Monday, May 13, 2013

Mentoring Matters - It happens!

Mentoring (training, teaching or advising) is a topic close to my heart and something I spent time discussing with friends last week. We discussed what it was, the importance of it and what it looks like in our lives. There was much time spent trying to answer the question, "How intentional should we be about mentoring?"

This question continues to roll around in my mind...mentoring has been important in my life, God calls us to do it and more importantly He equips us to do it! I know I should be intentional, but I left my wonderful time with friends and returned to reality. A reality that involves 5 children who need me and a husband who does as well. Then my thoughts grew - realistically how intentional can I be about mentoring? 

In my current season of life, it's not possible to sit down daily, have conversations and go deeper with women who are a step ahead or with those who are walking where I've been. Those things are important and needed, but I've been reminded mentoring is more than that. 

God's used a couple of emails to show me that mentoring happens. Last week a friend closed a message with these words, "I am making a big dinner for us all.  Such a happy mom I am!!!" Instantly I thought, when's the last time I said that? Honestly I'm not sure I've ever connected making a big meal with being a happy Mom. So I was convicted and encouraged to do all things as unto the Lord. (Col. 3:23) 

The very next day, this same friend sent another message in an attempt to answer some questions for me. She opened the message stating she was waiting for her son and would answer the urgent question. She did, then shared he hadn't arrived so she'd keep going. The answers continued and then I read, "Here comes my boy!!" and the message ended. I read those words and God instantly had another lesson for me. 

Oh friend, I hate to admit that once again I don't relate to my friend as often as I'd like (and should)...I was convicted and rightfully so as I instantly thought, how often do my kids come to me and my response is just wait a minute?? I don't even want to know the answer, but with these words God's showing me it should (and can) change. 

I'm sure if I asked my friend if she set out to mentor me as she shared those words, her answer would be no. I doubt she set out to intentionally influence me to love my husband and children (Titus 2:4), but God used her words to do just that. 

As time went on, He used her words for more. Like I said, I've been thinking about intentional mentoring and I'm realizing I need to be aware that mentoring happens. God uses the moments and conversations I share with others that are specific and take place because of a plan, but mentoring can, and does, happen in our everyday life. Remember what they say about raising children...more is caught than taught!

Friends, this happens when we grow up too! Today I'd love to encourage you to think about the people who speak into your life...if they are ones who are walking with the Lord and digging into His Word, listen to what they have to say - when you specifically ask them for wisdom and in the everyday conversations. God will use them to mentor you!

Secondly, if they are not ones who are walking with God in faith think about the message they are sending. Even if you are not intentionally looking to them (friends, strangers, radio, TV...) for advice and training their words are sinking in. Just a word of caution for you and for me - be aware of the message you are receiving.


Finally, think about the ones who are listening to you...those who hear your words are receiving a message, let's make sure it's one God wants us to be sending. Like my friend, let's share words that build others up, speak Truth and don't malign the Word of God. (Titus 2:5)

Today instead of wondering about how intentional I should be about mentoring, I'm focusing on the fact that it happens in the everyday, ordinary conversations that take place. I'm praying God will use that awareness to help me speak words of life and Truth! And friend I'm praying the same for you too!

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

3 comments:

  1. Jill, thanks for the great words of wisdom at the end...what we are to think about. Especially think about the ones (our friends) who are not walking with God. Are we looking to them and allowing them to influence us? Being in the world is one thing...we need to be for Christ...but being of the world is another thing. Thank you!!! You made me think this morning about my friendships and how they are influencing me.

    Blessings to you,

    Wendy

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  2. I think we can make mentoring harder than it has to be. It's hard to think about how I can add one more person or one more get-together to a busy schedule. But I can ask God to show me how I can mentor in the places where I'm already at - do I have a co-worker that I can mentor? someone in my small group? a Facebook friend? Thanks for encouraging us to think about this today!

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  3. Hey Jill,
    There was one time that I shared a devotion on my Facebook and added my own commentary. A few hours later a friend messaged me and said that it was exactly what she needed to hear that day. I was so happy that something I shared helped her in whichever way. I spoke to my mom about the situation later, and she told me something along the lines of God knowing she needed to hear that and using me to be the one to relay the message. So we never know who we could be reaching or helping with our words, unintentional or not, just like you stated. And it's a sobering thought as I know that as a Christian I represent Christ, and I shudder at the times my words have not been, oh let's just say it "non-christian" like!
    Beth

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