About the Author

Holley Gerth is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, counselor, and life coach. Her newest release is The Powerful Purpose of Introverts: Why the World Needs You to Be You. She's also wife to Mark, Mom to Lovelle, and Nana to Eula and Clem.

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  1. And all God’s people say, “Amen!”

    Holley, I needed to read this today. I find myself comparing myself to others who have beautiful websites and great platforms, and my “dream” website/blog is still in my head! Thank you for reminding me to just love people like Jesus everyday.

    I’m so thankful for you, the (in)courage team and all the ladies who read and comment on the posts here each day!

    Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow!

    Joy in Jesus,
    Lara <

  2. Holley,
    I agree, there is nothing worse than walking into a room filled with people and knowing no one. I attended my first She Speaks conference with a friend because it was safe. We didn’t stick together like glue, but there was something in the safety of knowing that I could venture out and meet people, but there was at least one person who really knew me. If I was REALLY brave, I would not cheat and have that one “in flesh” friend, but I would know that even if no one in the room knew me, I still had One very special friend in Jesus, who knows me inside and out and still loves me. Let that be my confidence to keep stepping into the awkward. Every good friendship starts with awkward. Even coming to know Christ….I knew I needed Him, but boy did I have a lot of questions to get to know Him. I echo your thoughts on let’s pursue people one on one (albeit awkward), just like Jesus did. Great post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Good Morning Bev, How is your back? Praying you are better & hope one day we get to meet face to face!

      • Hi Frances. I’m doing okay….still pretty sore. I go to the spine doctor tomorrow to get test results. Thank you SO much for your prayers and for asking!! I know one day we’ll meet face to face in heaven, but a cup of coffee in person before that would be delightful!
        Have a good week!
        Bev xo

      • That is such a good idea, Holly! I’m sometimes brave enough to attend alone but then it is torture the whole time! If I know God wants me there, I’ll go. But I hate the awkward

  3. wow! thank you for sharing. i share the same exact anxiety and i don’t get it!?! when i speak at church, i may be a-little nervous for the first 5 minutes but then it goes away. im ok with making small talk w ppl i don’t know but i still always have this awkwaredness or quirky disposition about myself. writing on the otherhand, i have no qualms my thoughts flow like second nature. i never had a desire to preach but i love to do it when in called up-to do so. i accept the request with reluctance but when i sit down to hear from holy spirit to get my sermon, feels like GOD is conversating with me. god may not-give it to me all at once but piece by piece he does so when the time comes to speak i feel equipped and confident that i can do all things thru Christ Jesus who strengthens me. i can fully relate to going to the bathroom several times or that feeling in pit of your stomach while making small talk.lol I refer to myself as quirky weird-or awkward all the time and im ok with it because that is how GOD made us awkward folk. the article confirmed me to hone my awkwardness:) GOD bless you!

  4. Oh, sista, thank you for putting this message on paper, it is the cry of my heart, this is The Way, The Truth, The Life in us, CHRIST IN US, THE HOPE OF GLORY TODAY, THIS DAY! GOD BLESS U! Bonnie

  5. Thank you. I’ve had a season of awkward that just won’t seem to end. Thank you for writing what I couldn’t even put to vocabulary. God, please give me the courage to keep showing up and being awkward.

  6. Holley, thank you for putting these thoughts into words. I love the title to summarize everything it’s such a great reminder to continue to take risks even if it feels so incredibly awkward along the way. I went to my first writing conference not knowing another soul. I am so uncomfortable in large crowds to begin with, and this risk at times seemed very overwhelming. And then I met a woman who had to do this over and over again as she and her husband moved frequently. I learned that connecting in a large crowd is a skill that takes an all-out risk sometimes…and yet the alternative, while it feels safer, is actually the lonelier, scarier place to be in the long run.

    Thank you for the reminder of just how important it is to connect with people one on one in the mess of life like Jesus did!

  7. Holley, Thankyou for your heart and soul-baring words. I constantly strive to be comfortable in my own skin, and at almost 57, feel that I accept my own awkwardness more than I ever did before. But oh, I have a long way to go.
    I love Nashville too, and Juliette’s crazy mistakes and her falls and rises and her pain. That show has some sound advice under all the sin! Will think of you and how much I love and enjoy your words, when I watch it, now

  8. I really appreciate your words, thank-you Holley.
    Have a blessed day all,
    Penny

  9. Oh my goodness this was such a blessing to my soul!!! Thank you Holley for highlighting the beauty and need for AKWARD! I am an expert in this field and don’t think I could change if I tried.

    Thank you for being you and for encouraging the rest of us to do the same. You are wonderful.

    Becky

  10. My favorite line is “awkward is the price of admission for authentic connection.” Thanks for encouraging us to keep stepping into the awkward instead of waiting for the other person to move first! Also, the prayer of Pooh, “Oh, help!” has become one of my favorite tools in such situations – might as well pray during one of those frequent trips to the bathroom!! Thanks for keeping it real in your writing about authenticity!

  11. This was beautifully written! Thanks for sharing! As an introvert, I find myself feeling awkward/out of place in a lot of social situations but I’m learning, just like you, to embrace the awkwardness and allow God to work even through my mess.

  12. Holley,

    When I was younger I was super shy. You would not catch me at parties not knowing anyone much less in front of people doing solos or speaking. I was the proverbial wall flower. Even at Bible studies I wouldn’t say much. Problem I was born with two punctured ear drums. Fast forward many years & a few surgeries later & both ears are closed up. Now I brave the awkward. I get up in front of church & do sign language to music. Sure I still get nervous some, but I know it enhances people’s worship. Awkward is the price of admission for authentic connection. I force myself to say hello to “strangers”. You never know how it makes them feel. I am always walking up to someone new at church or at women’s meetings & giving them a friendly smile & hug to let them know they are loved. God made us for connection-real face to face connection. Not the kind you get behind a computer screen. He expect us to love others as He has loved us.

    Blessings 🙂

    • Hi Beth,

      Having a hearing loss puts everything into awkwardness, but we have to make the best of it even if the hearing world does not accept us. I am deaf, since birth, and have felt so awkward to be in social situations due to being fearful that I will misinterpret or misunderstand. Am good with no more than 3/4 people to stay focused. BRAVO on knowing signing!

      Was wondering if you know any deaf bloggers (believers) out there because I would be interested to know?

      Thank you and keep up the Bravery of being different!

      Cary

      • Oh Cary have you ever though that the very first voice you will here is God’s voicehow wonderful!

  13. I think we can all resonate with your words Holly well I can. Being unsure in a large or small gathering of not knowing anyone and pretending to check our phone to show we are busy connecting with another when we are alone is something I would do! I’ve been watching alot of Joyce Meyer lately and this point comes through – God already knows us before we even set foot on earth, he knows our thoughts, our misdeeds and he loves us knowing all of this as we are. He loves us despite all of this because of who he is. We really should not fear anything as we put ourselves out there in the awkward moments as He is with us, He who is faithful. I’m trusting in Him this morning as I enter those awkward moments as I try to intentionally be a blessing to those that cross my path. God is awesome and I am so glad He is in my corner! Great honest post x

  14. Holley, thank you for sharing your heart and being so transparent. I think this is something many of us struggle with, myself included. So I truly appreciate your honesty and openness. ❤️

  15. Thank you for this Holley.
    I’m writing my book chapter about being vulnerable when life falls apart and I’m going to add this quote to my book! It’s so true. Without vulnerability (which seems to never travel alone, but always with its BFF, awkward) we miss so much of the beauty and healing in life’s really challenging times.
    You’re not alone. I’m a pastor’s wife, speaker, and writer. I’d rather speak to hundreds of people than wade through the first stages of awkward. In fact, I’m currently hiding from a church group at our house right now!! So, back to being awkward for me – bye!

  16. “He could have made 20,000 people love Him but instead He pursued hearts one by one. He still does.”

    Truth. I am grateful He pursued, overtook, and transformed my heart. I pray to honor His love by serving one by one.

  17. Growing up, I lived under this veneer of “perfect”. It was how I was raised and all I knew! And I will tell you something.. I was GOOD at it!! However I lived in constant fear of being “found out”, AND it kept me from really connecting. At 40 years of age, God is deconstructing me and WOW is it awkward!! lol It’s like he popped the cap off of the awkward fear bin in my heart and I am walking around with all my awkward hanging out… (excuse me ma’am…your awkward is showing…) In the midst of this season of deconstruction and being painfully aware of not being able to stuff the awkward back down (because we all know that when God says it’s time…it’s time and there ain’t nothing we can do to back-peddle in it), the most amazing and beautiful thing has come about. The ONE thing I ALWAYS wanted but could never attain…. authentic relationships. Real, raw, solid, lasting, amazing friendships. I was a white washed tomb, beautiful and perfect on the outside, but full of death and rot on the inside. Today, I am far less than perfect on the outside (according to societal standards), but I am SEEN for who I REALLY was created to be. People can connect with me…with my awkward, and find solace for living their authentic awkward best. I told God many years ago that I never ever wanted to be someone that others felt they could not come to and be warmly received and understood. It was a very real desire of my heart…. and He answered it…awkward and all. 😉

  18. Holly, this is one of my favorite posts I’ve read of yours! Perhaps it’s because it resonates so deeply. I absolutely love speaking, presenting and blogging, but it’s because I know how to make people enjoy the experience. But when it comes to face-to-face connecting, that awkwardness always tries to take center stage and keeps me from being the authentic person I want to be. It’s very unsettling and such a contrast, which is always a reminder that my spirit needs to be in sync with the Holy Spirit so His whispers of safety, acceptance, and belonging can carry me where my awkward can’t go. Hugs from one awkward girl to another:)

  19. I loved that last sentence!!! God could have made us love Him but He chose to pursue us!!!!! So amazing that He cares so much about us!
    For some reason, this really touched me.
    Thanks,
    Kat

  20. You’re words are so beautiful and powerfully encouraging! This helped me so much by putting into perspective why I feel so akward. I love how you explained it’s the admission price we pay. And how it’s costs our pride and image of us looking “perfect”. God bless you girl! I just love your transparency and authenticity.

  21. If we all feel this way, why don’t we all meet up sometime at the same event and then find each other and have a really good, (un)awkward time?! I’m the worst about making “friends” at these things. I know the bathroom only too well. Holly, will you be my best friend?

  22. Oh goodness Holley, I know about awkward. It’s the story of my life. Bless you for your honesty about it.
    Btw, I m the one who snorts like a pig when I laugh. 😉

  23. I’m falling in love with awkward too. Thank you for this! As one of my delightfully awkward friends likes to say “Own that awkward!”

  24. Holley, yes! I want to be a “Here I am. There you are. Let’s figure out how to love each other” girl too. I wish we lived close enough to be awkward together. So grateful for your voice and example. xx

  25. What we forget is everyone is the same, what about spilling something on you or being tongue tied, I tend to repeat myself and I am never at a loss for words but it’s like I need validation, forget it God approves. We don’t have anything to prove, Let’s enjoy each others gifts and talents and just love like Christ.

  26. Thank you for this! As a teacher, I am looking forward to the start of the school year with excitement and a whole lot of nerves. This reminds me that God doesn’t expect me to be the perfect teacher and that He will give me strength to get through any first day awkwardness jitters.

  27. Isn’t it crazy that the insecure middle school girl still lurks inside many of us! Thank you, Holley, for your confession that awkward moments in social gatherings plague you, too. In the next large-group setting where I don’t know a soul, my game plan will be to look for another woman who’s alone, jump into the icy waters of risk, and introduce myself. Chances are she has an insecure middle school girl lurking inside too. We just might go home praising God for the delight of a new friendship!

  28. You are a blessing. Thank you for being the voice that whispers God’s words over and over again. You are listening to Him. And it’s like He speaks to you just for me. It’s incredible how that happens. A lot.

    Thank you for being the real, work in progress, you. You strengthen me.

    Go you!!

  29. Dear Holly, thank you, thank you.
    I had an hour hydrotherapy this morning with 10 ladies I did not know. I introduced myself like I was fine but under the water I was paddling like a duck. I’m doing this for 8 – 10 weeks. I know how you feel. These ladies have been doing this for years. I pray I improve each week.
    Thank you again.
    Coral
    I have never left a comment before.

  30. So much truth Holley!! It’s hard to be in those awkward and vulnerable places and I admit I’ve been known to avoid them at all costs!! It was only through some hard times that I realized I crave the authentic, gritty relationships in my life. The ones where I’m pushed and challenged and loved for exactly the person I am. I still dislike the awkward, but I’m going to try to embrace it. Thanks for sharing!

  31. My goodness. The raw truth you put into faith-inspiring words is the same for every gal. We all just want someone to say Hi to us.

  32. Love this so much friend!! Snorts, spills, walking into the wrong gender locker room. I love how comfortable “awkward” is with you. xoxo

  33. Thank you so much for this encouragement. I so appreciate your blogs and magazine articles, and to find out that the person I’ve admired for speaking beautiful truths….even she has struggles in connection and conversation…was just a swoosh of peace in my heart (that it’s ok that I feel nervous or say the wrong thing, that God wants us to be out there trying to show love and encourage others, and just to expect it’s normal that it might not come easy and not to give up). I print the picture on the top of the blog for my bulletin board when it’s something I want to remind myself of, and this is definitely one :). Thank you.

  34. Thank you! And based on all the responses, there’s a whole lot of awkward among us! I just returned from a speaking/writing conference where I went into the event feeling like “I’m such a fraud; I don’t belong here!” I went alone, not really knowing anyone, although I had been to the conference before and recognized many of the faculty/presenters. I did mingle, and even connected with a few on a deeper level, but left still feeling like I was the really quirky, weird one and yes, awkward! But, you’re right. It’s so much easier to love the unknown 20,000 fans than the flesh and blood person across the table. God calls us to love our neighbor (not our town or our community, or even the world. What???!!) It’s hard to love our neighbor, and sometimes that neighbor is our own self. Can we be ok with our own awkwardness? Confessing any part of our awkwardness that is sin, pride, anger, etc, and rejoicing gratefully in the part that is who God made us to be.

    • Thank you Arloa!!! Your comment spoke right to me! The biggest awkwardness for me is being ok with me! And my neighbor being myself … that was powerful, thank you!

  35. Thank you so much Holley! There have been many times when I felt as though I lived in that awkward space.
    I’m sure that awkwardness of mine will show up again but if or when it does, I hope to remember you’ve been there too.

    Thank you for being as real as you are!

  36. Holley,
    Amazing article as always! I love reading your writings and can’t wait to open my emails when they are delivered! When I read your writings I’m always reminded I’m not alone. I am an extrovert and an introvert, it depends on the event I am at. What I think of when I think of extrovert/introvert is fearful/not fearful. I work (not as a job but a service) amongst people with addiction and mental health. I can speak in front of hundreds or one on one. The issue arises with the one on one sometimes. Intimacy makes me uncomfortable sometimes, even intimacy with the Lord. I remember being at a baby shower for a close friend, some people I knew for a long time some people I didn’t. Awkward was an understatement! It was fear and trembling, and the bathroom, I was there. I remember getting dressed for the shower and the dress I brought to wear I couldn’t wear so I was left to wear a nice pair of jeans … ouch. The girls I was with were in their polka dot dresses, I LOVE polka dots, looking adorable and here I was in jeans. Ok … I get to the shower and there are other people in jeans, whew. Sitting at the table I was assigned to with women I knew, good thing? Not really. What I realized is that I felt like an alien, different, very different and I wasn’t liking it. I look down at my jacket I was wearing, and oh no one of the bottoms was falling off! No Lord please, jeans and now a bottom falling off. Then this women came in to drop the cake off, in jeans who looked adorable. The mom of the women whose shower it was said, “are you staying with us?” And she said, “in jeans, no!” I was devastated. Went to the bathroom and prayed, “Lord, I know this is not about my clothes, I know you are breaking down my walls of fear, I need You!” When I walked out and went to sit back at my table the mom asked me to come say the prayer for the meal! Me! Wow! She knew my walk with the Lord and being a pastors wife. My awkwardness? The Lord breaking down the walls so He can shine through me more and the enemy trying to stop it! I was out of town for this shower and the whole weekend was like this. One thing after another. One wall being broken down after another. Wish I could write more because the Lord did SO much for me and through me in this trip, and maybe some day I’ll be able to learn how to post or publish my writing!
    You are always an inspiration Holley! I pray the Lord continue to strengthen you with Resurrection Power and He guards your heart.