Meeting new people. Does that idea bring anxiety into your chest? Or a brilliant burst of excitement?
There was a time (not so long ago) when our boys were thoroughly entertained by how frequently I would bring up my deep, passionate dislike of mornings in conversations with people I was getting to know. I thought I was simply providing context to funny stories, and I couldn’t help that my stories all shared a common thread. Got me to thinking…
Why do we bring up our “faults” in new relationships and apologize?
Many precious folk through the years have mentioned to me that they are shy or socially awkward early on – apologizing for their mannerisms. I’ve done it – the apologies have changed, but still continue. Perhaps experience has taught us to apologize in advance, hoping to avoid conflict or misunderstanding.
What do you say when you meet someone? During the first conversation? The second?
There is something in this habit of pointing out our own shortcomings that breaks my heart.
Most of us are socially awkward in some way.
Sure, some people are naturally really good at interacting with others, while some have learned some tools to help them look less awkward. Some of us have no consistency and our social mannerisms depend on the day, how much energy we have, and what tasks we need to accomplish. Me? I can socially work a room fabulously one day and dive-bomb like a hawk the next.
Recently I found myself trying so hard to make a new friend, but I just could not for the life of me ask the right questions to get the conversation going. I was digging a deep hole. When I finally walked away, I had to remind myself that it was ok. I tried and in the end, she found others to have better conversations with. It wasn’t the end of the world.
What if there was no need to point out our faults anymore?
Since we are all imperfect, do we need to explain the specific ways we are imperfect? Is this our way of trying to weed our people who are unsafe from those who will love us as we are? I wonder if this a litmus test of fear versus confidence in God’s grace working itself out in our community.
What if we relied on the grace of God more in each of our relationships?
Fear sabotages relationships. Not cool, Fear. Not cool. What if we started to rely on grace showing up through us to the other person, and rely on grace showing up toward us?
What if we approached each new conversation – each new potential relationship – clinging to the Good News that without Jesus we are ALL messed-up, no-goods. That it is only because of Jesus and through The Father’s grace that we have anything good to share with each other.
Although, maybe apologizing in advance is simply giving grace the opportunity to shine even brighter.
Father God, thank You for grace in relationships. Cause faith to shine brightly through us in love toward one another. Help us become more aware of how we connect with others, not focusing on our faults but focusing on glorifying Your through our relationships. Show us how we can spur one another onto the good works that You have called us to do. In Jesus’ name.