This is almost a guest post. I say almost because I’m writing an intro and a conclusion, but the core ideas – the meat of this post – are the result of Irina and Peter – two people that have inspired me.
Last week I posted a blog titled Major Confession Time. If you didn’t get a chance to read it (or thought it was boring) here is a one-paragraph summary:
The other day I was confronted with the question: “Daniel, who was the last unbeliever you built a relationship with?” The answer: “it had been years.” I’m completely caught up in a Christian bubble, and I’m missing out on the opportunity to influence the world.
I ended the blog asking the question: how do I change this? How do I break my Christian bubble and begin building relationships with unbelievers? Irina and Peter took the time to answer, and their responses were inspiring. Here is what they had to say:
“Yeah, that can get tough! Our society is always on the go, so it doesn’t really give us the best opportunity to build relationships. I have had the same struggle…
What if you start scheduling normal everyday things (i.e. grocery store, coffee shop, diner, etc.) maybe at a less busy time? That way, your chances of running into the same person or worker will increase, and will give the room for a gradual friendship to be built.
From my experience as a waitress at a diner, I would say that even with those that would come in every weekend and be seated in my section, I had the opportunity to gradually build a friendship. TIP: come in when business is slow. It made a huge difference when customers actually took the time to look at my name badge, refer to me by name, and look at me when ordering – instead of muttering their order from behind the menu. Sets a totally different vibe and makes servers feel acknowledged as a person.”
“Wow, I’m totally there with you on this, but a bit different. I’ll be praying for you! I don’t have the answer. God might just change your schedule, or put people in your life. Do you go to the bank or store? Start a relationship with the people you will see often in your life, like the guy ringing up your food at the store, go to the same person every time you check out.”
I love Irina and Peter’s responses because they’re practical, and yet no one does it. No one takes the extra minute to ask a cashier about his or her day. No one takes the extra step to learn a waitress’ name or look her in the eyes while ordering. Well I guess it’s not true to say “no one” because the customers that stick out in Irina’s mind were the one’s that took the time to learn her name.
Is it really possible that making a difference in the lives of other people, building relationships with strangers, and influencing the world comes down to taking a few extra minutes to make eye contact with a waitress? I think Irina and Peter are on to something.
What do you think? Continue the conversation by commenting below…