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Tag Archives: Mentors

Damaged Bridges

A few bridges in my life have sustained damaging blows in the last few years through disappointments in relationships, groups, and ministries. I allowed a lack of trust to ruin and collapse some bridges, while a sea of regret washed them away. Or maybe the sea was one of forgetfulness… either way, the bridges are no longer there. Other bridges I’m in the process of painstakingly rebuilding, one piece at a time. Then there are the bridges I ignore. They wait for my attention while I deny there is anything wrong, or just knowingly look the other way.

The lost bridges, although no longer visible, are still remembered in my heart as I hide behind the wall of bricks I built with their remains.  When a new situation or relationship presents itself to me, I want to walk away, avoiding building a bridge only to fall to ruin again. I stand in that place today.  In a moment of divine inspiration I wrote about MENTORING. That was followed by a moment of CONVICTION as I decided to practice what I preach. Now I am here – dwelling on the lost bridges (failed mentoring relationships) and nervous about a new opportunity of entering into a mentor/mentoree relationship. I just want to hide behind my walls. I know I am called to build bridges, and that is what I will do, but first I want to look at my walls a little closer.

(**Note: As you read this, just omit the word Mentor and it is applicable to any new relationship!**)

I want to stay away from mentoring relationships that:

  • don’t encourage change or growth.
  • focus on a leader (one person in a relationship) who make it all about them, even if it’s in a sense of humility.  That person might say, “You shouldn’t make it all about me!” – but we all know it is.
  • don’t disciple so others can lead when they are ready. (Great Commission)
  • don’t preach the Bible. Period. (just RUN from this one!)
  • water down scripture with other theologians or pop psychology.
  • judges.
  • leaves or quits.

I want a mentoring relationship that:

  • encourages change and growth.
  • focuses on Jesus as a leader. The mentor loves as Christ does and seeks Him above all things.
  • disciples, so mentorees can lead when they are ready. (Great Commission)
  • relies on the Bible. Period.
  • lacks judgement but abounds in love.
  • stays with you through thick and thin.

Writing this list helped me to look at my walls (and fears) a little closer. Analyzing each item, it feels like I’m picking up pieces of my wall and throwing it into the sea of forgetfulness instead of the sea of regret. Mentoring relationships are not perfect, and will not be, unless you are sitting with Jesus in the flesh. Knowing that, I can choose to harbor resentment and close the door to relationships, or I can choose to walk with someone in a relationship anyway. When the not-quite-like-Christ times come, we can journey through those together – learning along the way.

Building Bridges sometimes means tearing down the walls first.

It’s time I take my own advice.

It’s time I take my own advice.

Conviction.

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. I Thessalonians 1: 4-6

Last week I wrote about MENTORING. While I have mentor/friends in my life and occasional coffee chats – informal accountability – I am not regularly mentoring anyone. I love the idea and am so thankful for my go-to mentors, but I haven’t actively pursued true mentoring. Anytime the topic of mentors comes up, I put it a little higher on my to-do list, but it quickly falls back down the priority list. “I’m comfortable with my walls. What if mentoring challenges me? It is definitely NOT in my comfort zone right now.” Those thoughts keep me from living what I preach.

Until Today.

Conviction stirred in my heart AFTER I posted that message. It’s time I take my own advice.

Today I am meeting with someone to discuss mentoring options for me. Will I be a mentor or a mentoree? Maybe both?

I. Am. So. Nervous.

The butterflies are battling it out deep inside me.

It’s time to live what I preach.

Building bridges often moves you out of your comfort zone.

Coffee, Tea, and Mentoring

Heads bowed in prayer and hearts united in honesty as two women embrace the teaching in the second book of Titus. Steam rises from their tea and coffee as their prayers reach the heavens. A Bible is open before them revealing these words:

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure,workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

Life is often messy. Being a wife and mother is hard. Being a godly wife and mother is such a difficult task, we are not called to do it alone. 

Mentor. A phrase often thrown around – businesses provide programs for new employees, schools pair older students with younger ones to provide opportunities to learn leadership and relational skills, churches even have programs of mentorship. The concept is not a new one. It originated in Bible days with this passage.

Do you have a mentor? Does it follow the principles of Titus Two?

The importance of mentorship is found in Titus 2: 11-15.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

It is not easy to follow the path and principles in Titus Two. Our society is filled with words that are sweet and dishonest in order to not offend as well as words that are quick to judge which often offend. The key is to live the principles, hope in Christ, and walk with others who will teach, encourage, and rebuke.

As the prayer ends and the coffee is cold, the women’s hearts are warm. Words difficult to hear were spoken. Words difficult to speak were received with hope.

Building bridges with mentors requires living and teaching in honesty – ready to encourage and rebuke.

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