a few years ago, one of the kids from my youth group, shane, asked me to speak at a Bible study that met at his house. the group was comprised of the entire varsity football team.
they would come straight from practice to shane’s house, and his mom would feed the entire team, and then they would assemble in the basement for a Bible study.
i was honored that shane asked me to speak, but also, i was incredibly intimidated.
for some reason, the experience made me regress to my high school self, and how i desperately wanted to avoid eye contact with anyone from the football team so they would leave me alone.
the guys on the team at my high school were jerks.
i wasn’t bullied. they didn’t harass me. but it was because i knew to avoid as much contact as possible.
so the thought of hanging out with a bunch of football players was overwhelming.
and i timidly, reluctantly led the group.
but the reality is that the guys in the room were very accepting of the adult me sitting in the room. in fact, if anything, my insecurity brought discomfort.
i didn’t feel like i belonged there, when the reality was i did.
the thing is that most of the time i’m genuinely surprised when people like me.
like taylor swift at an awards show surprised.
it gets me every single time.
i think that once people get to know me, they won’t like me as much.
i’m sort of a grouch. i’m critical. my words can be sharp.
i don’t like to stay up late.
i’m not very broad in my interests.
there are just some subjects that i couldn’t care less talking about.
i genuinely believe that most people don’t want to be around me.
so when someone does, it surprises me.
i don’t get people who want to get to know me.
i don’t get why some people just want to be my friend.
or why they would think highly of me.
i sort of believe that everyone has an expiration date.
you’ll only be able to tolerate me for so long.
i know. it’s sort of silly for a grown man to feel this way.
i’m even annoyed with myself as i write these words.
it feels mopey, weak. a little whiny.
will i ever get to a point when i’m not surprised? that it just feels natural?
or will this always be a first reaction that i will have to choose to get over?
it just seems so hard for me to believe that people actually want to know what’s going on in my life.
that they want to know what i think.
that they want to be around me.
and despite how hard they try to tell me that, those words just don’t seem to seep in.
and those actions seem to go unnoticed.
i guess some would call it humility.
others might think I’m aloof.
but maybe that night at the high school football bible study at Shane’s house is more indicative of the truth—that the discomfort has more to do with me and how I see things and less about what is going around me.
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