Thursday, August 9, 2007

Out of My Comfort Zone, Into His Will

Practice hospitality.

This is a commandment that Jesus gives believers in the New Testament; sadly, a commandment that I have pretty much spent the last few years hiding from and making excuses to avoid. But the last time I checked, a commandment is not optional, folks. As a believer, I don't have the luxury of saying, "Well, Lord, I know you died on the cross for me and all, but I'm just not up for having people over today."

I love how God continues to reveal the same concept in so many different ways until I finally cave, saying, "Thanks for the 2x4 upside the head, I'll listen to the Holy Spirit now." (*Note to self: Park's stubborn gene may not just be from Chris)

Our precious friends, Dan and Bridget, invited us to dinner this week at their home. We began to discuss this concept that God has repeatedly been placing on mine and Chris' heart. I was really surprised to hear how convicted they have become in this area, as well. They have been two of our dearest friends for over six years and they are some of the most hospitable people we know. When I brought up this point, Dan told me something profound. "An open home means an open life. We are extremely inviting of our friends, but how often do we invite our neighbors over?"

If we are really honest with ourselves, isn't that so true about each of us? We are totally open to having friends over, yet we shy away from putting ourselves out there and meeting new people. We close our garages, turn on our televisions/computers, and shut out the world around us. Sure we may nod or wave at a neighbor or two, but then we bolt for the security of the familiar.

I can think of a million reasons for why I can't meet my neighbors or welcome them in my home. But honestly, they all begin with "I" or "my"and being inviting is really not about ME at all.

It is about loving other people and showing interest in their lives. It is about creating an atmosphere for friendship and opening my home to allow others to see Christ in me and the lives of my family. It's about loving people without an agenda and representing God to a culture that so desperately needs a Savior.

We have recently moved from our first home, leaving behind a neighborhood full of people that we never reached out to. We are determined not to repeat the same mistakes and missed opportunities. And isn't God good? We built a home in a neighborhood still under construction. Every moving truck gives us another reason to get out of our comfort zones and into His will.

So off we go, cookie batch #2 in hand. (Yes, I burned batch #1) And we are not coming home until someone feels welcomed!

Lord, please use our new home for your glory. May it be a place where others feel welcomed and new relationships are established. Give us the courage to leave the security of the familiar and the boldness to share your love with our neighborhood and far beyond. And as we finally obey your commandment, please use our lives to inspire others to do the same.


tspanno said...

I love that post! We need to reach out more to our neighbors, too! Thanks for reminding me of the commandment!!

Kirstie said...

I just wanted to say that I love your blog - it's inspiring, thought-provoking, challenging and humorous all at once.

carrie said...

Great reminder, Brittani.

My sister, over at The Homespun Heart, recently did several posts about reahing out to our neighbors--good stuff.

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

This is SO hard for me to do. I do fairly well with hospitality with friends, and even acquaintances, but I have had the same lack with neighbors. It's hard.

Stacey said...

Great post! Honestly, I have been reluctant to do this because we did this in the past and had a bad experience. But, your post reminded me of the importance of "trucking on" and reaching out again and again...


Christy said...

Good point!

I have struggled with staying in my comfort zone as well. I have been blessed with finding several friends that have children the same ages as mine-and so we rotate play dates, dinner dates, girl's nights, ect..

I seldom even wave at my neighbors because it makes me self concious! I am really bad at ignoring everyone but who I am comfortable with-and this is never going to influence the world around me. Thank your for making me think!

Carrie said...

Oooo, thanks for reminding me to go and welcome our new neighbors down the street.

Sun said...

WOW I so need this right now - this is SO out of my comfort zone and something that I have felt pricking my heart too - thanks for this post. God used it to speak to my heart. Sunshine

Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

What a wonderful post!

Autumn said...

I love you!! I admire your desire to better yourself. Just a note of encouragement...I have noticed a big change in you since moving into your new home. You are becoming more domestic and Chris more domesticated :)) lol! Seriously, I am very proud of you and I'm waiting for my cookies.

Sarah's In the Midst of It said...

When we moved here, we were the first on the street, too, and bringing brownies over to each new neighbor with Caiden in tow was a great way to meet them! I tucked a little card with our names and phone number into the plate, and over the years we've gotten to be friends with half of our street. Good for you for reaching out! You won't regret it :)

And since I only live 2 miles away, do I qualify for cookies, too??