The Devil’s Favorite Word

The Devil’s Favorite Word

How often do older generations say the word ‘awkward?’ Not that often, right? Okay, how often do Millenials say the word ‘awkward?’ All the time.

Why do we find more things in life ‘awkward?’

Maybe part of the explanation has to do with alienation and community breaking down. We live surrounded by lifeless stuff and live less and less in the context of nature and human beings. People may be in the background, but rarely do we dwell with others. As a result, we are used to a sterile way of living that lacks intimacy and vulnerability. We control our lives and are used to keeping things (people most of all) at a distance. We do whatever we can to keep life comfortable. We aren’t used to moments when the depth and heart of things crash into us, lift us out of our comfort zone and call us to see or be seen, to know or be known

We often escape these moments and dismiss them by saying, “This is awkward.”

But if we didn’t live so cut off from the natural, we might look around and realize that life is messy! Think about it – what in nature isn’t messy? What about human beings, really, isn’t messy? Why would we expect daily life to be any different? But devoid of dwelling with the natural (people included), we receive a poor education on what life (i.e. reality) is like.

HolidayMudPit

Doesn’t this sound like the devil at work? Look at this list of what our hypersensitivity to ‘awkward’ gives us:

  1. We live with the fear of seeing others for who they are and of being seen for who we are
  2. We have a slackened ability to take risks and be brave
  3. We slink back into an interiorly isolated way of living
  4. We have trouble seeing the way things really are

Fear, cowardice, isolation, illusion and blindness. In sum – hiding in the dark. Yep, sounds like him.

uppsala-sweden-psychology-study-erasing-fear-5

Perhaps the worst part of our fear of ‘awkward’ is that we run from opportunities to love. Such opportunities are rarely ever clean-cut, smooth and riskless. Movies brainwash us into thinking that that is how love happens. No, opportunities to love are messy. They call something out of us that lies behind the counter of our I’m-hunky-dory-just-going-through-my-day face.

These moments demand that we not hide in the dark. Those are the times the veil is pulled back and we are challenged to really be a person, not just some male or female ­­cog in a machine. Those are the times two souls touch – and we can feel it happening. These are the greatest moments in life! Here we can see just for a second “what is the breadth and length and height and depth… that surpasses knowledge” (Eph 3:18-19).

But now our generation calls those moments ‘awkward.’ Meticulously competent in many technologies, yet we are caged up with malnourished hearts, atrophied love and a general discomfort with ourselves. Why? Because we are scared. Afraid of ‘awkward,’ we don’t let ourselves become who we are meant to be!

If for no other reason, we shouldn’t let ‘awkward’ dictate our actions because it makes us run and hide.

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It’s time to revolt. It’s time to stop running and hiding. We need to break out of this spirit of the world. We serve a King; His Kingdom is love; and His mission is won through a vast majority of moments our era would call ‘awkward.’ So be it! Bring it on! We need to stop listening ­­to the enemy who tells us that this mission “is just too darn uncomfortable and risky, right?” Let yourselves be seen. Make yourself vulnerable, open to rejection and risking the uncomfortable. The King will never forget the courage you showed, the risks you took or the willingness to be a fool for Him.

A challenge: this week there will be a moment to love and bless someone that will require you to do something kind of messy, which could be described as potentially awkward. Don’t let ‘awkward’ win. Don’t run and hide. Live in the mess. Chose to love instead.

Besides, it’s really fun.

Joey McCoy

Joey McCoy

Joey McCoy is a medical student at the University of Michigan. He enjoys hot water, Josef Pieper, the sound of waves, and anything pertaining to Evangelization.
Joey McCoy

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14 thoughts on “The Devil’s Favorite Word

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  2. Pete Burak
    on said:

    Great stuff Joey! I have found myself using ‘awkward’ a lot recently, and it’s interesting the effect it has on my mindset. Life can be messy, but I agree, it sure is fun.

  3. Rafael Rios
    on said:

    There are exceptions to every rule; therefore, one must not make generalizations. Some of us have too much human interaction. Some us interact with nature often. Perhaps the author of this article must be referring to himself when he decided to write all these genetalizations.

    • Generalizations are fine to make because it shows the general way that things happen not how ALL things happen. Of course there are exceptions but in no way does that disqualify a generalization because it is assumed when making a generalization (not a blanket statement which is different and what you are probably assuming this is) that exceptions occur.

  4. A related thought is that we do not have a right to “take scandal”. When we take scandal we adopt a “holier than thou” position that effectively shuts off all communication. When we label something as awkward we are saying “I’d rather not deal with this” – which also shuts off communication. Jesus never did either of these things. He stayed engaged, no matter how awkward or scandalous the person or situation.

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  6. Joey, I caught this on aleteia and am glad it led me to your site! I agree with your thoughts on ‘awkward’…awkward is the new ‘uncool’…same dynamic, even more inhibiting probably.

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  12. Patricia
    on said:

    We need to look at one’s soul, not what they look like. It seems in this world, so much is taken for granted, a simple smile, a kind word. We are all to busy going from activity to another, racing around. Did you ever notice in scripture how our Dearest Lord always took his time with everyone he met, his gentleness his love just beamed through all his actions. We become UNCOMFORTABLE, so we flee, you word awkward, I like to use UNCOMFORTABLE, in many situations one can’t be comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. It’s okay to be uncomfortable. It will make us brave and much stronger in relationships in life, never being tempted to be perfect, with the strength of fortitude, we rely on good thoughts and past experiences that help us move on to good companionship with friends, we are allowed to make Mistakes and we can laugh at ourselves with others. Only our Lord is perfect, for us to attempt this is so exceptional.
    Worry is another “Devil” term, “Pray, Hope and Don’t worry” St. Padre Pio “Pat yourself on the back, no one else is going to do that for you” Only Our Lord!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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