). She also loves Jesus, her family, martial arts, and climbing trees. Although she has no idea what she wants to do with her life, she’s trusting God and looking forward to seeing what doors He will open.


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  • Yes, do be kind to that boy who has autism and makes people feel awkward, because I know how much it blesses that boy and his family when people treat him like a “normal person” and want to be his friend.

    On another note, this article is just what I have needed because I think my biggest fear is awkwardness. I hate it and try to avoid it at all costs.

    • Yes, that is one of my biggest fears too. I hate awkward silence, when I feel like I have to say something just to make the awkwardness go away. This was a wonderful and encouraging article and it reminded me that there is nothing bad about awkwardness, it all depends on how you react to it.

  • Oh the awkwardness of not having college plans and trusting God! Oh I know it too well! Aside, thank you, Cricket, for this unique insight. Really helps shed some new light on a somewhat familiar aspect of our Saviour. Which makes me wonder: If the Church is the bride to Christ’s Groom, and when we reunite, do you imagine there’ll be a wedding reception? And at said wedding reception, do you think the Groom will dance?
    Food for thought!

  • This is a wonderful post. ^^ something I needed, I always feel awkward when talking to anyone aside from my family. Thanks for writing this! 🙂

  • This post shows the beauty of teen awkwardness 🙂 I thought I was the only one who found it hard to talk to teenagers but thankfully I am not! Thanks Cricket for the beautiful post and encouragement to embrace awkwardness… Even when awkward:)

  • Thank you for writing this post, Cricket! It really encouraged me. 🙂 I love your perspective on how the other person might be feeling just as awkward as I am. This will be a good thing for me to remember when am around people I don’t know that well-or at all. 🙂

  • Great post, Cricket. I needed to hear this truth as much as anyone else. The end of your article made me grin 😀

  • Thanks Cricket! I am glad I’m not the only master of awkwardness 🙂 This was encouraging!

  • Feeling awkward affects us all. I chock it up to funny moments that you look back on and laugh. If we are constantly feeling awkward or out of place, we are spending too much time focusing on ourselves.

    Being a “teenager” is a rather recent phenomenon in cultural history. It was popularized in the 1950’s with the advent of the car and freedom for young people to separate from their adult influences. I personally hate the term as it seems society as well as the church has used this “teenager” term to excuse gross sin in young adults. There are no age requirements for obedience to the Word of God, but it seems to be the norm. We excuse rebellion, disrespect, rampant vanity and hatred from teens as they have been made to believe that that behavior should be accepted due to their age. Where in scripture are the requirements for serving Christ anymore or less different for individual age groups? I wish the word “teenager” would be deleted from the English language. You are either a child or an adult. There is no grace period due to a person’s age. The church is now full of childish teens and teenage adults.

    I would encourage any young person to examine their spiritual condition in the light of God’s Word and see if they are measuring up or are they just striving to be like what society tells them to be.

    • I think what you are writing is exactly what The Rebelution is all about. Brett and Alex Harris created the blog as “A rebellion against low expectations” and they are mentoring other teens to do the very same thing! 1 Timothy 4:12 is what the blog continuously teaches “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

  • Great article–I hate awkward situations, and I find it really hard to talk to people I don’t know if God has prompted me to do that. It’s a struggle, but it’s something I need to embrace if I’m going to follow God.

  • Yeah. There are so many things I don’t do for fear of “looking stupid”. But learning to be free, and not worry about how it looks, or how I feel. I love that about how Jesus did one of the most awkward things. Way beyond what I may think is awkward for me!

  • Great post, Cricket! Awkwardness is something that I struggle with daily so it’s such a breath of air to hear that you can embrace it! Thanks for sharing!

  • I forgot to finish my comment before sending it! I ment to say at ease around teens. ( awkward)

  • I feel awkward all the time around strangers. Last Sunday I volunteered at my church, and me and this other girl were serving coffee together. We talked some but there were in-between times of silence when I couldn’t think of anything to say and I’d just stare at the counter.

rebelling against low expectations

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