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)