Something powerful and amazing happens in a room filled with passionate people who love The Lord. Brightness of true joy penetrates the heart, igniting a fire for more. Yes, I’ll take more of that please.

Being around women like this stirs a restlessness. We want to be a part of what the Holy Spirit is doing.

We also feel a frequent tug towards self-consciousness that makes us aware of how awkward we feel when we’re not fully included.

A friend invited me to attend Jennie Allen’s book launch last week. Despite frigid temps for us southerners, the rooms were full of heat. In my idealistic mind I saw passionate women on fire with all that the Holy Spirit is doing. I also saw women who already knew each other and that’s the way it would stay.
Awkward Loner


When Awkwardness Fuels Insecurity

Woman after woman came flooding in, with smiles and adventure in their hearts. Most of them came, together.

Suddenly, I realized I was embarking into a room FILLED with woman I DIDN’T know. Alone. Um, I hadn’t considered that when I left. OK heart, it’s been awhile since you were a lone ranger among a sea of unknown people.
Women gathered in clustering groups of their own connected circles with much chattering and excitement. I waited with baited breath for that comfort of familiarity and acceptance.

Can we say awkward? Here I stood, alone. Wondering where to gaze my eyes.

Who me? No, no. Really, I’m not staring at you three ladies engaging in a delightful [private] conversation. Um…oh no, really, I’m not wondering what you are buying from Noonday. Uhhhh…oh whatever. Just keep looking for your friend…that will look less awkward.

I felt more obviously out of place than any one else probably even noticed.

I wondered if anyone saw the pain and sadness hanging out deep in my soul? I wondered if anyone could see the resounding joy and excitement that is fighting to burst through?

I started to wonder if it is only the beautiful, the popular, the bold and the charismatic who who will get noticed tonight by…everyone.

Insecurity crept in uninvited with the words I keep shoving away. “Hey girl, no one’s noticing you.”

Finding God in Insecurity

Wait. Isn’t there a verse I should consider?  Something about renewing my mind?

“Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
– Romans 12:2

Yeah, that one.

Hmmm….renew. Those thoughts? Take them captive. Toss them over to the enemy where they belong. Refresh. Renew. Remember why you are here.Ahhh…I love it when he speaks to me and calms my unsteady heart with His precious love.

You are a daughter of the King. You are loved by me, Creator of all things. I am El Roi…the God who sees. I see you. I am the great I AM. You are here for MY glory. It is enough. More than enough. Go forth in my strength. Be a blessing, for my sake.

OK heart. Got it.

Fighting Past Awkwardness and Insecurity

I had a choice. I could just keep standing there in the open space, alone, or push pass potentially crippling fears and make myself known to anyone who stood next to me – even if they thought I was oddly forthright or annoyingly intrusive as I smiled and introduced myself.

Roll with it Jo. So, I did.  I was blessed in meeting several sweet ladies, including one who may join me for a local IF:Gathering.

Thank you Lord for courage. Thank you that they were gracious enough to engage in conversation with me.

Then my friend showed up. Phew.

Now – I was one, in a group of beautiful women. I enjoyed conversation throughout the evening. I had the chance to share some of my story and to hear others’ stories.

Insecurity Impacts Many of Us

As we talked, I noticed a couple of gals sitting alone. They didn’t look at each other, or speak to anyone. Their eyes seemed to reveal a sadness, a loneliness and a desire to be noticed too.

I wondered, do they feel lost in the crowd? Do they wish someone would talk to them? Do they feel awkward? Alone? What is their story?

Sadly, I didn’t find out. I wish I had.

This was a rare venture out of the house. I’ve struggled with symptoms of depression and great anxiety since returning from a very intense season of serving. I’ve also experienced major losses and painful circumstance in addition to great upheaval and challenges in our marriage, our children and our finances.

This night, I took a bold step to meet new people. It’s usually not an issue because I am often leading or hosting. This was different.

As I stood there awkward and alone, the depths of my pain and the amount of transition my soul is walking through sat waiting in my heart ready to gush forth in connection with other women, with my friends.

These two precious women who sat there with longing eyes, did they wish they could share their story too? Were they afraid to meet people?

In seeking His will, my heart was moved. I could not stay in the place of fear when there is work to be done for my King. I had to be bold and toss aside the enemy’s lies.

Choosing Authenticity in Awkwardness

Dear friends, as our hearts are stirred up to be moved by the Spirit for purposes far greater than us, let us move. May we not lose sight of the need that is all around us.

We all have a part to play in encouragement, relationship building, serving, and showing the love of Jesus. We all have something to offer. Ask God how you can move now, beyond fear, and reach out to others near you.

Be authentic. If you feel unnoticed yourself, ask God to show you what you can do and what steps you can take, knowing that He sees.

Authenticity comes when you take the inspiring words you read or hear and apply them in life as the Holy Spirit leads. 

Authenticity is revealed when you can do what God leads, wherever you are, with eyes focused on Him.

I know this. My God is a God who sees.

He saw me, and He saw the other women.

He sees my heart, and He knows the intensity it operates in.

He sees yours too. He knows your story. It matters.

If we are in the same room, and I don’t meet you first, will you introduce yourself to me?

This post is one of several written in the early years of healing post serving as foster parents. They include broken thinking, rambling thoughts, and a fight to survive as well as a desperate clinging to the hope only God can give. I pray God uses my story as an encouragement to those in the midst of the battle. You have God with you even now.

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