Reaching Out & Developing a Community Around You~ Part 1

“Help yourself!”

With the holiday season upon us and this usually being the time of year when we are most inclined to reach out to our neighbors and friends, I thought this would be a perfect time to begin a series on what God did to turn our neighborhood into one of the most amazing communities I’ve ever known. In this series I will explain all the steps we took and those you can mirror, but I am absolutely certain it was God’s hand in all of it, and, therefore, He gets all the glory.
Let me begin by asking you a few questions: Who has rights to your refrigerator? (*) How many friends and neighbors feel comfortable enough in your home that they can open your frig and help themselves to its contents? Who are those that you feel most at home  with to do the same in their home?

These are going to be people who know you and love you best–those who have seen you and your house at its worst and it doesn’t make any difference in their opinion towards you. These friendships have lasting power and have developed over time. Most importantly, these are people who you will be able to count on in times of greatest  need.

If you’re like many, you could probably count them on one hand. We’re becoming a nation where a sense of  community is quickly becoming a thing of the past. We know complete strangers on Twitter better than we know the girl next door. We’re losing the close bonds our grandparents once enjoyed with family and neighbors; the small town atmosphere where everyone seemed to know everyone’s business is eroding.

We’ve gone from building homes with inviting front porches where couples once spent their evening sitting and talking to neighbors as they walked by,

to building beautiful outdoor kitchens on the back patio and enjoying the privacy fence and solitude.

It used to be that a couple married and moved next-door or at least remained in the same neighborhood. Many towns were once divided by nationalities, and each community had its own church building as a central focus where the community gathered. Today, we are more a transient society; we are moving about the country and most of us will live in a number of homes in our lifetime. We are also moving further away from family and those who know us and love us best.

We are becoming citizens that are more aloof. Most of us no longer live near those who helped shape our character; which include family, friends , neighbors and childhood acquaintances, and as we move about the country, we are failing to replace our social network. It then no longer becomes a problem of moving away, but more of being isolated and alone. What we need is to establish “refrigerator rights” once more.

After living most of our lives in one community, my husband and I had the chance to leave the harsh winters up north and move further south, which is something we had desired to do for many years. The opportunity came just at the time when our children were graduating from college or heading to college, and we decided it was a good time to make the move. So we packed up all our belongings, said good-bye to all our family and friends, and moved thousands of miles south where we didn’t know one single person in the state! Despite the move being to our advantage in that it was better pay, better position, nicer home, etc. we were miserable and wondered if we had made a huge mistake. We actually worked on returning home until the Lord made it clear He intended us to stay put.

I’d like to share with you all that transpired next to help build an incredible community in our new neighborhood, one most would love to be a part of and one we’d like to see replicated all over the country, for we’d love everyone to experience what we’ve been able to experience over the years. On Thursday, I’d like to share with you what happened and what you can do to begin to establish “refrigerator rights” once more.

‘Til then, sue

*Question taken from Refrigerator Rights by Dr. Will Miller

Linking up with: Time Warped Wife, Jumping Tandum, Many Little Blessings , Women Living Well, Simply Helping Him , We Are That Family , Getting Down with Jesus, Deep Roots at Home, Far Above Rubies , What Joy is Mine , Growing Home

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