This post is about being an awkward kid, something I have fully accepted, don't usually notice anymore and when I do, have begun to refer as being 'functionally awkward.' It's also about evangelism and mostly about plain old people interaction.
Today's been my really in my head day. I flew back Friday but spent all my time hanging out with my friend and his mom and then did a couple of support raising meetings and drove the few hours home, so today and yesterday were my be-the-introvert-in-the-cave and get-a-bunch-of-stuff-for-support-raising-done days. And so when I went to rent a movie and get some groceries I talked the minimal necessary to still have good manners and, as I said, pretty much stayed in my own head.
And then one of the people who worked at the grocery store, a guy who looked about my age came up to me and at first he asked me if he could bag my groceries (I only had three, all in one bag) and then came back much more directly and asked about my shirt. Now I was wearing a shirt I got my freshman year and it's actually got a quote from something I wrote on the front for some monologues our chapter put on. He was telling me he really liked it and it's about God and so I figure it's reasonable that he might have been a Christian, but I'll tell you what, my brain was somewhere else entirely and I could barely think of what to say. Just that it was from some monologues. Not, oh do you go to church around here? or some other less awkward way of asking, how do you feel about Jesus? On most days I would have asked the church question probably.
So then there was Saturday. I had just walked into the Barnes & Noble cafe to meet a friend and it was super busy so right as I headed for the last table left a little old lady sat down and how do you steal a table from an old lady? So as I was standing there figuring out what to do a man sitting near me who I swear sounded just like Luis Palau started explaining that there were places to sit upstairs and I thanked him and he told me to have a blessed day. And of course I got all giddy and wanted to sit down and have a conversation with him--to be fair, as I might have with anyone who'd had an accent like his or if he'd been reading We the Living or Life of Pi or something--but instead just sort of awkwardly meandered away. Once I was upstairs I said once I headed back down if he was still there I'd talk to him but of course he was gone.
Now, I wanted to write about how on the last night of our training in Madison, there was a commissioning ceremony and those of us going to overseas placements were prayed for and all that. When I was up there, the woman who was praying for me prayed that even though I love discipleship, that--well I don't know how to say except how she said, that she prayed the gift of evangelism over me. I love evangelism. Not the way I love discipleship, and it's certainly something that's grown on me, that I've grown into. I'll say hands down that it wasn't something I picked, it was something God picked for me and he doesn't seem to be letting me go of it. Not that I want to, but it keeps coming up like this and I really do believe that God's got something big with this planned and it'll be interesting to see what he does. Who knew?
To relate the two, I don't mean to say that striking up a conversation with someone else who appears to also be a Christian is strictly evangelism, although I will say that it's good even for Christians to hear good news. That's just something fun. It's like finding out you had another family member you didn't know about, generally. But the idea of being on my toes and ready to engage at any moment--what if the guy in the grocery store was someone who wasn't a Christian but liked talk of God being like a father (the quote on my shirt is something like this), had really related to that quote in Fight Club when Brad Pitt says "Our fathers were our models for God. If our fathers bailed, what does that tell you about God?"
I guess what I'm talking about is being able to ask good questions. I don't mean proselytizing or anything like that, I just mean good questions, good conversation. In the grocery store or at church or with a student in Romania. And as much as I wouldn't have guessed it, this really is something I want to grow into, to learn to do well.