Taking Off My Excuse Bag and Do Not Disturb Sign: On Being Neighborly

Take Off Your Excuse Bag and Help People

Two nights ago I went to watch a televangelist I have been following for 12 years in person at my church. It was pretty cool. I was only 7 rows back, and I got to really enjoy her. I raised my hand at the end of her teaching when she asked who was willing to pray every day for God to put someone in their path that they could help. I had been doing this a bit on my own to a degree, but nothing concrete or committed as she had proposed. I prayed a few weeks back something to this degree, and I’d got a word about being hospitable and vision of a neighbor of mine. I took it to mean it was time to invite her over for coffee or tea. I have been in this place for two years, and though she was neighborly right away, I never followed up though I did go into her place awhile back and listened to what she was going through and prayed with her about her job situation. I had my “Do Not Disturb” sign on and my “Excuse Bag” as to why I couldn’t hang way beyond my time here. These are two props, Joyce, the televangelist, used to describe how many of us Christians, especially, behave when people may need us. I have been guilty of these for years, particularly the “Do Not Disturb” sign. So, after the service was over, I went to the prayer partners for help in being able to commit to this because I know how I am, and I know that love is a big deal – it’s all action and time and commitment and self last, and that is a large reason I am NOT in a relationship and haven’t been in about 12 years.  

So, yesterday, the day after the event, and the first evening after my first morning prayer to put someone in my path I could help, my neighbor I had the vision about and I happened to cross paths. I was on my way to do laundry, and she was too apparently – her place right next to the laundry room and her door open, I called in, “Hi Sharon.” She came out and we began chatting, and yes I felt a little hi-jacked and wasn’t wanting to have this lengthy conversation at that moment, especially on that hot, Florida summer day next to the rolling dryer. I wasn’t ready to invite her over though, but I was willing. I remembered my prayer and the the nudge I felt I’d gotten weeks earlier from the Holy Spirit about her and hospitality. So, when I realized I did not think this was ending, I eventually told her she is welcome to come over for tea or something if she wants to keep talking, but I’d really prefer to get out of the heat. She said she might do that, and she was over in no time.

I found it interesting later because had I not been cleaning my apartment just prior to that, I would have pulled that out of my “Excuse Bag” as to why not to invite her over to my place since it was not clean enough to have over company, especially for the first time! I wanted her to get the full flavor or at least have a good experience while in my place. So, over she came, in she came, I got her some water, and we proceeded to chat for about 45 more minutes – I got back to my dryer with 1 minute to spare! Perfect.

So, I did most of the talking, initially, which is rare. I realized later often times it seems like others do all the talking and I just sit there even when I try to converse, but later we did have an actual conversation, back and forth. I told her all about my vacation, initially, at her request and we talked about other things as she chimed in with question after question. So, it was nice. A real conversation!!

So, my “help” may have come while in the laundry room previously when she’d been talking to me about her work situation, or lack thereof, and I, after asking if I may offer some insight, offered insight and perspective on how she might see her situation differently, namely, as an opportunity for her to ask God what He wants to do in her life currently, or how He wants her to respond, how He wants to grow her and perceive things instead of the negative spin that I’d previously felt and it was negative seeming for sure, but God is always in control still helping us in the tough times too, growing us in one way or another.  I put her life experience in perspective of her relationship with God and her life journey and what she would be able to derive from the seemingly negative experiencing she’s been having for a long time.  She, I think, took that in and had a revelation from it. Hopefully 😊

So, I hope that did help, for sure. I felt like I answered the call to invite her over for sure. A win for me. I hope it was good for her, too. I think it was. I think knowing you are wanted on some level always helps, too, and knowing someone cares enough to ask and listen and maybe pray for you makes people feel accepted too, and supported, both which are important. So, a win-win.

 I think what was interesting is when I lay in bed last night, I thought of ways to be more neighborly and check on her like today after her cataract surgery. I did and she was not home, but it felt good to think of ways to be good to someone. I am glad to have “loved my neighbor,” literally, yesterday. I was pleased by her coming over and I hope that she was too.

I am pleased to have followed through on the call to be neighborly and hospitable both by Joyce and by God. God comes through on those prayers for helping others, doesn’t He? I think he was smiling and pleased. 😊

Joyce would have been proud 😊


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