Community... Hospitality... Intentional Living...
These thoughts have been resonating in my mind over the past year. God has placed them in my heart and I've been searching for some way for them to all come together. Searching for a way to fully embrace living the life God is giving me, right in the middle of the day-to-day mundanes. I don't want more special events to fill my calendar. I want relationships. I want my child to see her father and I living out the gospel before her eyes.
I want to open my doors, my heart, and my family to what He's waiting to pour through us. I want the blessings he has showered onto our family to be poured out to others. Let's put a stop to the meaningless chit-chat and get real with one another. Let's be vulnerable and honest and excited about life together.
What if we went beyond talking about landscaping and traffic on the street and really got to know our neighbors? What if we invited people in to our homes to move beyond being acquaintances and give them the opportunity to become real friends? What if we stopped caring about what denomination we are or they are or what silly lines divide us on Sunday mornings and started encouraging each other in our real journeys of faith?
That's exactly what we're doing on our street. We have become one of the many nationwide IF:Tables. Each month four couples on our street meet together over a meal to get to know each other. While the kids run around like little adorable, wild banshees, we talk about what's going on in our lives and in our souls. We're only two months in and have already laid out some big dreams and fears on the table. Only two months in and neighbors are becoming real friends in Christ. Dreams are being encouraged and fears are being neutralized, all while the children play and run around in costumes pretending to be superheroes and villains.
This is what it means to live out your faith. Faith isn't built in big productions or limited to Sundays or special events. It's built when you live out the gospel. Love your neighbor as yourself. Let's do that... Literally. Let's love on our neighbors and just see what happens. Let's see what happens when the friendly nod or wave as you pass each other on the street or see each other at the mail boxes transforms into an open invitation to come inside for a cup of coffee, a meal, a conversation... all while the kids play.
We're busy. We have kids. We have demanding careers and commitments to balance. We have never ending projects going on in the house. We have excuses... Or we have reasons to be intentional in living out Christ's commands.
How can we love our neighbors when we bury ourselves in excuses? These neighbors have decided the excuses don't work anymore. Sure we have logistics we have to work around, but do just that. We work around them. We find a night on the calendar. We let the kids play and eat while we sit around the table and talk. We pass around the paint brushes and ladders and electrical wiring and help each other out with the home projects. All the while, we laugh, we talk, we dream, we encourage, we love each other.
This IF:Table concept is so simple. It seems hard to grasp onto because it doesn't come with a long set of rules and restrictions to play by. It's not a big organized event. It's dinner with a handful of friends, once a month, with four conversation starter questions centered around a short devotional type of topic. Two months in and I'm sold. I'm a firm believer that it really is this simple to live out the gospel.