Neighboring Well

ArtOfNeighboring

It was clear that she was “new”. As a new dance mom myself and just a few months into the routine, I could tell that she was attending drop off for the first time. I raised 3 boys before we had a chance to welcome a girl into our family, so this dance mom thing is new territory for me.

And can I just say it is a bit intimidating.

Maybe it is just women in general, we can come off as illusive and unapproachable. I do the same, I make myself busy with my phone so that I don’t have to make conversation with a “stranger.”

As an introvert and shy to boot, it is work for me to join a conversation, to make friends.

It isn’t comfortable, it never is, but I am learning that sometimes God calls us to step out of our comfort zones and do something different.

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My friend Kristin Schell is doing that with her #theturquoisetable movement.  I love this idea and can’t wait to get a table this spring. Recently she told me about another book that captures this idea of neighboring well.

The Art of Neighboring arrived at my door yesterday and I started reading it as I was getting ready this morning. If I didn’t have to be at work, I would be on the couch reading this. I had flagged pages and underlined in the Foreword. Oh it is going to be good.

“I am convinced that living in close community with our neighbors is the best way to live. The command to love our neighbors lies at the core of God’s plan for our lives, and when we follow this mandate, it changes everything. The journey begins when we choose a lifestyle of conversation and community over a lifestyle of busyness and accumulation. It’s about making room for life and choosing to befriend those God has placed around us.” p11

So often we make assumptions about people. We wave and smile as we drive down our neighborhoods, but it doesn’t go beyond that. And when we haven’t taken the time to really get to know someone, we assume we know what happens in their homes. Good, bad or otherwise…we don’t really know.

“Perhaps we’d find that the people on our block are normal people just like us. They go to work, hang out with their kids, and put their pants on one leg at a time. At the end of the day, they long for a place to belong, a place to be accepted and cared for. They want to do something significant with their lives, something that really matters. What good things might happen if you truly got to know the people in your neighborhood and they got to know you?” p18

These words put a lump in my throat.

If there are people in my neighborhood that are looking for a place to belong, and I can do something about it – what is stopping me? As a believer in Jesus, isn’t this my calling?

Love your neighbor as yourself.

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I am telling you that this isn’t going to be easy for me. My heart beats fast at considering hitting publish to these words, knowing that my neighbors may read them…people in my church. I don’t want to be someone who talks the talk and is afraid to walk the scary road ahead of me.

But this idea of better community, or neighboring well is hitting me on all sides and I can’t ignore it or assume that someone else will do the hard work.

So once again, with knees knocking, I step forward willing to let God use me. (<====Click to Tweet)

As I headed back to the dance studio to pick up my girl, I saw the new mom waiting…phone in hand, scrolling, because it is what we do.

And I turned and said hello, asked if they were new to Marshall, or just new to dance? They had just moved here for a job, new community and new people. Another mom joined the conversation and she also has been here only 2 years “And I don’t know anyone.”

I want that to change! So in a few minutes we stopped and share “newbie” stories and next week maybe that conversation can continue.

We don’t have to do this alone, we shouldn’t do this alone.

It will likely be baby steps for me, but they will be steps forward, to learning the art of neighboring, and neighboring well.

Will you join me?

Photo Credit: From The Art of Neighboring

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8 thoughts on “Neighboring Well

  1. Beth S.
    Twitter:

    I just all kinds of ways love this, Kristin. I’ve been rather insistent to my husband that we have a picnic table before warmer temps are upon us. We plan to do lots of loving on neighbors and friends! Let’s step outside of our comfort zones together!!!!!!!
    Blessings.
    xoxo
    Beth S. recently posted…Remember His FaithfulnessMy Profile

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  2. Alecia Simersky
    Twitter:

    As you know we have recently moved into our new neighborhood. The idea of the turquoise table scares me! But I know, I know, that it is the way we should be living. Open hands, open hearts, open doors. Thank you for inspiration. One day, who knows. Maybe I will have my own table 🙂

    ps. do you put it on your front lawn? like to stay? or pull it out when you want to use it? 🙂
    Alecia Simersky recently posted…What The Heck Are GMO’s? Eating Clean Part 3My Profile

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  3. Kristin Hill Taylor
    Twitter:

    Yes, yes, yes. I love this. I love your thoughts on loving your neighbors and this book sounds fabulous. A couple summers ago we had a neighborhood party – we just invited everyone, mostly by leaving a flyer invitation on their door. People showed up and it was such fun. I wish we’d done it many times since, so I hope to plan another one soon. I’m proud of you for stepping out!
    Kristin Hill Taylor recently posted…On dreaming togetherMy Profile

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  4. Sabra Penley
    Twitter:

    Living in an apartment, where neighbors come and go quite frequently, it’s so easy to get stuck behind my door and not get to know them. This book sounds like something I need to read. Thanks for sharing your shyness (I’m there, too) and desire to move beyond yourself. God is moving me to reach out more and love others in tangible ways. He’s teaching me that I need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to love and serve Him and bring Him glory. Blessings to you, Kristin.
    Sabra Penley recently posted…What to Do When You’re Stuck…My Profile

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  5. Betsy de Cruz
    Twitter:

    Kristin, my home church in Austin, Texas went through this book two years ago, and it was revolutionary for them. I haven’t read it, but I want to. Neighboring is so relevant for me where I live in Turkey. Hospitality and neighboring are so important to the culture, but with more women working, and Western influence, people get busy. You’re reminding me that I still haven’t visited the new neighbor across from me. (I LOVED that turquoise table post.) Blessings to you as you tempt to reach out in friendship to that dance mom.
    Betsy de Cruz recently posted…Seven Ways to Pray for Our KidsMy Profile

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