- Are you spiritually “stuck?”
- Feeling like you have questions but no answers?
- Stagnant in life but unsure how to start growing again?
I was 16 years old when it began. I was a coming-out-of-rebellion teen; she was a young mom (in her 20s) with 3 little ones. In free moments of my busy high school life, I’d hang out with her while she raised her little people. As we watched the kids splash in the pool and play with army men, she and I had conversations that formed a foundation for my own mothering choices that would begin just 6-7 years later.
Though we didn’t use this word, and it wasn’t anything formalized, she was my first “mentor.”
Playing with her kids, and talking about life, Scripture, and family came easily. The discomfort came when, a few years later, she would ask me questions like: “why do you think God didn’t let the two of you date & end up together the way you thought you would?”
I didn’t want to answer that question. To me, it reeked of my failure. It was, undoubtedly, because I didn’t deserve a guy like that.
Of course, now, in hindsight, I know why God didn’t let me date that guy: because God meant me for Doug. But at that time, the question unsettled me and challenged my thinking. Frustrated by the insufficient answer that came out of my lips, the question kept churning in my brain until the answer, eventually, came to rest on God and not on me.
Later, when I was a young bride, she challenged me with questions like, “have you ever asked Doug if he thinks you take the lead too much in y’all’s relationship?”
“I’ll ask my husband if you ask yours.”
I gulped. I’m pretty sure we both did, cause she’s a pretty feisty gal too. But that night, we both went home and asked our husbands that hard question.
That one simple question, and the answer Doug gave (if you’re curious, it was, “yeah… sometimes…”) planted seeds for a season of growth. Over time it has rendered significant and powerful changes in our marriage that are at the core of who we are as individuals, as a couple, and as a family.
I’m so grateful for that heart-challenging question, asked by someone older and wiser. Over the years God refined my understanding of Him, myself, and His world through heart-probing questions like these.
The truth is this:
- IT IS GOOD TO BE UNSETTLED.
- IT IS GOOD TO HAVE YOUR THINKING CHALLENGED BY PEOPLE WHO ARE GODLIER THAN YOU ARE.
- IT IS GOOD TO HAVE TO THINK THROUGH IDEAS THAT ARE DIFFERENT THAN THE ONES YOUR BRAIN NATURALLY COMES UP WITH ON ITS OWN
We don’t WANT to want these things, but we should want them.
Proverbs 13:20 tells us: “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
Since that time, I’ve had a variety of mentors, short-term or long-term, in my life. Here are some of the characteristics I look for:
- A woman farther down the road than I am- for me that has been in a variety of areas: parenting… keeping a clean & tidy home… raising godly, enjoyable children… hospitality… language learning (when we lived overseas)… homeschooling… Bible study… a gentle spirit. Each “mentor” has offered different things and possessed different strengths. I look for women who are strong in areas where I need to grow.
- Someone who is godlier than I am- it is easy to spend time with someone who lets me “just be me” so I can “let it all hang out.” It is harder to spend time with someone who will call me out for faulty, unbiblical thinking, or who will make me aware of areas where I am weak. But it is BETTER to do the harder thing. I look for women who challenge me to be more like God, rather than women who make it easy for me to think “I’m doing all right.”
- Someone who is available. It does me no good to keep “trying to get together” with someone whose schedule is already jam-packed. As a teen, I sat with my mentor in the middle of her busy-at-home life. When I was the busy-at-home mom, I spent time each week with a woman in her 50s who came over during nap time to prod me along in disciplined Bible study. Now that I’m a newly-postpartum-mom-of-7, it looks like going for walks each week with a newly-empty-nested mom. I look for women who are able and willing to make regular time together.
Just this week, I went walking with my friend and as I was telling her a story about my growing up years, she offered a different way of thinking about it. She was questioning part of the “frame” or “lens” through which I was looking at the story.
And you know what?
She was right. I needed to see it with more grace and less bitterness than I was. It was good for me to have her nudge me in a direction other than the one that came to me naturally.
COULD THIS SHAKE UP YOUR SPIRITUAL STAGNANCY?
- Are you willing to have your thoughts challenged?
- Could you grow by having a mentor that inspires you in an area where you are weak?
- Are you spiritually stuck because you don’t have anyone around who calls out your faulty thinking?
Look around your current “circle.” —-> Who has God put within your reach who is further down the road than you, godlier than you (or at least won’t excuse your sin/buy your excuses), and available for regular time together?
Perhaps you could reach out to her this week?