Making Time and Facing Fear, based on chapters 3 and 4
Hello, and welcome to the second in our series ‘Good Neighbours’. This week we’re going to be considering two of the main things that stop us from developing good relationships with our neighbours:
Not having enough time and The fear factor.
In the book, ‘The Art of Neighboring’, we are encouraged to focus on prioritising relationships. The great commandment tells us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves, and if we are going to do that we actually have to have a relationship with the people who live around us if we are to have any chance of loving them well and being good neighbours.
To help us, the authors encourage us to think about the three points, which we are going to discuss in our groups in a moment. The first is
1. Make the main thing the main thing
We need to think about the way that we spend our time and the activities that we prioritise. Make a mental list of the way you spend your time, and consider if the things that you currently prioritise could be rearranged.
2. Eliminate time stealers
We are encouraged to practice the art of elimination – which sounds like something from the film The Godfather! Actually when we think about the way we spend our time we realise there are things we do which have much less value when compared to the more important things in life, like building good relationships with our neighbours. Of course the point is we need to spend more of our time doing the more important things!
3. Be interruptible
Develop a mind-set which says it’s okay to have space in your day and in your diary. In places like Winchester, and in churches like ours, it is all too easy to be so busy that there is little space for any spontaneity or interruptions. If we are going to make good relationships with our neighbours, we are going to have to be flexible. What do I do if my neighbour Dave is outside cleaning his car when I come home tired after church on a Sunday? Do I take that short walk across the drive?
Putting these three steps into practice will help us become better neighbours.
Chapter 4 of the book encourages us to think about the fears we experience when we start thinking about how we can develop relationships with our neighbours.
The following questions and activities will help us to be realistic about our fears and encourage us to take steps to overcome them.
Please spend some time considering the questions and working through the activities in this week’s blog in your community group. Don’t feel the need to use them all. Simply choose the two or three questions that may be helpful to you.
Finally have a great time! My prayer is we all bear much fruit as we seek to become good neighbours.
Starter Question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how busy is life for you at the moment? Why is this?
1. Do you currently live at a pace that allows you to be present in your neighbourhood in a meaningful way?
2. What are the potential time stealers in your life? Are there ways that you can save time by doing something about these? (Can link to Action Step 1)
3. Are there people on your street who you find intimidating? Why is that and is there anything you can do in order to overcome your fear of that person or those people?
4. Discuss or think about some practical ways that you can overcome your fears of interacting with neighbours you don’t know. Is there any way that your Community Group can help you to get to know your neighbours?
1. Look at your calendar/diary over the past week. Write down the ways that you spent your time. Reflect on how well you used your time and whether what you did lines up with what you think is important.
2. Make an effort to go and meet one of your neighbours who you know nothing about, or haven’t met yet. This could just be by introducing yourself to a neighbour as you pass by, or it could be something more in depth. If successful, report back to the group next week.
This might seem like a strange thing to do, but it might be helpful in overcoming the fear factor and taking a first step.