Awkward conversations change lives
Let me tell you about a couple of the most awkward conversations I’ve ever had.
See there was this girl. She was cute, and godly…and also cute. I had a crush on her for about a year and a half.
One Saturday morning I played the best round of golf I’ve ever played, and therefore decided it was finally the day that I was going to ask Jennifer out. I built up my courage and called.
I didn’t go for much small talk, since I’d been waiting for nearly two years to have this conversation.
“Hello Jennifer, this is Brian. I wanted to know what you’re doing tonight.”
“My roommates were inviting some friends over and I was going to hang out with them,” she replied.
Man, all that time and I don’t get a yes, or no, just an “already got plans.”
Deciding to go all in, I said, “Well, I was planning on asking you on a date, and I wanted to know, if you weren’t busy, would you have gone with me?”
And then, she dropped one of the greatest lines ever, “Well, they’re not my friends!”
We set up a time for later that evening.
I took her to the nicest restaurant in Oklahoma…Olive Garden.
A few weeks later I wanted to “DTR” (define the relationship). I hadn’t really done this before, and it got awkward fast.
I told her, “I see things in you I would want in a wife some day and I like you a lot and I want to go steady.”
I’m not exactly sure what I really said, but I know I both alluded to marriage and used the word “steady.”
Marriage was “too real” and I don’t know where “steady” came from, I’m not that old.
Anyway I ended by asking, “How do you feel?”
To this day, I have no idea why I used that phrase. I really set myself up for what was coming though.
She looked at me and said, “I feel like I’m about to throw up,” which was confusing because I thought things were going well.
She clarified, “I just realized how serious this was.”
I’m not exactly sure how, but I got a girlfriend that day!
Maybe the second most awkward conversation came a year and a half later.
We went to the same classy restaurant. I had a small box I was trying to hide in my pocket, which worked because this was before the days of skinny jeans, when baggy pants were cool.
I had her read a 30-page story of our relationship that I had written.
As we got up, I got down on one knee and as nervous as I was, awkwardly asked her to marry me.
She paused. I found out later she was asking God for wisdom, and basically prayed, “I’m going to say ‘yes’ but if that’s not what you want, stop this.”
Super godly, but it made for the longest and most awkward 15 seconds of my life. She eventually said, “Yes!”
Awkward conversations change lives
Of course those awkward conversations changed my life for the better, but they also impacted countless others.
Those awkward conversations led to a beautiful union that has expanded my ministry more than I ever could have done on my own.
We traveled the U.S. for a season, challenging college students to give their lives to the Great Commission.
This current season, we’ve planted in Southern California and have continued to challenge college students here to live on mission for Christ.
Over the course of our marriage, we’ve had at least a dozen people live with us.
We’ve helped new believers learn to follow Jesus and more mature believers learn to make disciples.
God blessed us with a daughter in 2010 and two boys we adopted in 2015.
The domino effect of a couple awkward conversations is virtually impossible to measure.
I remember going through a study called “Share Jesus Without Fear” and reading a book called Witnessing Without Fear.
Those resources helped a lot in the “witnessing and sharing” categories, but almost twenty years later they still haven’t made a dent in the “without fear” part.
I really need someone to write a book called Sharing Jesus While Peeing Your Pants.
I’m not a gifted evangelist, but I love sharing the gospel. I’m introverted, but I love people.
When I think about having another gospel conversation, I still get scared and nervous. I’m a little smoother, but there’s always an awkward moment…always.
When I run from those moments, when I seek out easier, comfortable conversations, the impact is dramatically smaller, and typically non-existent.
When I’m nervous about sharing the gospel, what motivates me is thinking about how awkward conversations have changed my life.
Then I think about how awkward conversations have changed other people’s lives.
I think about the former students who began following Jesus after I started an awkward conversation about who Christ is.
I think about how it has changed their children’s lives and the lives of others they disciple.
And I take a deep breath, and awkwardly ask if I can share something that means a lot to me, knowing that God can use one awkward conversation to eternally change a life.
What scares you about sharing the gospel?
Can you remember any “awkward conversations” you’ve had about spiritual things?
How can knowing the power of a conversation motivate you to share the gospel?