Book Review: This is Awkward

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“If I could be given one superpower, I would ask for the ability to make small talk, ” says Sammy Rhodes in his book to be released this week, This is Awkward.  With that one comment, I knew that Sammy and I would get along just fine!  I have long felt like I was the master of the awkward small talk.  I’m grateful to have found someone to commiserate with about that!  I’ve long followed @sammyrhodes on Twitter and have enjoyed his posts about ministry, Scripture, life with small kids, and the awkward things that come up in life.  I’m glad to see that he has channeled those one liners in to a book.  A book filled with both what he is writing…and a narrative on the side of what he is thinking.

This book provides the reader with a great opportunity to get up close and personal with themself about the things that need to be discussed.  Don’t miss out on the incredible grace and mercy offered to us through the gospel of Jesus Christ by living a life that is so focused on hiding who we really are while we spend all our time trying to be someone that God never intended for us to be.  Talk about awkward!  Who can keep that charade going?  Take down the curtain, throw open the doors, and be who God intended you to be.  And if people don’t like it…they can just go back to pretending to listen to headphones or pretending to talk on the phone.

I highlighted several things while reading…and laughing out loud.  I posted my highlights below.  I hope you will do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this book as well as one for your most awkward friend.

  • I genuinely believe that our awkwardness and awkward moments are invitations to know more deeply the grace of God. Awkwardness is an invitation to vulnerability, and vulnerability is where intimacy and connection is found.
  • What I mean is that there’s a gap between what you are and what you should be, a disconnect between the real you and the ideal you.  What awkward moments (and people) do is simply shine the spotlight on that gap, revealing the cracks in our humanity, no matter how shiny and cool  we may seem on the outside.
  • Awkwardness is always an invitation to admit the truth about who we really are.  And that makes us vulnerable, which is hard.  Will anyone really love me if they see all the places where I fall short?
  • The reason we can be vulnerable is that the God of the universe was first vulnerable for us.  Because he has secured our forgiveness—the once-and-for-all taking away of our shame—vulnerability goes from being a life-threatening act to a life-giving one.
  • “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32
  • If I could be given one superpower, I would ask for the ability to make small talk.
  • “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17
  • It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man whois actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Teddy Roosevelt, Citizenship in a Republic, Speech delivered at the SorbonneParis, France, April 23, 1910
  • The strength to fight for love is only found in a love so strong it fought for us.  The love of the cross that says nothing you’ve done is beyond forgiveness, nothing you’ve messed up is beyond repair.
  • The gospel that says, “I see your shame, and I still love you, and the way you can know I love you is that I’ve done something about it.”
  • The irony is that love is better than romance because real love costs, even demands, a commitment that romance never requires.
  • Friendship is awkward.  The best friends are the ones who can handle our awkward.
  • The courage to let others in is found in the arms of a God who has let us all the way in.  We are so far in that he calls us his sons and daughters.  We are so far in that we can never be out.  We are so far in that there is no need to RSVP to the housewarming party for the new heavens and new earth because the party won’t happen without us.
  • The reality is we all hide from each other, and as I mentioned earlier, we all want to be found.
  • The place that God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”  Frederick Buechner
  • The beautiful thing about the gospel is that it’s personality blind.  Maybe it’s better to say that it speaks to every personality.  It tells Type A people to come and find rest for their weary, workaholic souls.  It tells Type B people that there is a kingdom of grace and renewal worth working and giving their lives for.  It tells the strong to be weak, and the weak to be strong.  It tells the loud to listen, and the quiet to speak.
  • The thing that introverts and extroverts have in common isn’t that we all like the same things or do everything in the same way.  The thing we have in common is that we need each other.  If we didn’t, who would be there to talk, and who would be there to listen?
  • One of the dangers of living more online that you do in reality is that you take the people who love you the most for granted, while you pursue the love of people who don’t know you, much less love you, at least not the real you.
  • “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you.”  Luke 6:26
  • The good news is that Jesus doesn’t give side hugs.  He always invites me into the fullness of his embrace.  He’s never unsure of what to do with me.  Because he knows me, I don’t have to hide.  Because he died for me, I don’t have to cover.  Because he is the Good Shepherd, he knows what to do with lambs.  Because he is the Lamb of God, they are always safe in his arms.  Because he knew suffering, he knows how to comfort me.  Because his suffering had cosmic purpose, he knows what to do with my suffering.
  • “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.”  Nahum 1:7

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