Do It Scared
I’ve knocked on hundreds of my neighbors’ doors to invite total strangers into my home for an Open House followed by a women’s Bible study.
And I’ve been scared every single time.
It does get easier, but it’s never easy. Sure, I’m an extrovert, but I fear rejection just like you. I’m busy just like you. I need to clean my house just just like you (no judgment).
So if you’re thinking of loving your neighbor this way, I can safely assume you might be scared, too. And my best advice is:
Do it scared.
I’ve helped women around the world overcome their fears and walk down the sidewalk into the lives of their neighbors. Every single one of them was scared.
I’m afraid no one will come. I’m afraid everyone will come! I’m afraid this will take all my time. I’m afraid I’m not qualified. I’m afraid I’ll be rejected. I’m afraid I’ll fail.
We figured out the answers as this crazy idea grew into an international ministry called The Neighborhood Cafe. If you’re interested, everything you need to get started is right HERE.
And if not, I’d still gently suggest (ok, not gently) that you need to find a way to love your neighbor in a way that’s not weird to you (or them). Here’s a suggestion from my favorite little book that tells us everything we need to know about how to love our neighbor:
…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the HOPE that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…
1 Peter 3:15 ESV
Did you notice that this verse begins in the middle of a sentence?
The first word (“…but”) links this verse to what came before it, so let’s back up just a bit for the rest of the story—
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, BUT…
1 Peter 3:13-15a
Peter wrote these words to the church at a time when you could be seriously harmed—even killed—for being zealous for good, for God. Christians were forced into colosseums to fight to the death with wild dogs and lions. They were tied to stakes and lit on fire like candles in Roman gardens at night. They were turned in by their neighbors and even their families. In fact, Peter was later crucified because of his faith in Jesus—and so was his wife.
Loving Jesus—and your neighbor—wasn’t just inconvenient, it was dangerous. In many parts of the world, this is still the case. Yet even when our faith in Christ is a life-threatening condition, Peter’s comforting advice is, “Have no fear of them. Do not be troubled.”
The word Peter wrote in Greek for “have no fear” is phobos, like phobia. We’re all too familiar with fears like these:
- Pathophobia – Fear of disease
- Anthropophobia – Fear of people or society
- Trypanophobia – Fear of needles/injections
- Atychiphobia – Fear of failure
- Autophobia – Fear of being alone
Instead, Peter teaches us not to be afraid of suffering. He told the early church, and he tells us today, not to anxious or distressed, disturbed, or terrified to make much of Jesus even if it means we could be ridiculed, rejected, ostracized, and even tortured or crucified. Suffering is universal but your story is unique—and your neighbor needs to hear it.
This is where we find life’s greatest blessing:
when we risk everything to follow Jesus—
then go tell a neighbor.
In solidarity with the early church and The Church around the world, do it scared. We risk someone biting our head off; they risk someone cutting their head cut off! Peter knew the challenges of loving God and our neighbor… and reminded us that the risk is worth the reward.
“What will we talk about?” is the third or fourth question someone asks me when they’re considering hosting a Neighborhood Cafe. There are countless amazing resources that will engage your neighbors! CLICK HERE for some of my favorites.
I’ve had the amazing privilege to meet each of these authors personally and can recommend any of their books confidently. I’m a huge fan my friend Kathi Lipp because her books are practical for daily life and appealing to all women, regardless of their faith in God (or lack thereof). So when she sent me an advance copy of An Abundant Place, her newest book with Cheri Gregory, I wanted to share the love.
Simply interact with any content on my blog or social media with a follow, like, comment, or share (tag @amylively) on any post between January 4-14, 2022 and you’ll be entered to win this beautiful hardback book of devotional mini-retreats that provide a momentary refuge from your busy world and take you to a more abundant place!