1 Thessalonians is thought to be one of the earliest written books of the New Testament. In it we find Paul writing to a church he planted during the missionary journeys. As he begins the letter it opens with the familiar greeting and thanksgiving. In this case Paul is celebrating the faith of those in the church, and is praising the ways they have remained faithful in spite of persecution.
This opening makes me wonder what it would be like if someone wrote back to me, or the church I serve in. How would that old friend talk about the faithfulness they have seen in me, or the church? When we are in the midst of the struggle we can have an inaccurate picture of what is really happening. It is possible we would over estimate where we are. Thinking we had progressed more than we had. The other possibility is we have come farther in the journey than we realize. The letter from an old friend would bring clarity to that, and remind us of our connection to Christ.
It is important to take a step back from time to time and evaluate where you are at. It could mean inviting people you trust to offer such an evaluation. There is great value in getting an accurate portrait of what our journey looks like at this point in time.