Mentors are valuable people who have the ability to encourage and push us forward in life. My first “official” role as a mentor was when a young woman asked me to mentor her as she went off to college. When she asked me, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I was eager to be a voice of encouragement in her life, so I agreed. In the months and years to follow, she often called me to ask for advice and counsel. Most of the time, she just needed a listening ear.
Since then I’ve mentored dozens of young women who all require the same thing. They need someone to give them a word of encouragement, a listening ear without judgment, and most of all they need to know they can do this thing called life. Maybe you’ve been longing for someone like this in your life.
So how do you find a mentor?
Ask God to show you who would be a good mentor for you. This person should be someone who is ahead of you in life, but not necessarily “old.” For example, my mentor is 15 years older than me, but some of our kids are close in age. They should, however, be someone who is more mature in their walk with the Lord.
Once God shows you, be brave and ask that person if they will mentor you. If that sounds too intimidating, ask if you can meet for coffee once a month to talk about life. If they say no, don’t take it personally, but take your prayers back to God. He knows what you need and has your best interest close to His heart.
3. Be teachable.
This is what trips up most people. I’ve been in mentoring situations where I was doing most of the work. The real problem is the mentoree isn’t teachable, and it happens all too often. If you want to be mentored, you have to be teachable. I’m not saying you take all your mentor’s godly counsel without a mind of your own. You have to decide if you can be vulnerable with a mentor and allow them into the soft parts of your heart. If not, it may not work out.
4. Set realistic expectations.
Clear expectations are critical in any healthy mentoring relationship. For many of the women I have mentored through the years, we’ve had definitive goals in mind. For example, last year I mentored a group of young women twice a month. My expectation was for them to show up, do the work and grow in their relationship with God. My hope for them was to grow in deeper understanding of their identity in Christ, but maybe you need help in a different area. Maybe you need help in relationships, finances or single parenting.
5. Pay it forward.
Who are you mentoring? I’ve read that mentoring is like a wall of bricks: We need some underneath us, supporting us; we need some above us that we can support. Is there a young woman at your church who needs your listening ear? Is there a young man who is fatherless and needs a role model? Again, take it to prayer and ask God who needs your unique personality in their life.
Having a reliable mentor can be life-changing. It’s invaluable to have someone who’s been in the same trenches in life who can pass on their story to you. Gleaning from a mentor’s wisdom and survival skills may help you get through your own battles. No matter what life throws at you, with the help of a mentor you may be able to navigate life with more ease and grace.