Thursday, August 15, 2013

Word to the Awkward

If I wrote a rap song [which would be really weird since I have a high, squeaky voice] instead of ending it with "Word to Your Mother", or the Girl's Camp classic, "Word to Your Bishop", I'm pretty sure I would end mine with "Word to the Awkward". Mostly because it rhymes, but also because we awkward, shy people get a pretty bad rap [haha, see what I did there] and can be pretty hard on ourselves. 

I'm pretty much the queen of awkward. Have you seen Studio C? I totally wish I had an Awkward Avoidance Viking like Matt did in these sketches:

The truth is. Everyone's awkward. We all have insecurities, fears, trials, and embarrassing moments. [And unfortunately, none of us have an Awkward Avoidance Viking at our service.]

Let me tell you about an embarrassing moment of mine. [Trust me, I have lots...good for get to know you games and sleepovers, but really bad considering I lived through them all. Or maybe that's good thing. We'll see.]

Church is a beautiful, reverent place. On the contrary, I'm a pretty ungraceful, unintentionally noisy person. Not because of my voice. I actually have a pretty quiet voice. But let me tell you, my short little body can make a lot of racket. [My parents should get a refund from the gymnastic, ballet, and martial arts classes that supposedly taught me balance and poise. :P]

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One Sunday, I was happily sitting in my chair next to an old friend from elementary school when a girl I really admired as a younger teen came and sat next to me. I had a total case of hero worship back in the day. She was that cool high school kid who had it all together. I wanted to be just like her. She had gone away to college a few years before, but there she was in the chair next to me. Wowzers, people was I tense. I had gotten older since the last time she saw me [duh] and I was crossing my fingers she would still like me.

Anyway, we talked for a while and then it was time to move to our next class. She started talking with someone else across the aisle, but I needed to leave. It was kind of a no-win scenario. I didn't want to look like I was eavesdropping on her or miss my next class, so I thought of all the ways I could get around her.

"Umm, excuse me, could your please stop your conversation with a long lost friend you haven't seen in several years so I could get by. Thank you." Maybe that would work?

"Here, hold still while I climb over you." Yeah, probably not.

Since words were not working in my favor, I considered other possible options.

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Maybe a helicopter could come and lift me out of the row? Yeah I'm sure that's likely.

How about just jumping super high? [Where's my Tigger tail when I need it?]

More realistically, looking around the room I noticed there was a gap between two chairs in the row ahead of ours. I figured I could just squish right through there and get to class without ruining my fragile reputation with the college girl I so admired.

Well, there's a problem. If I was a cat, my whiskers would be broken and I would die in an air vent or something. Like, seriously, I have no accurate perception of what I will fit through and what I will not.

As you can guess by now, I did not fit through the hole. But it gets worse.

I was wearing boots. Very cute boots. Very cute boots with buckles.

Chair Image Source | Heart Image Source | Boot Image Source
Boot buckles and metal chairs apparently have some sort of friendship or magnetism because my shoe attached to the chair and wouldn't let go for all it was worth. [Hey, there's a new Valentine message for you. "I love you like a metal chair loves a boot buckle." That should win points with your crush.]

So, there I was trying to be suave and cool, stuck to a chair, and shaking my foot like a caged bird attempting to get free.

As you know, metal is not quiet. Long story short, one loud ruckus and a very blushing face later, I was finally released from captivity, but not before the whole room was staring wide-eyed at me. So much for being reverent, eh?

As embarrassing as that was, I was already laughing it off by the time I was home. Unfortunately, that's lots harder to do sometimes. Sometimes embarrassing moments aren't funny at all. Sometimes we're just awkward.

For example, my voice cracks when I don't drink enough water. I trip over nothing all the time. People don't always laugh at my jokes [which I can't finish without laughing hysterically before the punchline]. Sometimes I have to re-park the car like three times. I can't do a somersault. You get the idea.

My point is, we all have embarrassing things that make ourselves cringe. They're different for all of us, but in the end we're all horribly awkward.

Lucky for us, the Lord isn't afraid to use awkward people.

Ether 12:27 is a scripture we quote a lot in the church. Often we think of the word weakness as sin, but I for the sake of this message, I want you to think of more in the lines of awkwardness.

"I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
Let me tell ya, my embarrassing, clumsy ways sure keep my humble [probably better than anything else ever could]. But did you catch that? If we come unto Heavenly Father and apply Christ's atonement in our lives, our "weak things" will be made strong. Not made adequate or mediocre, but strong. Isn't that amazing?

Often when we remember people from the scriptures, we forget that the were real people with thoughts and feelings. Personally, I admire them so much that sometimes I forget they had human weaknesses, too.

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Consider Moses. He was such a strong leader. He spoke with God, escaped from Egypt, parted the Red sea, and led thousands of people through the wilderness! But in his words, [Exodus 4:10]
"O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue."
Boy, can I relate to that. The right words seem so far away, when I'm nervous I stutter, and sometimes I say super stupid stuff. Can you imagine that conversation in today's world? "Hello, I can barely talk to my peers, now I'm a leader? I'm not popular? Writing is definitely more my thing." But, listen to what the Lord says: [Exodus 11-12]
"And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord?" 
"Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say."
Wow. What a promise! The great thing is, this promise applies to us, too! If we come unto our Father in Heaven, he will give us the strength we need to fulfill our missions in life [even if we are a little awkward].

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What about the people who wrote in the scriptures? They must have been very confident authors! Think again.

Ether 12:24-25 reads,

"And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them." 
"Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore, when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words."
Can you believe that? Mormon was worried that we would laugh at mistakes in his writing? He said his hands were "awkward" [yes, that is the actual word used in the scriptures]. Listen to what the Lord says in response to his cries: 
"And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness; "
Isn't that awesome? With God's help, people can mock, populars can laugh, and haters can hate, but it will not matter. God's grace is sufficient for the meek.

So, what am I trying to say? Don't feel bad about being awkward. Be you. With God's help, you can be amazing.

Just because you're a little awkward doesn't mean the Lord can't use you. Did it stop Him from calling His prophets? No. Did it change Moses or Mormon's worth? No. Does it change our's? Absolutely not.

So be proud you're awkward [but be humble about it. That makes no sense. Let me try again...].

Be thankful you're awkward. It means you alive and breathing. It means God is trying to help you grow. Don't let it get you down. Let it build you up.

With all the love of a boot buckle and a metal chair,


  1. Okay. I absolutely love this blog! It's AMAZING! I'm a Mormon too (hello) and the fact that you love Studio C and Beyond 5 and that we seem pretty similar in personality...yah. That's pretty cool. Thanks for your posts! :)

  2. Hi Anna,

    Thank YOU for reading! It's so nice to meet you-- another Studio C and Beyond 5 lover! I think I'm in heaven. ;)

    I hope you have a fabulous weekend!


  3. Great message but you need to fix a scripture reference you put Esther instead of Ether :)

    1. Ooops! I will fix that right now. Thank you for letting me know, D-lyn! :)


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