“Your best ability is your availability.”
Trent Dilfer, ESPN Analyst and Super Bowl XXXV winning QB
I think this quote from Trent Dilfer also applies to neighbors and friends. You might be the best neighbor that your neighbors have ever had. You might become one of your neighbors’ closest friends. But it can only
happen if you’re around.
I don’t think anyone needs convincing that they need to be available to be a neighbor, to be a friend, and to connect people to life in Jesus. But it seems I still have difficulty with it.
For me, I think it’s because I’m unwilling to say no to things just to make space to be available. There are so many things I want to do, so many opportunities we have to do almost whatever we want, that even when I do say “no” to something that space is quickly filled with something else.
One thing I’m re-learning through the Pastoral Leader PLI, that I learned [or re-learned] through coaching, is that if I say I want to do something, if I say something is important to me, but I don’t do it, I need to find out why. Personally speaking, the “why” is often that I say something is important to me because I know it should be, but in reality, I haven’t experienced the reward of doing that thing enough times that I would choose it over something that consistently rewards me in the moment.
So, in case you find yourself in the midst of another Summer full of plans and activities, wondering how you ever thought you would actually have more time to connect with your neighbors and friends once Summer [or let’s be serious, you could insert any season here] began, I want to challenge you right now to look at your calendar and schedule one night per week where you are ` available for friends and neighbors. Then, resist the urge to fill it with other things, unless those things are with your neighbors and friends. Then, actually invite friends and neighbors to do something with you on two of those nights this Summer.
Urban campfire. Put a fire ring in your driveway, in the front yard, or back yard if other neighbors can see it. Maybe make a habit of it, so that others can be ready to stop by the next time you’re out enjoying the evening.
Tickets. This might seem to violate my own challenge, but if you get extra tickets to something you’re going to, and invite neighbors, it totally qualifies. We recently got to know a neighbor much better when we had Mallard’s tickets we needed to find a home for.
What night is going to be your “neighbor night?”