As I begin to write about mentoring, I wonder why you are choosing to read it. Are you longing for someone to mentor you - to help you figure out how to figure out how to do this life that seems more complicated the older you get? Or are you wondering how to be a mentor - seeking guidance about how to get started or what to do next? More than likely it's the first set of reasons. We all long to have a mentor, but cannot imagine ever feeling put together enough to be a mentor.
This past semester our church college ministry (Yay, CCO!) invited church members to mentor a student or two. One young woman, requested me specifically as a mentor, so I was approached and asked to do so. Friends, I am the kind of person who wants to help everybody all the time everywhere. I know that I cannot do so, and have been in a season of saying "no" to a lot of things. But I knew this was supposed to be a YES! We were paired up, and the church provided us with a wonderful little book called The Gospel-Centered Life to work through together through the spring semester.
Let me tell you why this book was so wonderful: it hurt! Every chapter and activity not only probed my mentee's heart, but it cut through my defenses as well. Together we shared about our sin, where we get tripped up most often, what embarrasses us, how hard some of our relationships are. Apart we tried putting into practice things we were learning, because we knew God had good in store for us and we have confidence that He can transform us. Together we would marvel at the goodness of God and the beauty of the Gospel. Apart we'd pray for one another and send texts during the week to encourage one another or just to say, "Hey, friend!"
And that's the best thing I learned through this mentoring experience! When God invites us into someone's life as a mentor, it's not about dumping our life-experience or knowledge into them from a distance. It's about sharing life together in an intentional way. It's about being the real you, so together you get to see that God is at work in the ordinary and through the imperfect folks He calls to be His own.
Your church may not have an official mentoring program, but I know there's a gal or a guy (if you're a male reading this) out there who would love it if you'd invite them out for coffee or over for dinner (or whatever dudes like to do). How desperately we all want to know and be known by another; we spend so much time in this life pretending. Someone coming along behind you wants a relationship with someone a few steps ahead of them to run alongside them and cheer them on.
I'll leave the prompting and the details up to the Holy Spirit, but in summary, here's the deal:
- To be a mentor, all you need to be is YOU. I firmly believe you are the best at that!
- To be a mentor, you don't even need to use the word mentor. Simply pursue a relationship intentionally.
- To be a mentor, walk with the Lord yourself each day. He provides all we need to grab the hand of another and sojourn from here into eternity, or at least for a semester!
- To be a mentor, an outside resource can be a great help. My friend and I are going to read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis "together" while she's home with her family this summer.
K, all! I don't have time to really proofread this, so it is what it is! Haha. Have a blessed day and may the Lord lead you to that person or group of people who need a relationship with you, for the sake of the King and His kingdom.