The Secret to Disarming Awkwardness




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Carl Thomas

Pastor | Live Free Founder | Lover of Jesus, Philly sports, fitness, tattoos, sarcasm, and craft beers.

When I see conversations in the Live Free Community about masturbation, it’s encouraging.

I know. That may sound odd. But witnessing that type of transparency and honesty among a group of men is pretty cool.

Let’s be real, tho. One of the main reasons these discussions are so good is because guys feel free to share in our community without shame and without the whole awkwardness thing.

Cause the truth is this… talking about touching your penis to another person can really get awkward.

But why?

And how do we go about making it, so these honest conversations aren’t awkward and happen far more often?

Well, maybe it’s because I’m from New Jersey, but most of the time I think we make things wayyyy too difficult when the answer is usually pretty simple.

Let me explain…

A few years ago the church we were attending launched a series of “trainings” around leading a small group. A couple were in person and a couple were via video. These “training sessions” were over an hour long and to be honest made me want to pull my teeth out.


Because most of them were focused on how to build relationships inside the group and (as the small groups pastor at the time put it) how to make friends.

Yes, you read that right.


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Anyway, I did make one of the in-person trainings because I do believe in supporting one’s leaders and the small groups pastor came up to me beforehand and said,

“Hey Carl, you seem to do a great job making new people feel welcomed to your group. Would you be willing to share how you make that happen today?”

I kinda laughed and said, “Sure, but it’s not going to be a long share because it’s not that hard.”

He was excited, thanked me, and walked away.

About 30 minutes into the meeting the pastor announced that I was going to share my advice on how to make people feel welcome and build relationships in our groups. I think he was a bit disappointed when I got up and said…

“The secret is simple… Just be normal.”

Then I sat down.

Why do I share this story with you?

Because it’s the same thing with how to tackle topics like sex, masturbation and the like without all the awkwardness…”Just be normal.”

In other words, these things get awkward because we make them awkward.

If we just approached this stuff like a normal part of life (NEWS FLASH: IT IS) then the awkwardness would leave the room.

Hey, I get that it may feel uncomfortable talking about how you struggle with masturbation and the like, but what you really are talking about is your desire to get better and healthier.

The desire to improve our life is something that we should all champion and so when difficult topics come up don’t get weird about it.

Just be normal.

Like it or not…

Brokenness is a normal part of life.
Struggles are a normal part of life.
Challenges are a normal part of life.

And talking about this stuff, so we can all move forward and have success SHOULD BE a normal part of life too.

I encourage you to not run from these conversations. Rather engage them, so we can create places and spaces where people can feel free to share and seek help, just like we are doing inside the Live Free Community.

Deny that awkwardness, and remember… Just be normal.

And, if you are a man, woman, teen, or church leader who struggles with talking about these topics or sharing your story and struggles, this weekend we invite you to join us for our Shameless online workshop experience.

Shameless is an interactive online experience that will challenge and inspire you, leaving you better prepared to handle these sensitive discussions with your friends, churches, spouses, and kids.

For more information about this event or to register yourself and/or your group visit www.shamelessevent.com.

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