It was the last thing I expected her to say as we were standing in the lobby.
I really wish I knew how to find a mentor.
She seemed like the type that would be surrounded with mentors, but the fact was she had this ache in her heart for older women to come around her at church and nurture her life. She wanted the seasoned women of this world to speak into her soul and overflow onto her hope, perspective, insight.
Who doesn’t among doesn’t want a mentor like that?
While we might want to make our own decisions about mothering and home-keeping, being a wife and balancing a career, that does’t mean we don’t want to glean from those who’ve been-there and done-that, right?
Personally, I think in our fast-paced, screen-based world, we crave face-to-face relationships that ooze of perspectives from the past. I can’t even count the number of times a day I wonder what it would have been like to mother before Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. Would I have been lonelier? Would I have been busier? Would it have been simpler?
I crave the stories from wisdom-livers as I seek to live out the Word.
I want to know of what worked in the past, so that I can apply it to my life today. Do you feel this way too?
While I often hear my generation of friends admit that they crave having a mentor, too, I'm also friends with a number of older women who have shared with me the challenges of serving as a mentor. These eager and sacrificial older sisters feel rejected again and again. Why? Because the they are just as sensitive and insecure as the rest of us. They notice their limitations and wonder if they're not smart enough, techie enough, relevant enough. And when they make themselves available for spending time with their younger sisters, they don’t always feel like they are really wanted after all.
These mentors we long for actually feel squeezed in, pushed off, and in last place when it comes to their role in our lives.
So how can we join the generations together in a healthy mentoring-rich way?
Honest mentoring relationships begin with the release of expectations while embracing opportunities.
It’s a road that both generations have to travel together. But first, the “rules of the road” need to be embraced in the pursuit of healthy mentoring relationships.
Mentoring can happen by doing life side-by-side, and yet not necessarily the same way.
Mentoring can happen from older to younger or from one experienced to one who is not.
Mentoring can happen most easily when the relationship starts with encouragement and grows into accountability.
Mentoring can happen best when both parties are humble and teachable.
Mentoring can happen more effectively with an ask-answer-discuss conversation style rather than presume-accuse-advise approach.
Mentoring can happen without an appointment but through seizing an opportunity.
Mentoring can happen with an invitation for commitment as well as in one solitary, life-changing conversation.
Mentoring can happen face-to-face, over the phone, and through using with technology.
Mentoring can happen daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly.
Mentoring can happen best when follow-through is way to express honor and respect.
Mentoring can happen one-on-one but it’s really beautiful when it’s a circle of women each speaking into a different aspect of life.
These simple principles can set the stage for wonderful mentoring relationships. How do I know?
Well, it’s taken me twenty years of being a mentor and being mentored to learn as I discovered that at the heart of mentoring is an adjustment of expectations and being willing to embrace opportunities that God provides.
I bet there are godly mentors eager to speak into your life, but you’ve not seen them clearly because you were looking for the one-on-one, spiritual mothering relationship. While that indeed is a gift, maybe the Lord wants to go about blessing you with a number of different women in a circle of mentoring relationships.
So what if you took the next few weeks to look around that circle of women in your life and consider your own willingness to be mentored in a variety of ways?
Yes, the mentoring you crave may be right there in front of you. All you have to do is embrace it.
And if it is not there, you might have to be so bold as pursue it in a way that you least expected would be possible.
Heavenly Father, would you please meet us right where we are in this desire for mentorship and show us the women you'd like to circle around us. May we have eyes to see your work and a willingness to join you in it, even in our relationships.
Abiding in Him,