The other day my social awkwardness flared up big time. I was at a large gathering and I felt like a social spaz. I felt like Pig Pen from the Peanuts cartoon, walking around with his own personal dust storm of awkwardness. I wondered whether people could actually see the insecurity and shyness that were swirling all around me.
I’m pretty sure they couldn’t. I can fake it pretty well.
Big social gatherings aren’t my thing. They often trigger this insecure place in my heart. I’ve gotten used to it, but that doesn’t mean I like it. I’m never happy when I step into a situation and all of a sudden feel like a 13-year-old again who is trying to figure out who she is.
I didn’t feel like my badass journalistic self in that moment. I didn’t feel like the usual me that could walk into any room and start up a conversation with a random stranger. I felt younger. It felt oddly reminiscent of the junior high dance where I turned down a dance offer from the hottest guy in 8th grade because of fear and social awkwardness. I wasn’t sure if I would dance right, speak right, or act right in that particular situation.
Same feeling. New venue.
But it doesn’t always happen. That’s the thing. Sometimes I’m fine. Sometimes I CAN step into a large gathering of people and engage with people in a real and heartfelt way. Kids. Adults. Whatever. Sometimes I’m ON my social game.
But I wasn’t on this day.
Thankfully, I’ve gotten gentler with myself in these spaces and places. I used to self-condemn in the times when I wasn’t on my A-game. I used to feel a lot of shame whenever I felt vulnerable. But my understanding has grown. I’m now in the place where I recognize the unresolved pockets of my heart that aren’t completely healed. I know that sometimes I dip unexpectedly into these places.
I did my best in that setting to function normally. I just focused my attention and energy on my husband and kids. It was a great outward distraction to the internal incongruence that I felt.
But a funny thing happened even in the midst of that internal chaos. God stepped in and tugged on my heart.
My attention was drawn to a man who was lingering on the fringes of the social hubbub. Another member of my socially-awkward tribe. A social outcast. And I could tell he wanted to interact and connect. I could tell he was looking for some light, some life, some love. Something. I felt the tug on my heart. I felt the Father nudge me and say, “This one.”
I knew what that meant. And in that moment when I had nothing left to give—when I felt completely vulnerable and socially inept, I did a crazy thing. I decided to step out of my awkward dust storm and step into the stream of God’s heart. I talked to the man. I purposefully initiated a conversation.
“Hey, how are you doing today?”
It wasn’t a conversation that would make the evening news. Trust me. It was simple. It wasn’t excellent by any worldly standard. But I felt God’s heart for this man in that moment—a huge rush of love and compassion flooded my weak, insecure vessel and I was COMPELLED to go talk to Him.
My spirit stepped in front of my awkward soul in that moment and commandeered my body to move.
It was beautiful. I walked away from that conversation feeling fully ALIVE in my spirit—just feeling amazed that I was able to partner with God in a moment where I felt like the last person He would use.
Later on, I asked Him about it:
“What was that all about?”
I was trying to process the day with all of its insecurity and vulnerability and somehow reconcile that one holy moment with the rest of my soul’s dissonance.
The Father’s answer took my breath away:
“That was your widow’s mite. You gave all that you had in that moment. For me. For what was on My heart.”
My entire being flooded with joy at His words. In that moment, shame and self-condemnation had to flee. In that moment, my spirit was refreshed in the Father’s love. I felt truly known and valued.
My Widow’s Mite.
He saw it. It mattered.
Yours does too.
In His Glorious Love,
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has” (Luke 21:3-4).