Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
Ten years ago, I was in a season of life in which I was a shell of my former self. I had just gone through a breakup that had changed the course of my life. I didn’t know who I was as a woman. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, where I wanted to live, or who my friends were. I was lost. I wasn’t sleeping well. I cried constantly. I was a mess.
My offices were down the hall from E! (Media) at the time, and I often saw Jason in the small kitchen when I was heating up coffee or grabbing a snack. Jason and I weren’t yet friends beyond our casual run-ins in the kitchen or hallways. During this time, I had started to use the hallways as a place to collect myself when I didn’t want to cry in my office. And Jason noticed that I, the hallway girl, wasn’t well. My eyes were visibly puffy from all the tears. Jason didn’t owe me anything-we were basically strangers. He could have turned a blind eye and gone about his day.
Instead, he chose to talk to me and invite me to his Bible study! He didn’t ask me a single question about why I was upset; he simply extended his hand to me.
There, I was greeted with smiles and hugs and a discussion that was so relatable and relevant to my life. I felt like I was surrounded by like-minded people who were filled with hope and happiness. That night turned my life around, and I’ll never be able to thank Jason enough for what he did. At that Bible study I also met Raquelle, one of my best friends (and, the co-author of our new book). I finally found something that felt right, and that is where my relationship with God and my journey as a Christian truly began.
I Thessalonians 5:14 reminds us that ministry is not entirely up to spiritual leaders. We are all called to cheer up the disheartened, not give up on the idle, and encourage those who feel weak.
Go out of your way today to extend a hand to someone outside your circle.
Find someone who looks like they need a friend, invite them to your weekly game night, Bible study, or grab a quick cup of coffee. You never know how big of an impact a small gesture can make on someone’s life.
I encourage you to create your own safe haven for others. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, but something weekly or bimonthly or even monthly can provide consistency, friendship, and a safe place for people in your life. Consistency is the key. Here are some ideas:
1. Taco Tuesdays. Creating an event for people to know that even if everything feels like it’s going wrong in their lives, they have a happy and safe space to be at least once a week.
2. Sunday picnics at the park. Potluck picnic with a speaker afterward.
3. Friday game nights. Play board games, card games, video games. Group together to attend sporting events—whatever your heart desires.
4. Bible Study. I had a couple of women’s Bible study groups that would meet at restaurants around town every other week. It was fun to get to know the girls and explore the restaurants in our city.
*For further reflection, listen to 1 Thessalonians 1 today.
- 1 Thessalonians 1
Adapted from THE SUNSHINE MIND by TANYA RAD & RAQUELLE STEVENS. Copyright @ JANUARY 31, 2022 BY TANYA RAD & RAQUELLE STEVENS. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.
To listen to Tanya Rad’s interview with Jenny Steinbach on “How Tanya Rad’s Relationship with God Began” click here.