When you think of mentoring someone, you can become scared at the thought! You think, “How I can teach anyone anything?” “What makes me such an expert that anyone would benefit from what I’d have to say?” “What if they ask me questions I don’t have an answer for?” “I’m not that ‘old’ so how could I be qualified to mentor?”
These are all legitimate questions to ask yourself. They’re questions I’ve thought about myself many times. Those doubt storms do have a way of creeping in. But then there’s this tug on my heart, which I know is the Holy Spirit.
He lets me know that I don’t have to have all the questions answered correctly to do something He’s prompting me to do. He’s bringing life to whatever seeds I’m able to plant. I just need to be available for the leading of the Lord, and have the faith that He’ll direct me in the way I should go when I don’t know what to do next. And He does.
I can’t even start to tell you how wonderful it is to see how well some couples are doing because of the effort my husband Steve and I have invested. I’m not saying this to brag. I’m hoping it will inspire more people to help encourage others to find ways to build relationship bridges and improve their relationships. The rewards really are “out of this world” as some might say. This is because you know deep down God is pleased. Marriage is a living picture of Christ’s love for the church. So when you lend a hand to help other couples put more love into their marriages, God is in the middle of it, being glorified.
Also, on a personal level, as you look for ways to help others in their marriages, it has a way of helping you to improve your marriage. It’s a natural overflow. You can’t really do a good job in helping others if you don’t take your own advice. By helping them communicate better, it’s “funny” how you start communicating better in your own marriage. If good things aren’t happening in your own relationship, it’s difficult to help others find the good in their own.
Overflow of the Heart
We’ve seen it to be so true that “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). Whatever is inside, it just naturally finds a way of coming out and will either bless or contaminate others. Hopefully, you will work to bless.
Also, know that “those who refresh will themselves be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25). Oh, how true that is! After a couple leaves after we’ve been with them, it’s like we glow inside. You just feel so good knowing that you have made a positive difference in their marriage. It’s also wonderful to know that God is pleased with this investment of time and effort.
When it comes to mentoring, we often think we can only do it if we’re trained to do so. We think we have to be involved in a church, which helps and encourages us in the process. Yes, that would be good. But when it comes to mentoring, it’s not about following a set program —although many churches have great programs to help with this. It’s more about living your life so you give the Holy Spirit the elbow room to teach others through you.
The Bible tells us to teach younger men and women, which is a type of mentoring.
You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:1-8)
That’s all that mentoring is —it’s teaching, encouraging, advising, and setting for them “an example by doing what is good.” To do this we must live our lives with integrity. It doesn’t mean we have to be perfect or an expert in what we’re encouraging someone to do. We do need though, to be growing forward in our walk in life and with the Lord.
As Dr Les Parrott says, “Mentors don’t have to be marriage experts. In fact, it’s their story that really does the teaching.” It comes down to what we’ve learned through rather than just what we’ve lived through in our marriage, that makes a difference.
It’s also important that we don’t live one way and teach another. Mentoring is a way of life —teaching, as well as living and doing what we’re advising others to do.
Mentoring Is Many Things:
- It’s being open enough to give God elbow room in our schedule. This way He can bring people to us to minister to their needs.
- It’s becoming a “student of life” so we have something to share with those God brings our way. As we become aware of the “learning opportunities” around us, God can use us to share “tailor-made nuggets of truth” with them.
- When we mentor, we proceed through life prayerfully. Our eyes and ears are tuned in, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, to ministry opportunities.
- It’s believing in others and infusing hope into them when they can’t believe in themselves. As 1 Corinthians 13:7 says, love “always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.“
- When we mentor, we are to follow the principle of Hebrews 10:24. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.“
- Sometimes it’s quietly crying with, standing with, and holding up a friend without saying much at all. There are times when friends need a strong, quiet friend to be with them more than they need those who says more than they should. (Job, from the Bible, had friends who were good examples of “supporters” who didn’t know when to shut up. They just needed to BE WITH their friend instead of chattering.)
- It’s being spiritually in tune to those we’re with to know when we’re to speak love, show love, or both.
- A good mentor is a friend who loves unconditionally and sees beyond their faults.
- It’s being “Christ with skin on” —being God’s colleague in loving this friend as Christ would.
After reading this, you may have felt a tug on your heart where you can see yourself mentoring or coaching someone else of the same sex (because it would be inappropriate to mentor someone of the opposite sex, if you’re married). It could be that God is impressing upon your heart His calling to invest your life to help guide someone else in theirs.
If you’ve put up barrier reasons why you can’t do this, despite the tugging you’ve experienced in your heart, I hope you’ll recognize it as selling God short on what He can do in and through you if you would only yield to His prompting. He can be trusted to be your Wonderful Counselor, despite whatever short-comings you may think you have. God does His greatest work when we remove our visual inadequacies from the picture and allow Him to be God.
Don’t look at mentoring as something you do … it’s a way of life. And if you’re open to it and you’re called to it, take down whatever barriers are preventing you from investing in someone else’s life in this way. Mentoring is a way of life. When you’re ready, then God will bring someone your way that will also be ready. And whether you mentor them for a short season or a long season, you will fit into God’s plan to benefit the Kingdom of God in a very unique wonderful way.
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.
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Filed under: Marriage Counseling & Mentoring