We’ve all heard the importance of living by the mantra of “People Over Projects.” People and relationships are the marrow of life that all of our lives should be working toward building, growing, and connecting to.
I would imagine many of you are like me though, in that you are task-driven, and get fulfillment about being able to mark things off of your checklist. And so you struggle with the idea of “People Over Projects” and how it doesn’t work like a checklist.
If we know deep-down that creating a life of significance comes from impacting the lives of people through relationships, how can we shift ourselves from pursuing tasks to instead focus on people? I think this comes from giving up our refrigerator rights.
Refrigerator rights are given to the people who can come into our home and open our fridge to eat or drink anything they want without having to ask and without us thinking otherwise.
And here’s the sad reality most of us live in: We’ve given no one outside of our immediate family refrigerator rights.
I know I haven’t.
Refrigerator rights aren’t given to people through a short 5 minute conversation. Everyone tells friends “make yourself at home” as they enter the home, but how many of us actually spend enough time with people in order for them to know that your house is also their home.
Beyond this, refrigerator rights can’t be given away either. These rights are fostered through sharing time and space with people. It’s a mindset that people who spend time with you know that you care enough about them to let them have a piece of you. They’re the people who are vulnerable with you about how life really is.
People who have refrigerator rights from us have experienced a taste of the Divine through our presence in their lives.
Most of us have resigned ourselves to casual friendships that rarely go beyond the surface level of conversation around the upcoming weekend, the weather, the local sports teams, or how our kids are doing.
Some of us have done such a poor job pursuing people that just having a casual conversation would be a step in the right direction.
I’ve yet to meet a wise person who taught the importance of valuing projects over people. Every older and wiser person who has shared advice with me has always spoke toward pursuing relationships with people.
I wonder how our lives would be shaped differently if we had a goal to “give” refrigerator rights to 10 people this year? What we would have to do in order to invite people into our lives and in our homes, not for the sake of casual conversation, but to begin sharing life with them in a way that led to them becoming part of the family.
I think if this open-handed sharing of life started to take place, we’d be well on our way to living a richer and more significant life than we ever have before.
Go ahead, give up your refrigerator rights. Give them away to several people. It won’t be easy, but you’ll start living into the abundant life God designed for us.