Tag: Scary Close

I’m Thankful for Dental Floss…Really!

During the week of Thanksgiving, you will have the opportunity to hear from five guest bloggers. They will be sharing about reflections related to the holiday season. Today’s guest post comes from my wife Robyn Englert. She practices as a mental health therapist and loves spending time with her nieces and nephews. Additionally, she loves to walk and hike.

I have become increasingly thankful for dental floss over the years. The relief that follows the floss removing unwanted food particles is not always instant – at times there is more pressure, bleeding, or it takes more than a mere attempt for relief – but it comes. Additionally, the benefits of regular care have helped to prevent further damage and significant pain in my mouth. It is daily maintenance that seems tedious at times yet yields greater oral health.

Dental floss also serves as a metaphor for relationships in my life over the last ten plus years. The transitions from lifelong student to full-time employee, the journey from single woman to meeting the love of my life and not getting too freaked out, and many more that have passed and will come, are supported by trusted loved ones to help navigate.

These relationships help me to remove the particles that threatened complications, long-term pain, and distance. At times, I didn’t want to hear what these loved ones were saying but I knew they might have a point. The most challenging step for me was to begin to be vulnerable with safe people. To be known, I had to take healthy risks of sharing myself and moving beyond the image I wanted them to see.

Over this last year, I have participated in a book group with nine courageous women that highlights the value and significance of authentic relationships in my life. One of the books we just finished is Scary Close by Donald Miller (I highly recommend).

As we ventured into the materials I was challenged to be real, face the “grit” I have held on to and have been getting stuck on, and was encouraged to move through the gunk in my life by being authentic with these women.

One concept from this book is that we project an image of ourselves and who we want people to see based on our experiences. When there is a lack of authenticity, we are playing a part. After working through the book and life with these women, I have come to 100% agree with Donald Miller. He said:

Sometimes the story we’re telling the world isn’t half as endearing as the one that lives inside us (pg. 22)

While this is an ongoing process of developing and maintaining relationships, I am very thankful for these women and this opportunity to floss through life.

Photo credit by Maria Kaloudi.

4 Messages from Mentors

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.

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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.

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