My verses for the year are Ephesians 5:1-2, which are about imitating God. That has led me to meditate and read about the character of God so that I will know what I am supposed to be imitating. Last Sunday, our pastor preached on the Biblical concept of imitating other, more mature believers (and being imitate-able yourself). This led to some great conversation in our care group and then last night the subject of mentoring came up in a discussion with a group of friends. Since this subject has come up a lot for me lately, I felt led to share a few thoughts with you about it.
As a child, I was always told that there will always be someone who knows more than you and there will always be someone who knows less than you. There’s a lot of truth to that.
A mentor is simply someone you can learn from. They don’t have to be perfect. (As a matter of fact, I can say authoritatively that they won’t be perfect!) They just need to know a little more than you do. A while back, I read this great quote about mentoring that describes what a mentor is. It helped me to realize that you don’t have to be in a formal mentoring relationship to have (or be) a mentor.
I think we all need mentors. After all, who among us can say that she doesn’t need to learn something? If there’s a more mature Christian woman around you, don’t be afraid to ask her advice or to learn from just watching her life. And by mature, I don’t mean in physical years. Even someone younger than you may have walked with the Lord longer or may be especially gifted in an area and you can learn from them. Don’t let pride get in the way of your spiritual growth!
On the flip side, if you think you are not qualified to mentor someone, think again. Look around you and find someone who knows less than you do and teach them everything you know. It’s as simple as that. Sometimes people will approach you and ask for help or advice. This is God’s not-so-subtle prompting for you to teach/mentor them, at least in this one area. Sometimes you have to look for someone who could use an encouraging word or a helping hand in a given situation. The key is to be available and be in tune to those around you so that you are aware when there is a need.
Mentoring doesn’t have to be a formal, time-consuming relationship. In all honesty, most women naturally seek out these types of nurturing relationships, so you may be mentoring someone and not even realize it. It’s just a natural part of living and serving as a Christian woman in the church.
So what about you? Do you have a mentor (or several)? Do you mentor others (either formally or informally)? If so, what is the biggest blessing you’ve received through those relationships and what advice would you give to other women who want to mentor or be mentored?