We inherently look for guides. When we come to a fork in the road, it helps to have a person in our corner. They help us perceive our relationships and situations in a way that causes us to grow. Think of them as the coaches, Sherpa, and elders. Many of us have been aided by having a mentor.
As I look back over my life, I have noticed how God has placed the right mentors at the right time. These men walked with me during the mundane and major life transitions. They challenged and encouraged me to grow.
Throughout the scripture, we see these relationships; Elijah and Elisha, Mary and Elizabeth, Paul and Timothy. It seems that God places people in our lives at crucial moments to help us grow in grace. They don’t merely tell us what to do or take our side, but they point us to see how God calls us to become.
You might be considering finding a mentor. Many potential mentees and mentors do not begin this relationship because they wait for the invite from each other. If you sense a person could mentor you well, then take the first step in getting to know them. Conversely, if you think you could add value to a person with your experience, seek permission to mentor them.
The mentors in my life have offered me these four messages to grow:
1. “You’re not alone…”
This first message speaks of understanding. Mentors listen and recap your situations in a way you feel understood. The lie many of us have to deal with has to do with isolation. A mentor might offer their experience to you, but even more so they provide support. They help you get off the hamster wheel of your problem to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
2. “You can receive grace…”
We can critique ourselves more than anyone else. Donald Miller says this about grace in Scary Close, “Grace only sticks to our imperfections. Those who can’t accept their imperfections, can’t accept grace either.” A mentor invites us to recognize our flaws so we can receive grace to grow.
3. “You can hear the truth…”
There comes a point in all of our relationships when the truth comes out. The question about handling the truth from Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise hits us. Starting with grace, a mentor speaks the truth in love. We need to hear the truth because we at times avoid or have blinders to some of our issues. A mentor helps us shine the light on the darkness.
4. “You’re capable…”
Understanding leads to grace. Grace leads to truth. Each of these previous messages leads us to change. Sometimes we procrastinate or even when we realize the issue we don’t know where to start. A mentor does not feed us the answers to the tests of our lives. They encourage us and help us discover the steps to change. Most importantly, they partner with us through prayer so that the Holy Spirit can speak into our lives.
What messages have your mentors offered you? Share them in the comment section below.
Photo credit by Andreas Rønningen.