To Be or Not To Be...
I’ll be honest, it has only been in the last 3-4 years that I’ve realized the importance of mentorship. Maybe it’s because of my ‘achiever’ personality or my extroverted-introverted tendencies, but I never pursued having a mentor or becoming one until recently. Paul J. Myer writes in his “Leadership for Women” book that:
“Every woman can experience the deep, personal satisfaction that comes from developing and using her full potential and helping others do the same. Contributing to the lives and careers of others is as satisfying, in many ways, as building your own life. Through a woman’s inherent tendency to nurture, she is uniquely positioned to affect or contribute to others’ lives. As you help others develop and use more of their potential for achievement, you become a willing mentor and counselor. All leaders, regardless of status or experience, hold this benefit close to their hearts.”
Now, I hear your hesitation. That’s great if I had any idea where I could find another woman who could give me sage words of advice, or I don’t have time to add one more thing on my already, over scheduled plate. Where would you like me to fit in mentorship before or after I put the kids to bed while bathing my youngest or shuffling my kids from activity A to activity B? Or maybe you’re feeling a bit more skeptical and not really seeing how a mentor might benefit you in the first place?
As with all great conundrums, I say let’s see what God says and check out his examples of mentorship in the Bible. While there are many, let’s start with Elijah who mentored Elisha (confusing, I know, where are names like Bill and Ted when you need them?), Samuel mentored Saul, Moses mentored Joshua, John the Baptist mentored Jesus (notice, even Jesus had a mentor), Jesus mentored the 12 disciples, Paul mentored Timothy, and more. If there are several examples of a mentor-mentee relationship in the Bible, why does this idea of mentorship seem important to God?
We could easily make an exponentially longer list, but for now, here are 5 reasons mentoring each other in Christ is so important.
1. God is all about RELATIONSHIPS.
You can hardly turn past page one in the Bible before you read the verse found in Genesis 2:18, “Now God said, it is not good that man should be alone…” If you allow him to, God often places people in our path that help us through transitional seasons. These mentor relationships can prepare you to face a difficult season, equip you for service that lies just ahead, or walk with you through a transition. Because God realized the value of community, he encourages us to seek out people along the way who can walk with us through our journey.
2. Growth happens through TEACHING.
During this current season of mine, I’m spending a lot of time gathering new information and am often feeling information overload. However, in order for what I’m learning to really sink in, I need to share it. I need to look for others who are also searching for answers and maybe I’m just a little ahead of them on the journey. The more I can share in my own words the lessons I’m learning, the more they become a part of who I am and my growth begins to take root. You can hear Levi Lusko refer to this concept in his sermons as being willing ‘to pay for what you pray for.’ You must be willing to give exactly what you’re wanting to receive.
3. The MULTIPLICATION Factor.
When speaking with other women in my town, I hear the sentiment of “I only wish I had more than one of me.” The great thing about mentorship is that it allows God to multiply your efforts. Not only do you grow and become more effective in your outreach to other people because of mentorship, but your mentee grows and becomes more effective as well. By default, you’re able to reach twice as many people through that single relationship alone. But it’s important to not stop there. The seeds of your mentorship multiply for every 1 person you reach they reach someone and for everyone 1 person your mentee reaches they reach someone…then those 2 people reach 2 more and those 4 reach 4 more and it’s not long before your effort has multiplied exponentially; talk about a return on your investment.
4. We are called to be IMITATORS of Christ.
Christ saw the importance of mentorship which is why he selected 12 men to carry on his work after he was gone. Let’s think about that for a moment. Over 2,000 years ago, long before social media, the internet, newspapers, modern transportation, libraries, you name it, Jesus was in ministry for 3 years..not 30..not 13.. just 3. Three years he preached the word of God and taught 12 complete strangers the nature of God. And because of the multiplication factor and the growth that happened as those men shared and taught other men about Christ and his love for us, 2,000 plus years later we’re still following him. Knowing his time on this Earth was limited, Christ recognized the importance of teaching and mentoring other men to continue the work.
5. Mentoring is PURPOSEFUL work.
As we each enter different seasons of life, it’s common to begin to question ‘why am I here?’ You look around at your day to day activities and sometimes it’s hard to find meaning or purpose in the twelfth load of laundry today, the fourth conference call today (and it’s not even noon), the bathrooms that need cleaning, yet another business trip out of town that is causing you to miss your child’s baseball game. Where is the meaning or purpose in that? But what if you had a mentee on those days or you had a mentee who is walking through those days where they’ve since ended for you? Could you find purpose in helping her successfully navigate the difficult world of being a woman in today’s demanding world? Could you find purpose in being able just to offer a sympathetic ear as you listened to disappointments or frustrations that even now seem so familiar? Would it be purposeful if you had someone you could call that would help you walk through and navigate this season or simply pray with you and over you?
From my own personal journey, I have seen the goodness and mercy of God in placing several godly women in my path. They are women I didn’t even know just a few, short months ago, but have since become a life-line and gift to me. They bring words of wisdom to my chaos, a light in my darkness, an unwavering source of strength as they pray such deeply meaningful and personal prayers over me. I can’t answer for them if our relationship is as beneficial to them as it is to me, but during this season of growth, it’s as if God shows me he sees me and hears me through the love and words of these women, my mentors.
My sweet friend, wherever you are, whatever season of life you’re in, I pray that God will place a godly woman in your path that can be a beacon of light to you and that he would likewise place a woman you can become a source of light to as well. When confronted with the question of “to be or not to be” a mentor, I hope you jump to your feet and say, “YES!”