I have been crazy blessed to have a woman in my life the past five or so years who has served as my mentor, or Mama Birdie, as I sometimes call her. And because I reference her every once in a while in my blog, I get asked frequently, “How do I find a mentor?”
I sort of stumbled upon mine, and odds are, our situations are not going to be the same. Simply put, she’s been in my life for about twelve years, because her daughter is one of my best friends. So I’ve known of her for years. But then when my life really hit the peak of spiraling out of control, I asked my friend, “Would it be weird if I sort of borrowed your mom for, like, one conversation about my life?” (Ha! One conversation?? If we all only knew!) “Go for it,” she said. And I did. And five years later, Charlotte and I have had hundreds of conversations about life and love and Jesus and marriage and recovery and codependency and mothering and friendship and boys and walking in integrity and healing and redemption.
So, in a nutshell, that’s my story of how I found my mentor. But, sweet one, you want one too. And you don’t know how to find one. Some thoughts…
Pray. If a mentor is what you need, then Jesus will help you find one. So ask him for one.
Be open. Your mentor may not look anything like what you’re thinking. Because you might be thinking she has to be a generation older or someone who leads a Bible study or goes to your church or married if you’re married or single if you’re single or a mom if you’re a mom. Nope. If she loves Jesus and she is willing to pour into you, that’s what you need to be looking for.
Ask. This part can be hard, but odds are, a woman is not going to magically walk up to you and ask if you want her to share her wisdom with you. (Would you??) Which means, once you’ve come across someone you think you’d like to get to know better, you are going to more than likely have to be the initiator. I would simply start with asking if you could buy her a cup of coffee and pick her brain on some things. Have a few questions ready and dive in. If how she answers seems thoughtful, prayerful, and gentle, and resonates with you, then I’d move forward by asking if you could maybe get together a bit more regularly for a while. You won’t know unless you ask. And the worst she can say is no. (But, by the way, if she does in fact say no: keep praying, keep being open and ask someone else. Don’t take the potential first no as a closed door from God altogether. Take it as a she’s not the one for you.)
Wait. Between the praying for someone and finding someone, there may be some lag time. Just like everything else in life. So, I would come up with some pseudo-mentoring for yourself. Is there an area of life you are particularly struggling in? Then I would gather resources – books, movies, podcasts, conferences – that will help you gain strength in that area until the time when God brings a real, live person into your life to bounce these things off of. He’ll meet you in the in-between, I have no doubt.
And let me add, wanting a mentor is a humble and noble idea. I applaud it and whole-heartedly endorse and encourage it. Charlotte’s role in my life is unmatched. But I would also point out, dear one, that you are farther ahead in this journey of life than someone else as well. At every point in our lives, we should be getting poured into AND we should be pouring into someone. So, while you pray and open up your mind and ask and wait, look around your life and perhaps ask Jesus if there is someone who might be praying and waiting for you. (Yes, you.) The blessing goes both ways.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. –Proverbs 27:17-
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