[Risks No. 186-201] While out loving others one day, a good friend of mine coined the phrase “awkward awesome,” as a description for the experience of loving strangers. He is right. There are typically 3 ways any attempt to love/encourage/heal/prophesy-over someone goes:
1. Starts Awesome, stays Awesome.
2. Starts Awkward, turns Awesome.
3. Starts Awkward, stays Awkward.
Rarely, if ever, does an encounter start awesome and then turn awkward.
I recently traveled up to the Northeast for several speaking engagements. All-in-all, I had an absolutely fantastic time. The challenge, however, was that I was graced with many opportunities to risk. I will highlight them in a couple of posts.
Northeast Risks (Part One):
No. 1 – Right as I walked into Nashville’s airport I noticed a man in a wheelchair. I asked if he was in pain, turns out he wasn’t and was just resting. I blessed him and headed for security.
No. 2 – While in line for security, God high-lighted one of the TSA workers. I approached the man and gave him a quick, encouraging word. At first he had no clue what I was about to say, then after I said it, he warmed up like a light-bulb. Awkward turned smiling thank you.
No. 3 & 4 – Demitrius & Mike were standing around waiting for a shoe-shine customer. My Vans don’t make for very clean shining. God gave me encouraging words for each and I was able to hold hands and pray with them. I missed a word with them about back/shoulder pain.
No. 5 – Michael had a huge brace on his right knee. I asked him what had happened. Rugby accident resulting in 6 surgeries. Offered to pray and he agreed. He wasn’t in pain but seemed surprisingly grateful that I would offer to pray.
No. 6 – Was on the phone when I walked past a smiling woman out front of a 15-minute massage spot. Walked by and whispered, “Your smile is a blessing.” Her smile widened.
No. 7 – Milly was one of my airline stewardesses. I gave her a word about joy and asked about her left shoulder/arm/ Right on the joy, wrong on the shoulder/arm. Prayed over her.
No. 8 – Scott was my neighbor on flight # 1. I felt God gave me a word about his work and how they perceive him. Felt he was facing some inner-office conflicts that God wanted to set straight. Felt like I should ask about his lower back but couldn’t bring myself to do so.
No. 9 – Shawn & Lauren were my neighbors on flight # 2. I shared encouraging identity words with both and was able to talk extensively about what God has called me to. Prayed with both before we landed. #AwkwardAwesome
No. 10 – Lauren was working at the pizza shop my friend James took us to. God gave me insight into her about being a dreamer, and having a ton of compassion for others – specifically that I saw her called into nursing. She stepped back and shared how she’s been wondering if she should go into nursing! Prayed over her back. Missed a word about her knee.
No. 11 & 12 – Cara and her friend worked at Starbucks. I saw her friend as a Team Player and asked if either had back pain. Cara did. I prayed for her and she noticed no change. Instead of praying again, I allowed fear to rule. Forgive me, Abba.
No. 13 – Asked a check-out man about his knee or back. Missed both.
No. 14 – Noticed a lady with a large neck-brace on outside of Sbucks. Prayed for her with no obvious immediate change. Encouraged her and went along our way.
Though not necessarily risks with strangers, I did take quite a few word of knowledge risks while speaking on Friday night. It was pure grace as I had missed a bunch of words during the day. God gave me several very specific words that I never could have guessed. One was for a boy with a brain tumor on his brain stem. More about this later. A young man and two teenage girls gave their hearts to Jesus. Praise God!
No. 15 – Stopped at the gas station after speaking. Struck up a conversation with the Indian man working a late night. He wasn’t interested in us praying for him or discussing Jesus with him. It’s OK, we prayed for him once we got back into the car. Holy Spirit: ambush this man, please!
Regardless of whether it’s awkward, awesome, both, or neither – it’s not about me (or you), it’s all about love and learning to love others despite the odds of failure, rejection, etc.