How can we provide encouragement to one another?
“Encourage one another daily” (Heb. 3:13)
A year ago, I had a life-changing conversation. A few months before Following the Red Bird was scheduled to be published, I spoke with literary agent and coach, Rachelle Gardner. I told her that things were on track: I had a wonderful publisher and the book would be released that June. But I was struggling with the question of why I was publishing the book and putting it out in the world. I wasn’t an expert at how to “do” religion or what it means to be a Christian. In my day job, having expertise on a given subject is what’s valued. When it comes to faith, I am still such a neophyte. Rachelle reassured me that this is okay. In this case, she said, the point was to share my story so that perhaps it would provide some encouragement to others. We all need encouragement, she reminded me. Part of our job in our faith journeys is to encourage one another on the path.
A year later, I remain enormously grateful for Rachelle’s wise words and for all of the encouragement and support I have received from so many of you. Publishing Following the Red Bird was one of the scariest thing I’ve ever done, and I truly could not have done it without all of the kindness, thoughtful feedback, challenging questions, patience, generosity, and love that so many of you have provided.
As I approach the one-year anniversary of the book launch, I invite you to join me in reflecting on the topic of encouragement. In the Bible, God explicitly commands us to provide encouragement to one another (1 Thess. 4:18, 5:11; Heb. 3:13). In your own life, how do you give and receive encouragement?
- How can we encourage one another in our prayer lives?
- How can we encourage each other as we attempt to listen for and discern how God may be calling us next?
- How can our social justice work and service be Spirit-led instead of ego-driven or anger-filled? How can we encourage one another to be peacemakers in this world?
- How can we encourage each other in times of darkness or doubt?
- How we encourage one another to live into Jesus’ mandate that we love our neighbors as ourselves?
- How can we encourage each other to embrace God’s gift of Sabbath rest in a 24-7 world?
- How can we encourage one another with careful listening and sometimes by asking the tough questions?
Over the next two months, I invite you to send me your reflections about this topic. I will be gathering the responses I receive and posting a selection of them on my website and on my author page on Facebook. Please keep your responses to about a paragraph or less in length. If you’d like to write a longer reflection as a guest blogger, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to receiving your thoughts!