I have been afflicted with “block blur.” Until recently, when I looked down the street, when I walked down the street, or when I drove down the street on my block, I was usually focused either on people or activities inside my house or those beyond my neighborhood. My neighborhood has been a blur to me—the whole block. While the people in my own home (or those people and activities outside of my neighborhood) have taken my focus, the people in the yards and homes around my own were just a blur to me, maybe meriting a quick wave at most. I am trying to change that. I have to change that. I know I am representing Christ on my block. I know He wants me to connect with those around me. I know when we reach out and connect with others He uses that to draw them to Him. It starts with being open to hanging out, and starting a conversation. And I sure don’t have to GO very far……
This has got to be the best time of the year to cure my case of block blur, no question! The weather is wonderful, the holidays are approaching, football season is in full swing, and the scorpions are disappearing, going underground! Moods are pleasant, there is a noticeable spring to the step, and everyone is just plain friendly. It doesn’t get any better than this Fall season! I’ve noticed some in my neighborhood, who do not normally even look up when outside, are waving heartily, with big grins. I am determined to take advantage of the situation. I am going to take the time to BE outside, to GO across the street, and to SPEND TIME with those who live around me. I have begun interacting with my neighbor next door, who I know but, considering the time we’ve lived next to each other, we have not interacted much. But one day God put him outside when I was outside… and we had a great conversation. Eventually I gave him a copy of The Story. And I am going to get to know him even better. I am thinking, too, that I need to get down the street to some new neighbors. I am not even sure they have moved in completely yet, but I need to find out. But of course I’ve got work to do around the house, I need to get to the gym, can’t miss the kids’ soccer games–not to mention watching the ASU and Cardinals games I recorded (if they won)….
If some of you have what has ailed me, if you have any symptoms, here are what I think are the steps toward a cure for block blur:
- Pray, pray, pray—for openness to God’s Spirit and opportunities.
- Don’t push the garage door button—to close. Keep it open—it will help you stay outside.
- Linger. Stay outside in front of your house longer, either working or hanging out.
- Walk around the block, enjoying the weather.
- Show genuine interest and empathy toward those you encounter.
Those things are not hard to do, especially as God leads us to have a sincere love for our neighbors. The apostle Paul, who knew about such things, made such a great declaration:
“I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22
He connected and identified with people from varying backgrounds, histories, and cultures. Paul BECAME ALL THINGS to all men, because of his love of others. So, the least I can do is BECOME AVAILABLE to interact with my neighbors.
I am gradually seeing a bit of clearing of the blur I had on my block. My neighbors are coming into focus. Paul tells us that “Christ’s love compels us…” (2 Corinthians 5:14a) to represent Him as we connect with others, like our neighbors. So, may Christ’s love compel me to… keep our garage door open, to linger outside, and to take some time and talk to a neighbor. I know that if I do that God will open up a whole new neighborhood.