Refrigerator Rights

Sometimes I’m so excited to gather people to something I’m not even sure what I’m gathering them TO.

Erin has heard “Oh… I forgot to tell you but I invited some people over, in like an hour” I don’t know how many times. She’s very patient and GETS to live with me.

“How many people?” she makes the mistake of asking.

“Like a lot? Sorry.”

Am I really sorry? No, because people are coming over and I lovepeople (not to mistake loving for liking people. Some people’s own moms don’t like them).

I hate an empty room. I hate the thought of someone missing out on something that would be good for them. Let the introverts come at least for a little while, then they can go home and recover after all that “wasted small talk”. Connection with your people is never really wasted even if it takes work sometimes.

We showed some media at Venue once where an introvert was approaching a meeting with someone and ranting desperately (all alone of course) that they didn’t really want to go, and openly relieved when the other person cancelled.

Introverts are weird and need to be forced to hang out with me. I’ll make them like hanging out with people, I love impossible jobs:)

We went over to one of the small group couples we hang out with and rang the doorbell. Aaron came to the door with an odd look on his face “Why didn’t you just walk in??”.


Not to say everyone should just walk into our home whenever, but there are some who have what we call “Refrigerator Rights”.

Hungry? Thirsty? Walk over to the fridge and help yourself.

Sadly, refrigerator rights are becoming less and less common. There was a time when we actually lived life with the people around us but now we mostly just have the illusion of it.

In the same way as peace being the absence of conflict is an illusion, so is the thinking that being around or having access to people is the same thing as connection with them.

Litmus test: You’re having a problem in your marriage and pick up the phone, how many people can you call who will honestly tell you what you need to hear?

If the answer is zero (and it likely is) there is a better life waiting for you.

If you call and complain about your spouse that’s called gossip and they’re not real friends. Real friends don’t gossip about other people’s spouses and commiserate with you because they don’t gossip about their own spouses and commiserate with themselves. If you call and they tell you what youcould consider working on that’s a friend you keep.

Some people don’t know how to be good friends yet and that’s ok. But they can’t help you when things fall apart, and you don’t know whether you have the right connections until things do fall apart, but then it’s too late to create new habits and you’ll just do what you’ve always done.

Life without true connection is like being legally married and never kissing. Are you still married? Yes. Is it a good marriage? Doesn’t sound like it.

“I have friends but no refrigerator rights”. Is it the type of friendship that will sustain your soul? Doesn’t sound like it.

Here’s one that will make you mad: “I believe in God but don’t go to church, or don’t go often.” There are literally a million promises of God (not really, but a crazy amount that I didn’t want to have to count) to make your life better that can’t be fulfilled unless you get next to people he has carefully planned to do life with you.

It’s not just you and Jesus I’m afraid, unless he’s some sort of Franken-Jesus who changed his mind about everything he said regarding community because it makes Introvert You uneasy. Real Jesus doesn’t sit and stay and make you feel comfortable all the time.

As a parent you make your own kids uneasy especially when they start avoiding the very relationships that will save them in the end.

“Mom is NOT an option honey. Not if you want to eat and live indoors.”

So if you consider yourself a God-person this summer, maybe it’s time to quit telling yourself you’d go to church when church people get their act together and do what you’re really afraid of: RISK having to be around flawed people again. The last thing I’d want is everybody at Venue to somehow become unflawed and perfect because then I wouldn’t be allowed anymore and that would be weird. What we’re really afraid of is someone seeing our flaws, but that’s probably the only way to live free in the end.

And I wouldn’t recommend “church shopping” because you’ll tend to pick a place that suits your current consumer mentality. It could be a family you know, but the question to ask is “what would be the best place for my family to be challenged to grow?” One doesn’t google review one’s family if one has my Irish mother. That would be a one way ticket on the You Just Said WHAT!?? train. That train still scares me.

If you’re not a God person yet what groups would be best to get around this summer? If you wait until Fall your schedule will throw you together with the same people that didn’t sustain your soul last year. Having good friends and being a good friend is hard work, but worth every minute.

Refrigerator Rights is the way to go if you ask me, they’ll have your back when you need it….

You’ll have to up your grocery budget though…

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