Be About Others
I’ve been talking with you about ministering…I mean, really making a plan to beintentional to lead your family in
- being about others
- seeing needs around you
- meeting needs as the Holy Spirit prompts your heart
- expecting His ideas/His creativity
Expecting to Hear from God. Immediately Trusting that Still Small Voice. Obeying.
So, I’m hoping you’ve done some serious pondering about ways in which your family can minister intentionally, but today I’m addressing your involvement in your community. Right. Where. You. Live.
Take a Stroll.
Through your neighborhood, that is. When you drive out of your neighborhood today or tomorrow, drive slowly. Or, gather those youngins and take a stroll via foot. (Train ahead) by telling them the purpose is to observe. Look at each home and think about the people inside. Do you know your neighbors?
- Do you even know what they look like?
- Do you know their names?
- Do you know who lives with them in their home? Aging parent? Children? Adult child? or do they live alone?
- Do you know their kids’ names and ages?
That’s just for starters… and, if you’re like me… you have work to do just to begin observing.
But observing so that you can get to know them and be a blessing in their lives.
And coming to know those people whom you never see. Those that live in the houses around you.
We’re to love our neighbors as ourselves. Are you guilty like me of passing by your neighbors to love others… uh, or passing by them just to keep up with the demands of a busy schedule?
My friends from other countries come to the states for the first time and one of the first observations is, “Where are the people? They drive up to their house into a garage, the door closes, and you never see them.”
Go. Introduce yourself. No agenda but to say hi and be friendly. Include your kids. (Train aheadso they know why/what you’re doing, how to behave, and how to show interest in others.)
Include the kids in baking. Maybe take a plate of homemade cookies (and by that, I typically mean scooping from the big container of chocolate chip cookie dough from Sams). One idea you might use is to make a card and include a photo of your family with arrows pointing to each family member (if you have a large family.) By including the written names, your neighbors are more likely to remember you. Immediately plug their names into your phone or your brain, if you solely trust that. Begin praying for your neighbors and asking the Lord for opportunities to be a blessing to them, to get to know them, and to be about His work right there in your community.
You may know some things because you observe their kids getting in the car in their soccer uniform, or see that the older gentleman loves tinkering with antique cars – and you suspect that he might be a part of a car show or an antique car club because once a month he waxes and takes that baby for a stroll. You also observe another neighbor’s teen just starting to drive all by himself, figuring he must have just gotten his driver’s license. And, due to the stretchy pant-wearing, physically fit mom across the street, you’ve assessed that she is a fitness fanatic and highly disciplined because you can count on her leaving at 7:05 each morning..right after the kids have left the building.
In my mind for each of those scenarios might possibly pop these ideas:
- Ask him how he did at his soccer game next time I see him
- Admire his antique car, noticing the beautiful paint job through his eyes
- Have the kids make the teenager a card, “Congratulations on getting your driver’s license.” or give him a gift card for a fast food restaurant.
- Don’t ask the stretchy-yoga-pant-wearing woman over for hot dogs and mac n cheese. LOL. Instead, when you go to meet her, include a health bar with her card.
But, beyond observation…and quite frankly, speculation…do you know them?
- Do you know what their day is like?
- Do you know the personalities of each of their family members?
- Do you know the challenges they face?
- Do they go to church? Do they know the Lord as their Savior?
- Do you know what makes them laugh? and what brings them to tears?
- Do you know what they are proud of? accomplishments in life?
- Do you know their story?
- Do you know their past/their heartaches?
- Do they have wayward children that are a burden deep down in their hearts?
- Do they struggle with depression?
- Do they have challenges that YOU could come alongside and meet…
- or with your children participating?
“I can’t talk to people like that.”
Yes, I realize for MANY of you reading this, probably most, in fact…You.do.not.talk.to.people.like.that.
That’s personal and waaaay beyond your comfort level.
WHY NOT? (oops. sorry for raising my voice.) This doesn’t happen overnight…and it shouldn’t. It takes time. It takes you opening up to them. You asking good questions. You being interested in them. You meeting them right where they are. You not judging. You being real. It takes time. But, just get started. Put yourself out there. Be about them. Not self.
Greet. Smile. Share.Pray for the Lord’s promptings on which person to reach out to and HIS creativity (idea) in so doing. Repeat. As a lifestyle. And…bring your kids along with you in this process, in so doing, teaching them to expect the Holy Spirit to guide their hearts to minister to others.
See the previous post to remind yourself that we are not better than them. Our prayers should not be from that perspective. In so ministering to them, you will be blessed, and you will also learn from them. Our perspective should be coming alongside of them, meeting them where they are, and just entering into their world.
You absolutely do not want to miss tomorrow’s post. I’m just giving you a big ol’ list of some specific things to consider in reaching out to neighbors. But here’s just one idea for you to think about today…
- Pick or buy some flowers and take them over. Teach your kids to be the ones talking. Role play with them ahead, “We’re taking this to Mrs. Johnson. You have the opportunity to bring a smile to her face and brighten her day. You’ll say, ‘Hi Mrs. Johnson. These are flowers for you to show you I’m thinking of you.” Don’t let your kids be “shy.” (That’s actually allowing them excuses to not speak into the lives of others, which means their thoughts on self overrule thoughts on others.)
What thoughts crossed your mind as you strolled through your neighborhood?
My desire is to help you THINK BIG for what you and your family can do to live out the life of a Believer. If you’ve missed any of my posts in the series on being intentional with the spiritual training for your family, here they are:
- Part 1 – Getting Your Priorities for the School Year… From God?
- Part 2 – Whose Job is it to be the Spiritual Trainer of Your Kids?
- Part 3 – Making a Plan for Your Fam’s Spiritual Training
- Part 4 – Spiritual Training in Your Home
- Part 5 – Intentionally Living It Out…As You Go
- Part 6 – Family Check Point…Just One Verse
- Part 7 – Brainstorming
- Part 8 – We Cry, Heartbroken. They Cry, Crushed.
Rhonda somebodypleasebringmesomechocolatetocomfortme.Anotherchildisleavingthisweekforcollege ellis
We used to walk our old neighborhood all the time. That’s how we got to know our ‘neighborhood friends’. Though we are across town now, we still stay in contact with them & Jennica still goes to help the older neighbors, as we swing by to see them almost weekly still. As she doesn’t have grandparents, They are like family as they have seen her grow up, ride her 1st bike, even climbed her 1st tree getting oranges out of one neighbors tree for him.
We finally have settled into our new home & started walking just last week. As we have met some of our newer neighbors in this way, a new family branch is now growing. It’s a good thing. Ironic you posted this so shortly after we have started our walk routine back last week! 🙂
Wow!! You are already living this out. Way to go, Joann. May God bless you and your family richly as you bless those around you and raise Jennica to be thoughtful of others. I’ve been on the receiving end of your delicious thoughtfulness. 🙂 Love you.
So convicted. I’m living differently here than across the miles. Got to get those cookies baked…soon! Thanks for the reminder. Great job!
Peggy, we filmed Cultivate this week. You are mentioned on there. You have taught countless women the art of hospitality. Thank you for investing in my life.