If you are, or ever have been a teenager, you understand awkward. Even the word itself is:
awk·ward [awk-werd] adjective
- lacking social graces or manners: a simple, awkward frontiersman. Synonyms: gauche, unpolished, unrefined; blundering, oafish; ill-mannered, unmannerly, ill-bred
Whether it’s being physically clumsy or socially stymied or verbally impeded, we all have some awkward phases in our journey.
That’s probably why MTV’s Awkward is now in its fourth season and going strong, because so many people can relate to Jenna’s world of romance, angst, triumphs, failures, and well, awkwardness.
While this Soul Fuel is not intended to imply that this show is a great viewing choice—but it is obvious that many teens are watching it. And given that reality, you may find opportunities to talk about the show with friends, so let’s take a fly over the series at 30,000 feet, because there are some universal and critical in-depth themes that surface. Here’s how the creator of the show, Lauren Iungerich, explained them awhile back:
- Season One was about identity and an exploration of “Who am I?”
- Season Two was about “Who do I want to be with?”
- Season Three was about “Who do I want to be?”
While the show does a great job of bringing up these topics up and dramatizing their exploration, there aren’t any real and satisfying answers provided. In fact, Awkward’s answers to “Who am I?”, “Who do I want to be with?”, and “Who do I want to be?” are often unpolished, unrefined, blundering, and oafish. (Shocker, since it comes from MTV – right?)
Perhaps that’s because Awkward IS awkward – in the sense of the original meaning – “awk” – which meant “turned the wrong way,” and “ward” – which means “direction.”
In other words, Awkward is giving us answers to life that are turned in the wrong direction!
But I have discovered the right way, and it doesn’t come from MTV. This is from the Creator of life, and here is how He answers the critical questions:
“Who am I?”
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
“… For you are a chosen people. You are royal priests a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9).
“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
“Who do I want to be with?”
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light’” (Matthew 11:28-30).
“…I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself” (Jeremiah 31:3).
“I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
“Who do I want to be?”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns”(Philippians 1:6).
For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago (Ephesians 2:10).
These truths from God’s Word are the cure for awkwardness! They put us on the right path and in the right direction. And even though we may have our oafish moments, the trajectory of our lives will be towards meaning, purpose, and value, because all of life’s questions are answered by the One who created us and loved us so much that He sent His Son to die in our place.
So the next time you are feeling unpolished and unrefined, remember that you don’t have to go in the wrong direction…stay on course with THE Cause of Christ, and your focus will go from awkward to heavenward!
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
Everyone has felt awkward, especially because we oftentimes try to answer life’s big questions in the wrong way. This week, look for opportunities to turn awkward moments into heavenward conversations for the sake of THE Cause!
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Dear Father, You have given us all the answers we need to address the big questions in life and go the right direction. Help us to focus on these truths so we can be secure in our relationship with You, and share the gospel with others.
Read: Proverbs 3:5-6.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
Get: Reckless. Instead of being awkward, be reckless! God’s love for you is reckless. He loves you regardless of what you can give back to Him. Is your love for Him reckless?
In Reckless, Zane Black invites you to join him on the epic adventure of following Jesus to the point of no return. Because the greatest treasures in all of life are waiting to be found in following Him.
Discussion Guide for Leaders
Big Idea: Awkward is a show that reminds us that we all are going the wrong way and need God’s truths to answer life’s questions.
Key Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:17
- When have you felt awkward?
- Do you think the characters on Awkward are accurate portrayals of teens? Why or why not?
- How has God’s Word helped you answer the big questions of life?
- How can you apply this Soul Fuel to THE Cause?