As women, we worry and stress over the right dress for that special event. Does it fit us perfectly? Is the color right? But have you ever found yourself stressing about choosing a mentor that is the perfect fit for you?
It matters! It really does. Just as those shoes or clothes need to be the right fit, so does the mentor you select. It’s your life, your emotions, your thoughts, and your precious heart that you want to trust with someone, and the choice is yours.
But where do you begin?
First of all, why do we need a mentor? Well, I can answer that for you, from my 48-year-old view point. Over the years I have had several mentors. Some I invited into my world just to help me process life and be a listening ear for my crazy-self. Others flung the door of their lives wide open to me, a teen-ager just trying to find myself. My mother, mother-in-law, and grandmothers both intentionally and unintentionally mentored me through the varying stages of life. Others too numerous to name have had short-term seasons of being a voices of reason for me.
Today, I have a wonderful mentor, and honestly we just had lunch one day and “clicked,” then before I knew it, she just was that person to me. I am eternally grateful to all of my life-mentors. Each played (or is playing) a special part in making me the woman I am today.
And each has loved me right where I was. Right where I am.
Recently I virtually, not physically, ran into an online, like-minded, Christian mentor and read her blog post that stresses the importance of this topic. (You can meet Janet Thompson too at http://womantowomanmentoring.com.) She quoted a chapter written by a hero of the faith, Kara Tippetts. In Kara’s book, And It Was Beautiful, she allows readers to journey with her on her struggle with breast cancer, being a wife and mom, and how she openly and honestly walked here on this planet until she went to live free from cancer with her Lord and Savior. Kara also openly blogged about her life with cancer at http://www.mundanefaithfulness.com.
Janet Thompson (you can read her full post at http://womantowomanmentoring.com/2016/05/choosing-a-mentor/) quotes a chapter from Kara’s book that gives beautiful guidelines on HOW TO CHOOSE A MENTOR.
Enjoy this very insightful excerpt (used with permission both from Janet Thompson and Kara’s publicity manager.)
Choosing a Mentor
By Kara Tippett
Apart from the Holy Spirit, it has been the mentors in my life who have made the longest-lasting, deepest impact on who I am as a person. Some mentors were women I specifically asked to mentor me. Some were women who opened their lives wide open for me to watch. But both nurtured new strength in me. Here are a few things that have served me well in finding a mentor.
First, do they love their family well and speak with love and admiration of their husbands? Can these be areas of tension and struggle in a family? Yes, but I look to see if their overall desire is to move toward a spouse and children, and not away.
Second, do they speak vulnerably about weakness, or are they more concerned about appearances? I have found this area to be critical. I struggle to share openly with someone who wants to appear they have it all figured out. I look to see if they are willing to speak openly about where God is challenging them, and are open about themselves without bashing others.
Third, and most important, do they seek Jesus in their moments throughout the day, especially the mundane? Do they see their neediness and weakness, and are they able to be wrong and be corrected by Scripture?
When Jason [her husband] was a youth director, we had the privilege of seeing kids who truly loved Jesus. From that observation, we often sought out their parents. We wanted to sit at their feet, eat at their table, and watch how they did it. I love to watch someone discipline with kindness. I love to watch someone including their children in the events of the home. I love watching someone loving their spouse creatively. And I really love to see women involved in community building. You can receive a lot of mentoring just by watching.
Common interests help as well. I have had mamas show me a craft, women who love to write as well as read, ladies who love to garden, build a fire, and cook, and women who just cannot get enough of their Bibles. I often try to enter the life of a person who might be a good fit as a mentor in a place of common joy. I want my mentors to be my friends, as I want to befriend the women I mentor.
Things to be wary of? Be careful of people who like to gossip. Be willing to be flexible. Mentoring relationships take on so many different looks. Sitting down across from one another with Bibles open every week? That’s an awesome model, but it’s certainly not the only one. Look for someone who will promote freedom in Christ, not tie you up in a load of legalism.
Finally, as you search for a safe place, be a safe place in return. God loves seeing us seeking Him together.
An excerpt from And It Was Beautiful by Kara Tippetts bolding added.
© 2016 Kara Tippetts. And It Was Beautiful is published by David C Cook. All rights reserved. Shared with permission.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU IN A MENTOR? Please comment your responses below! I love to hear from my readers!
For more on mentoring, check out one of my earlier blog posts: