In July I hired my neighbor, Lucy, age 8. I remembered when I was 8 or so, I cleaned my neighbor’s bathtub and another neighbor’s good silver. They paid me. I figured Lucy might want some spending money and her mom might want some time to spend alone. Lucy dusts and scrubs base boards (not her favorite) and polishes things. I give her $5.00 and she just works an hour. It’s a form of mentoring. She likes to talk and I work alongside. Here’s Lucy.
How do you find the right mentoring match? You ask. You pray. You listen. And check your base boards.
I don’t mentor every young woman who comes into my life. Nor do I think I should mentor every one who asks. It’s an individual decision for me and I’ve not always been wise about becoming a mentor nor being mentored.
When I was first married, I was looking for help (isn’t every new bride?) I met a gal at church and was impressed with her sweet spirit and love for the Lord. I asked her to begin meeting with me before I really knew her.
Almost before we got going, I sensed that I couldn’t respect her interpretation of Scripture nor the way she related to her husband. I didn’t want to become who she had become. Now that’s a red flag! Somehow I managed to gracefully remove myself from the mentor/mentee relationship that I had started! (Lord, forgive my impulsiveness!) but it was a good lesson, which I pass on to you:
Know the person fairly well before committing to a long-term relationship.
Take your time.
Pray before you invite.
If interested in getting to know someone better, get together casually first to see if she’s one from whom you want to learn. Watch her from afar and up close: How does she view Scripture? How does she relate to her husband? Other women? Her children? Her church? And if possible, observe how she deals with conflict, personal disappointment or job challenges. Think of some good “interview” questions so that you get to know her thoughts on areas in which you want to grow.
For example, ask her:
What has caused you to grow most as a believer in the last year?
What is most challenging in your extended family relationships?
How do you keep your marriage fresh and alive?
How do you deal with anger or disappointment?
Do you ever question your faith?
No one is perfect and that’s not what I’m saying. I am saying I jumped in too quickly and I was more careful the next time. When you ask a probing question, you can receive insight needed to make a wise decision.
The mentoring relationships that have worked longest and best are based on love, support and honest sharing. I might go so far as to say they are best when you’re both members of a “mutual admiration society.” You simply like each other to begin with, and you find yourself comfortable sharing your vulnerabilities, hopes and dreams.
As Scripture says:
And, above everything else, be truly loving, for love is the golden chain of all the virtues. Colossians 3:14 Phillips
You may know you are ready to pour God’s love on to another person, but you are wondering what is the best way to find that person.
Which works best: an organic almost accidental meet and mentor, or following a program that’s planned with great intention?
Either can be great. Either can be used by God. The idea is to pray and begin.
—Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide to Coming Alongside Available now.
Thanking God again today for my mentor and friend, Laurie. I asked her for research help twenty years ago. And she stayed. Always praying. Always believing. Always at my table and usually paying the tab. #grateful
Laurie babysat my newborn so I could teach Bible study. Now she prays for all my kids. As semi-adults, they need it even more. (Or that would be me, needing it even more.)
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