Friday, December 4, 2015

3 Shifts of Thought to Help You Find a Mentor

I went through a long season of passionate career goals. I can still remember how it began.  Just months after the birth of our son, I walked through the doors of an exciting office environment, still plump with maternity weight, and accepted the invitation to recognition, appreciation, and “status.”  

When I entered the workplace, I over-confidently considered myself a follower of Jesus Christ, fully capable of balancing professional and family lives. In my fancy suits and high heeled shoes, I turned my focus on job performance, promotions, increasing income, and corporate success. Family, health, and even God slowly began to take a back seat.

During those years, I developed close friendships with several women in the workplace who gradually influenced me toward new age thinking, astrology, mysticism, and other “isms” that pulled me away from Christ.

Slowly, subtly, and without my realization of what was happening, my new friends persuaded me to question my faith and doubt the sovereignty of God.  That wasn’t their goal. They were simply sharing their views. They were smart, savvy, and successful. I was young, outnumbered, an ill-equipped debater, and tucked my own beliefs away without a fight. I began to believe as they believed. They had a significant influence on me. 

Decades later, I realize there was something that could have helped me hold fast to my faith during this unrecognized assault:  a mentor.  I needed a friend who could point me back to truth, remind me to stand firm in my spiritual armor, and pray for me as I walked through the office-disguised minefield. A mentor could help me navigate conversations that were happening at work and model the “how-to’s” of abiding in Christ, even when it was not easy.

I needed a friend who would share her successes and struggles by allowing me to learn from what she’d faced through her own experiences. I needed female accountability to help me stay true to my commitment to grow with God, and surrender to my need for complete dependence on Him. 

Finding a Mentor

It’s not always easy to find a mentor.  We may imagine someone with similar likes and interests, one who is several years older but has found success doing exactly the things we dream of accomplishing ourselves.   

For instance… 

Maybe you imagine a Christian mentor who manages a household with abundant love and an absence of anger. You hope for someone who conquers clutter, can teach you to quilt, and once produced a house full of well-behaved, neatly dressed children. Just being next to her will deepen your walk with Christ. You envision her linen closet with symmetrically folded fitted sheets aligned neatly on the shelves.  Of course, she loves photography just like you.  

If you’re career oriented, your imagined mentor might work in the same profession as you.  She uses only Erin Condren calendars, is an effective communicator, and finds time every day to spend with God. She’s a master at multi-tasking, can not only hold her own in a boardroom full of testosterone, but earns great respect. She thrives in a peaceful, laughter-filled marriage with her best friend. 

I hope you’re beginning to see one of the reasons finding a mentor can be difficult:  We set our expectations far too high. 

3 Shifts of Thought to Help

Once I understood these realities, I shifted my thinking, and finding a mentor became much easier to consider:

1) Your Mentor may be someone you already know but haven’t considered.  God ordained you for this particular time and place. Where you live and who you know are part of His sovereign plan.  Therefore, the mentor who best suits you is likely someone in your own church, workplace, or town.  Or, she may be a friend who lives a fair distance away but can communicate regularly and easily through technology like Skype or FaceTime.  I don’t believe that God placed your perfect mentor across the world and will make you move mountains to meet her or wake at 2 am to talk with her.   

2) It’s highly unlikely that your mentor will share all of your interests, dreams, and ambitions.  She may not have had her life together in her early years and may have missed the class on how to fold a fitted sheet.  (Maybe that’s something you can teach her).  Searching for a mentor with a heart for Jesus, one who has learned from some hard knocks in life, and can help you grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, will produce a great choice.  

3) A mentor may not be your mentor forever. The most intimate time of your relationship may be for a season, not a lifetime.  Lord willing, she will forever be your friend and provide trusted counsel, but perhaps God chose her to mentor you only through a specific time or circumstance. When considering a mentoring relationship, be careful not to cloud it with weighty expectations of forever-ness. Longevity is an extra gift, not a guarantee.

Once your’ve cast aside the notion that you’ll never find a mentor, ask the Lord to place a potential mentor on your heart.  Ask that He bring her name or face to your thoughts and allow time for His answer.  I believe you’ll soon recognize that “so-and-so” has been on your mind for a few days and you’ll recognize this as the Lord’s prompting.  Pray again - that the Lord will prepare her heart for your invitation and then ask if she’ll become your mentor.  

Many have mentoring or discipleship groups within church congregations.  If that’s you, by all means, allow them to help! Get involved when the opportunity presents itself. 

Finding a mentor and walking shoulder-to-shoulder with her through the challenges of life is an element of God’s best that’s not only essential, it’s commanded in Titus 2:3-5. God prepares us for these types of relationships, whether we serve in a role of mentor, mentee, or - like me - both. The Lord will faithfully provide women to model and mentor to us if we’re willing to seek them out. He’ll present women in our lives who need our loving influence as well. 

All those years ago, in the midst of my spiritual free fall, the Lord sent an unexpected mentor right to my office doorstep. I didn’t realize I’d needed her, but she was His gift to me.  One day I hired a sweet, young receptionist for our office who “happened” to live and breathe Jesus Christ.  She was younger than me in physical age, but had more spiritual maturity. When she began work in my office, she immediately began pointing me back to Christ and had a profound influence on my Christian walk. I’m grateful beyond words. 

A faithful mentor is priceless.  Trust that God has one for you, then watch carefully and go out and find her!


I am still occasionally in contact with some of the women from the office team I mentioned, and love them deeply. I pray for them and have since shared my faith and my surrender to Christ. Only the Lord knows if they’ll accept His invitation to follow Him. 

Your Turn:

How has a mentor influenced you for God’s glory?

Or how has the absence of a mentor left a void?

Continue the conversation by leaving a comment below or engaging on Facebook or Twitter. 

Be Strengthened Today By His Word,
Psalm 119:28


No comments:

Post a Comment