I’m intimidated by beautiful people. I don’t just mean attractive women—I’m also terrified of Adonis-like, muscular dudes.
When I was a college pastor, a couple at our church really needed help, both socially and spiritually. They were engaged, but had suffered several setbacks in their respective families. I knew I needed to help them—to pray with them, to offer guidance, to be available for counsel and support—but it took every ounce of discipline and determination I had to actually make myself available to them.
Because they were gorgeous.
The guy made Brad Pitt look like Rick Moranis, and I’m sure Kate Upton had pictures of this gal posted to her dorm room walls.
That was the first time I came face-to-face with my own insecurities about physicality, sexuality, and the demands placed upon me by my position as a minister of the gospel.
But it wasn’t the last.
Over the years I’ve come to recognize there are all kinds of people that intimidate me—wealthy people, hyper-intelligent people, close-talkers, Texans…the list goes on. In order to faithfully fulfill my calling before God, I’ve had to learn a few tips and tricks about how to deal with the people who need God’s help, regardless of my comfort.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
First, be bold. People are people, and every person I know carries insecurities of some variety or another. If you lead with your insecurities (acting bashful, avoiding eye contact), then you can’t help them with theirs. People respond well to confidence. It’s attractive. It makes them feel like you’re someone who can be trusted and with whom they’re safe. And, of course, the real reason you can be bold is that other people do not determine your worth. You have been made by God to be like God, and as his emissary in this situation you’ve got the backing of heaven.
Second, get them talking. The surest way to help people feel at ease is to ask them questions about themselves. People love to talk about their dreams and aspirations, and part of shadowing God means we act like dream shepherds to the people God brings us. When you listen to others’ hopes, you begin to realize you have resources at your disposal that may, in fact, bless them and take them closer both to God and to their goals.
Third, introduce them to someone you know well. This is the simplest way to get your own footing in the conversation, since you already know where you stand with your friend and can trust yourself not to be undone by your own awkwardness. It serves the added benefit of making sure the new person now has twice as much help and access to seeing their desires fulfilled as before.
Fourth, consider this experience as preparation for God’s future. In my line of work I’ve had to get over my fears fast, since I know I’m going to be meeting lots more people who are lots more intimidating in the future. Thinking this way helps me see the current uncomfortable conversation as training. I tell myself: This is good. You’re scared now, but you’re also practicing controlling your reactions while you’re scared. You’re practicing how to avoid doing anything stupid while scared. You’re practicing offering help and cooperating with God while scared.
When you do what God requires of you, regardless of how terrified you really are, that’s bravery.
You cannot be brave if you’re never afraid.
So talk to hot chicks. Chum around with rich guys. Play golf with Daddy Warbucks and Ginger Moneypenny. And every time you do, know you’re probably terrifying them way more than they are terrifying you.
After all, what could be scarier than a Christian who’s unashamed?