When this silly little blog of mine lead a friend to ask me to speak at her church’s women’s conference nearly 11 months ago, I decided to say yes because it was so far away it almost felt more like an idea than a plan. Well that day came and went this past weekend and sure enough, I spoke at my first woman’s conference on the subject of Embracing the Awkward.

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Of course my body also decided it was the perfect time to come down with bronchitis…

so when I was coughing like a chain smoker and barely had a voice just a few days before the event I wondered if this wasn’t a complete mistake. And not even because of the bronchitis – but because even if my physical voice did come back I wasn’t sure I had much of anything to say.

The last few months have been peculiar for me.

Do you ever go through seasons of life when all of the sudden you feel like you are completely different personality than you have ever been before?

It’s almost as if someone else’s mind has been implanted in your skull. Most of my life I’ve been the girl who loves hanging out in groups, being the center of attention and meeting new people…but for many weeks now that hasn’t been my desire at all.

To be honest, for the last few months I’ve caught myself avoiding eye contact with people so I don’t have to small talk, dreading being around friends who may expect my usual outgoing personality, and not even considering blogging because nothing seemed pressing enough to write about it. I just haven’t had the energy. And insecurity has been screaming in my head, telling me just how worthless and embarrassing it is when I open that dumb mouth of mine. Have you ever been there?

Most days lately the idea of using my voice has been intimidating to say the least.

I welcomed bronchitis, because the physical symptoms really just matched what was going on spiritually.

My body didn’t necessarily feel all that horrible, I was just tired and couldn’t use my voice without an embarrassing coughing fit. And lately, I haven’t been able to pinpoint anything insanely wrong spiritually, but I’ve been tired and using my voice has felt embarrassing for some reason.

Needless to say, speaking to 100 women wasn’t my idea of a great Saturday.

But God knew it would be.

As I began speaking to the women who gathered to hear what it meant to “Embrace the Awkward” I was reminded what embracing the awkward was really all about. It’s about going towards what is uncomfortable, not away from it. It’s about feeling the fear, and doing it anyways. It’s about choosing to walk towards the truth that our identity in Christ is untouched, even when our hearts don’t quite believe it.

It’s not usually fun. It’s not usually easy. And it’s rarely painless. But embracing the awkward is exactly what God calls us to.

And it was so much easier to talk about the concept when I was doing it myself.

Not only did the Lord miraculously allow my physical voice to get stronger as I spoke Saturday but all of the sudden I found the voice I’ve been missing for months before bronchitis. The voice that speaks confidently because she knows she is awkward and that’s okay. The voice that knows she is fully loved. Fully accepted. Fully beautiful to Him.

And today I find myself thankful. Thankful for a Father that calls us to the things we want to run away from. Thankful that He doesn’t wait for us to get to the other side of those dark alleys, but holds our hands through them. Thankful that He uses our weaknesses to show His strength. Thankful for the reminder that He is the only reason I have a voice at all, and my voice matters. My story matters. 

God is good. How awesome is it that I went to speak about the freedom embracing the awkward can bring and I left yesterday feeling more free than I have in months? Today at church, I was excited to talk to friends, introduce myself to someone new and even raise my hands in worship as I sang at the top of my lungs.

Because thank God that Saturday He gave me my voice back.

For the women who listed to my session, thank you for enduring through my awkward. Here are the slides I promised I would provide. Subscribe here for the workbook- The Secret to Embracing the Awkward. I’m praying for you this week, that you would begin the amazing, scary journey of walking towards your awkward.

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