Jump-Start Your Heart

Neighborly Love, Part I

neighbor journal quote with pic

Point to Ponder:
Who is closest to you that you need to start loving more?

iGnite Neissa

Neissa Brown Springmann

In the recent journal, Let Your Family and Friends Love You Through It, I wrote about the importance of letting your family and friends love you through difficult times. For sure it was through the love and support of family and friends that I was able to get through my slump, however I also did something that was 100% selfish, as I knew it would jump start my heart and contribute to feeling more purposeful, joyful and back on my game.

As I was the midst of feeling sorry for myself and missing family and friends, Valentine’s Day was also approaching so I decided to write decorative love and gratitude letters to these special people. This was on Wednesday morning, at which I got up early so I could start my note writing. Prior to writing, I prayed and asked God to bless my time and wow… did He ever! Both of my kids slept until 9:30 a.m., giving me plenty of uninterrupted time to write and express my love.The result was that I felt like me again. I was energetic, joyful and filled with love!

Then, after writing and decorating the notes and getting in the Valentine spirit, it dawned on me that while missing everyone in Texas, I DO have friends in San Diego. In fact, I have eight friends that I can love on–in my love language– the way I am wired to love. What I determined was that the blues that I experienced were in large part caused by not loving on people. And so, the kids and I went on a tulip and Dollar Store shopping spree, where we loaded up on tulips and Valentine’s decorations. Over the course of Friday and Saturday, my partners in crime and I delivered tulips to their preschool teachers and my new friends, as well as Valentine’s treats to the kids’ friends. To top it off, we decorated the front doors of our friends’ homes too. We went a little crazy and drove all around San Diego, but man did it feel good to be able to express my love and gratitude. Not only did it boost my spirit, but it also wore the kids out! (YAY! A quiet moment!!) Here are some snapshots:

The finale to our day of spreading love was a stop at Russell, my husband’s office. He and the USD men’s basketball staff were out of town, so it made for an ideal decorating opportunity. As I’ve mentioned in previous journals, he is the recipient of my leftovers. I am not proud to admit that doing extra special things for him is most often not my priority. Shamefully, because we are married and I know he’s always going to be there, without a doubt I take him for granted and I do not invest in him the way that I do our children, my friendships, and even iGnite. So, as an effort to express my love to him and make him feel a priority, special and loved the same way I was hoping my friends would feel loved, the kids and I decorated his office. As you can see below, the end result would not have been featured in Martha Stuart. None-the-less, it was made with loving hands and a grateful spirit–by of which doing, filled me up!

During the month of March, the weekly journal focus is on neighborly love: doing kind things for your neighbors, getting to know your neighbors, and loving your neighbors despite your physical, political, financial, spiritual, and life differences. As it relates to this week, we are going to warm up by loving those who are closest to you, without the expectation of getting anything in return (like the reaction you are hoping for–that’s a hard one!). Whether this be your time, a note, a hug, a kiss, a verbal “thank you, I love you”, a listening ear or a helping hand, those all qualify as expressing neighborly love.

As you consider what you will do and to whom you will extend your neighborly love to, I encourage you to start inside your home and within your family. When I think about loving my neighbor, too often I think about my literal and physical neighbors, but in reality, our neighbors are also our spouses, our family members, the stranger we stand next to at the grocery store and the person living next door or down the street. They are even the people we don’t see eye to eye with and would rather snub or avoid, than say a kind “hello” to. As I have experienced and you may too, the act of expressing and giving love transforms the givers heart as much as it impacts the receivers. Maybe that’s why with hope, faith and love, the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

Action Item:
Everyday this week, say or do something to express your love to someone who is close to you.

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