Getting Unstuck: The Key Relationship You've Been Missing
Updated: Jun 1, 2019
I’ll never forget my first day of college orientation. After a day packed with games, tours, and slide presentations, I was assigned a college mentor. She was sweet, hip, and chatty.
But during our first meeting, I froze.
“I’d never had a mentor. What do I say? How do I act?” No doubt she felt the same way.
You guessed it. The relationship, though warm, fizzled.
Still, how many times did I long to talk to someone a little older with perspective that comes only through experience? Peer relationship are invaluable, but let’s face it, sometimes you need to speak with someone who’s been there.
Fast forward to four years ago when I met an older woman named Elaine at church. She listened to my story, asked thoughtful questions, and a friendship formed on the spot. Elaine is now someone I text prayer requests to and call without hesitation. I know she’s praying for me and will eagerly offer her wisdom and perspective.
The difference? My college mentor experience was a formula. What I have with Elaine is a friendship. This is key.
Since meeting Elaine, I have even more friendships with older women. They encourage me when I want to give up, answer questions about marriage and parenting, and spur me closer to Christ. Frankly, I cannot imagine life without them! I also have relationships with younger women, where I’ve taken the role of mentor (though oddly, I rarely use the word).
Getting to this place required that I RETHINK mentoring - that I scrap the idea of forced and formal conversations and view mentoring with fresh eyes. Here’s what I’ve discovered:
Is GOD’s IDEA, not the world’s: Mentoring is not a creation of corporate America or even the church. It is God’s design. In Titus 2, Paul said, “Older women are to teach what is good and so train the young women...(Titus 2:3-5).
Is for ANYONE, not just the spiritually elite: I’ve talked to countless women who avoid mentoring because they feel unqualified. However, Paul’s qualifications do not include ministry experience or living a perfect life. And really, aren’t mistakes great places to teach from? Paul’s qualification was that the older woman live a godly life (Titus 2:3).
Is A FRIENDSHIP, not a formula: Mentoring isn’t about complicated programs with rigid guidelines. And although programs and guidelines may be helpful, mentorship is friendship.
Ultimately moves you toward a Person, not a place. This is not about personal achievement and career development. Biblical mentoring is about linking arms with someone in a different season of life and pursuing Jesus together.
Think with me: How would your life be different if you had someone you could reach out to for godly wisdom, perspective, and prayer?
Or perhaps you’ve lived some life and God has taught you lessons along the way. How would your life be different if you cultivated a friendship with someone younger?
Who comes to your mind? Who could you contact this week? What’s at stake?
Let me encourage you to take a step, reach out in love, and watch what God does!