Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Do you remember Mister Rogers’ Neighorhood (go ahead, click it…you know want to…and you’re going to sing along, don’t even pretend)? Those were the good old days…weren’t they? Okay, so maybe Mister Rogers’ is a bit creepy, but I loved how simple life seemed to be back then. I grew up on a cul-de -sac, so we regularly played in the neighborhood, road our bikes up and down the street and stayed out until dark. We didn’t have to worry about updating our Facebook status or tweeting our latest whereabouts. If we wanted to talk to someone, we picked up the phone…I think I even memorized phone numbers. 

Years later and we’ve got more ways to connect with one another than ever before…and yet this universe is full of incredibly lonely people. Did you know that 48% of relationship problems started through some form of social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) Granted, it stinks to be lonely, but most of us would never admit it…so, we create a lot of distractions and noise to look busy. To be so connected, we have no idea how to truly live in community with one another. 

As you might have gathered…this focus on “connecting with others” is a continuation of my church’s series called “Unpacking Hope.” We were never meant to be alone. From the very beginning, God created us to rely on one another. 
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18
In the next verse, God brings each of the animals to Adam, but no suitable helper was found. Only then does God create Eve.
In Matthew 22:37, Jesus gives us two new commandments…the first of which is to love the Lord with all our heart and all all our soul and all our mind. Our relationship with God has #1 priority. In fact, God makes it so easy for us to obey because he does most of the work…he wants that relationship with us. The second commandment isn’t so easy. Jesus then tells us in Matthew 22:39 to love your neighbors as yourself.

For whatever reason, connecting with others seems to be a huge challenge. I mean, how often do we really get deep with one another? How often do we ever get below the surface? And why don’t we? It’s as if we somehow believe that if we really let other people into our lives…to see the “real me,” warts and all, that you/we wouldn’t like what we see. REALLY?!

Truth be told, we’re all struggling with something (abusive relationships, self-confidence issues, financial strain, heartache, depression, failures, addiction, etc)…and all doing our best to avoid judgment. In the process, we just avoid each other. So…how do we reconnect? 
  1. Start being friendly…smile even. You never know the impact  you’ll make on another person by simply being that friendly face…that helping hand…that listening ear. 
  2. Take some initiative to connect. Find others like yourself to connect with spiritually (in addition to my favorite Christian bloggers). Don’t wait for an invitation to get involved.
If you do those two things and you’re still lonely…you might be lazy, but don’t give up. Once we connect, we can start sharing our story. Speaking of which, next week my friend Kel will be sharing her story. Be sure to come back on Tuesday to read how God has worked in her life. It’s a story you don’t want to miss! Until then, have a great day!

 (mouse over the image to see my original)
55 COMMENTS

    Wonderful reminder Ashley! Thank you!

    I couldn’t agree more friend. I actually prayed about this last night…well, more or less prayed about this topic. Prayed for God to strengthen and deepen the relationships in my life that he wants to be deeper. Good stuff!!

    So glad I started to reach out an start my blog, because it has allowed me to connect with kindred spirits such as yourself, and I’ve only gotten started.
    Thank you for today’s message~~~~
    Shay

    Lovin’ that photo!!! Nicely done on the blur!! Great scripture!!
    I must say my husband are among the 48% of those that did start are relationship (14 years ago maybe the number was smaller then) from some sort of online media.
    Enjoy your day!!!

    I grow up and later move into such a wonderful neighborhoods. I was always in touch with neighbors and friends, however now with working full time it just seems like there isn’t enough hours in the day to touch base with everyone.

    I still memorize phone numbers and don’t use speed dial. Helps to keep your mind sharp.

    WONDERFUL reminder — thank you SO much!
    Simple life is the best — I totally agree with you. :)
    I used to watch Mister Rodgers a lot, and when it stopped (when Mr. Rodgers died), you wouldn’t know how sad my whole family was. Now we go back to the archive videos and play them for my younger siblings. :)

    Mr. Rogers was pretty creepy, and I loved watching him (hate admitting that!)
    I do love this photo and the scripture AND the sweet reminders! Thanks Ashley!

    I loved Mister Rogers and from what I’ve read he was a wonderful man. This is lovely reminder. And that photo. . .wow. Absolute art. Love it!

    Id like to invite everyone to my blog Amish Stories today to read a post from old order Mennonite Jean of New York state. Jean has taken-in a foster child named Michael whose parents are no longer able to take care of him. He’s English and Jeans family is old order Mennonite (horse and buggy) but that makes no difference in the love that this young man is receiving from this family. Thank you folks and i hope to see some of you drop by the blog. Richard

    This is sooo very true. It is hard to really connect with people nowadays. Oh and I loved watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

    Great post Ashley, I couldn’t agree more…I was surprised that the statistic was that high though..wow. Love your photo and your processing is perfect!

    Great post. Good heedings here.

    Love your shot, I did the same on my blog today. inspired by you of course.

    I’m a little partial to Mister Rogers, considering he was from my area of the world. I loved watching him when I was a kid. And he really was a wonderful man. Maybe a little strange, but not at all creepy.

    Love this photo and the verse! And this is such a wonderful message! We really do need to reach out and get back to having face-to-face relationships. And sharing our hearts with others. How else will we share the Good News?

    Ashley I LOVE this post. Absolutely love it…

    beautiful Ashely!! you always do such amazing and wonderful posts!! seriously love this blog!!

    WOnderful Post!!!!

    First, I just love the photo this week. I just downloaded Kim’s texture that you used and it is one of my favorites thus far.

    The reality of connectedness has been on my heart more and more as a SAHM. The need for it. I have realized that social media is not TRUE connectedness. It is nice and very encouraging in it’s rightful place, but it is not connectedness the way God has designed.

    Thanks for sharing this and for the 2 tips to re-connect.

    Great post Ashley!

    This new generation of social media as their only source of connectivity is going to really struggle later in life when it is time to have any kind of relationship that matters. Not to mention they can’t spell, speak in public or hold a conversation worth sharing with someone else because they don’t get deep with anyone, let alone God. They desire immediate gratification and demand it. They actually care about where each other is at any given moment – because if not why do they post what they are doing all day long. Truly it is tragic and honestly makes my heart hurt for our children. Who do NOT FB or tweet and won’t until college.

    It is up to us the older generations to set the standard and demand that we all spend time face to face communicating, going deep and being the hands and feet for one another. If not, then we have no one to blame but ourselves for broken homes and marriages breaking apart more and more each generation.

    We have made sin too easy in this life and we long to be entertained more than we long to give our hearts, souls, minds and lives to the ONE who created every single one of us!

    Much love!
    Jill

    Wonderful post Ashley!

    What a great message. You do a fantastic job of sharing your church’s messages.

    Love this post.. and I will admit that I am lonely…not a sin to be lonely.. although I do not facebook or twitter, I do blog.. but I am lonely for lacking true relationships..

    My husband’s former comapny moved us on average every 22 months. As the girls have gooten older and started school this was not a good thing. We made the change to a new company, and moved to our forever home…

    although people are friendly, and we have made a point to jump in and volunteer in both church and school and even our community.. it was 9 months after the move that a new “friend” invited me to lunch. What a joy… so I think it is a two way street.. seek out someone, and make a new friend..

    Wonderful post Ashley!! This was our church’s message this past Sunday.

    I love to reach out and connect – but will try even harder today! Lovely photo and verse.

    oh this is right on the nose for me right now – my husband and were having a (heated) discussion yesterday about judging others (him not me) – I pulled out the bible with all my tabbed pages to support why he needs to LOVE everyone – NO MATTER WHAT!

    . . . and I totally still remember my first telephone number

    You know, and this is the truth, I just came inside the house because I was cutting the grass and wanted to avoid my neighbour who was walking by!!

    So great loving neighbour I am! Oops, now I feel bad.

    All of my true friends are scattered and we try to get together when we can but life gets in the way. While I have made friends here in Memphis, I’ve prayed often for true, close friendships – the kind where I can say and do anything and they love me no matter my faults. Friendships with no drama – is that possible? Great post, Ashley!

    Being a military family means that our friends are scattered from one end of the country to the other. It’s really great for a while when you’re all stationed together, but then people leave and it’s like starting all over again. It’s one of the only downsides to being a military fam. Love, love that photo! The bokeh is fabulous!

    Well said. Man, FB & twitter are such a distraction. I have to remind myself to put my energy where it matters sometimes.

    Love the OOF shot…another reminder that I must try this!

    So true. Lately I have found friendship/kindness in the strangest of places and with the strangest of people. :) Take a second to smile and love your neighbor and you never know… they might just turn out to be good people.

    This is so timely for me…our sermon kind of centered around this verse and as it happens, Seth and I are starting a new small group at church tonight and tomorrow my mom’s group, which is also through our church, kicks off. While I love the friends I’ve made via blogging {like you} I’m so ready for deep in-person friendships!

    Oh Ashley this is so convicting. Having a totally different accent to all of the neighbours here has mean’t that I’ve always stuck out. Here where I live it’s a very closed community and very very hard to get accepted. You have to work at it and if you’ve a hobby say like gardening it’s then easier to start a friendship …. swap plants, help keep the neighbourhood road clear of snow etc. Christian friends are few and far between for me here and there’s not many of us in this area for starters.

    Real relationships are so much HARDER than fake, superficial or on-line relationships, but so worth it. We are made to be connected and when those connections are broken because of hurt and sin, we must seek to repair them. It is best for everyone. I am terrified of strangers, so reaching out is something I have to force myself to do. I have been thinking about how little I know my neighbors recently so this is a good reminder that sometimes God does ask us/expect us to do things that are hard, because He knows the blessings that can result.

    Great word Ashley and so true.

    We all have so much to give, and so many people that have needs.

    It doesn’t take much time to change a person’s day but offering a smile, a sweet comment or encouraging word.

    Thanks for posting this!

    Connecting is so important. Lovely photo too.

    Love the image and the message. :)

    I try every day to smile and wave at my neighbors. They never wave back. I’m ready to move.

    That photo absolutely takes my breath away!!!! Both the before….and after edit. But fav? Just the colorful before. So lovely….

    Firstly, cool shot! Secondly, so true!

    This post is a great reminder, and so true, unfortunately about today’s society. A few years back, I met my family in Puerto Rico for a vacation. As we sat down at this amazing restaurant at a table overlooking the sunset, my hubby and I (who don’t have smart phones) looked around and realized we were the only ones enjoying the view. My mom, sister, and brother were all texting and answering emails. So sad…

    Great message and so true! I read your blog this morning but sometimes it takes me awhile to have a chance to sit down and write. Great shot as well!

    It is absolutely amazing how far a smile can go. We live in a small-ish town, so you would think it would be the norm, but it’s really not. We’ve even had people stop and say hello just because the kids were running and smiling…it really does brighten a day!

    Oh I love this post! I do remember Mister Rogers. Your message is perfect, and I love your image too!

    Thank you, Ashley, for this very beautiful post. It really touched me.

    Well said and a great reminder! Thank you for the inspiration.

    UGH facebook… drama and gossip central!! :-D I have one just to try to keep up with a few people (my sister especially, that’s the best way to find out what’s going on in her life!), but try to avoid most things on there… Besides that, it’s a time waster… slurp! haha!

    I think it’s so sad how we’re losing our ability to communicate and have friends, real friends… and that’s a great reminder to us all, that it’s NOT greener on the other side of the fence, and while we’re trying to hid this wart from others, someone else has a wart of their own they’re hiding. I wasn’t sure where my blogging would take me, and I never thought it would bring me to where I am now, but I’m so thankful though that through technology I have been able to make several great friends — Christian friends!! While yes, I would love to have someone locally, I’m thankful for the doors God’s led me though to find friends! I’ve also realized that even though I may feel lonely at times, I’ve GOT to allow God to fill that hole — because sadly, we are all humans, and no human will totally fulfill my longings…

    And I totally agree — a smile can change so so much! A sweet word in passing can do a bunch, too!

    Great post, Ashley!!
    xoxo
    Michelle

    Oh, PS…. Love your pic!! Very creative!

    Ok, it’s totally weird that a couple Sundays ago, our sermon at church was about Mister Rogers, but it’s so totally true.

    We all need to spread the love to ALL our neighbors!

    so creative! the blurry background has so beautiful colorS!

    Light Trigger: OUR ENTRY

    Love what you did with that image. Kim’s Just Stitched texture is a great one….that zig zag in the corner really adds a feel to your image.
    Connecting. Have you seen Urban Muser’s “smile at a stranger today” thing? I was going to do that, but I realized I do smile at strangers and it serves me well.
    No TV, but lots of connections here on Blogger and Flickr. I like those connections too.
    Have a great day Ashley.

    Love this so, so much!

    Love this photo! You do an amazing job at the manual focus shooting.

    beautiful!

    This is a fantastic post, and boy do I love that photo! I read an article the other day bout how the current generation of young people is horrible about even making eye contact, because we are always glued to a screen. I definitely want A to grow up differently, and reminders like this are great!

    Katie Lloyd? Is that you? You KNOW I love this one, right? I can NOT get that oof look right at all! LOVE how you guys do it…and that blue sky is GORGEOUS.

    Those verses are a great reminder to us. Relationship to our God and to our neighbor. Yes, simple life is the best! Let’s have a firm foundation to our God, a foundation that no one can destroy. In that way, we have a good relationship to our neighbors.

    Love your picture–so creative. And you are right. Sometimes I would rather text than call. But I can have friends who are hurting and need a listening ear.


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