I’ve always loved warm conversation with a friend over a great cup of coffee. Don’t you?
Over the years I’ve probably spent hundreds of hours (and even more dollars) investing in this very necessary quality time.
But a couple of years ago I began to recognize a pattern. Each time I met with these friends I talked about the same things. The same problems. The same goals. The same desires…
But nothing ever really changed.
Sure, life changed. Houses changed. Even the friends across the table changed-- but I wasn't getting anywhere. I was in a rut, and I knew it. And I was tired of it.
I’m pretty sure God was tired of it too. How do I know? He put an idea in my heart one day as I sat, pouring out my frustrations before Him once more.
You need a mentor.
I did not love that thought. As an introvert who struggles to make new friends, I battled with the concept of “finding a mentor”. Whatever that meant.
Who would I ask?
How would I ask?
Was it even important enough to bother?
I prayed: Lord, if this is really you, show me who that person is supposed to be.
Oh, the old “God, if this is really you” prayer. We Christians love it because we use it to postpone doing what we already know He’s commanded us to do.
Not this time.
Almost instantly a friend’s name came to mind. And it made sense. She was a wife and mom, a couple steps ahead of me in the parenting stage; a known respected leader in ministry at our church; and, well, we simply had a lot in common.
But how do you ask someone to be your mentor?
I always joke that if my life had a tagline it would be, “Katie Gibson: Being awkward since 1985”, Needless to say I was hesitant to follow through.
I allowed fear to cripple me. Just like it had been for years. Just like God wanted me to learn to overcome, with the godly wisdom, encouragement and accountability found in a mentor.
I ran from what I knew I was supposed to do.
I ran, like so many who have gone before me. Jonah. Elijah. Peter.
But here’s the good news: Even when we run, God chases us down.
But here's the good news:
“Yeah!” I sputtered, “I would love that.” She promised she would text as I turned to climb into my car, shaking my head in disbelief.
The next week we met at a quaint breakfast nook. I don’t know at what point I popped the question…
Okay, in reality it was just me awkwardly admitting the truth about how I had ran from what I felt God was leading me to do.
She laughed then, and she still laughs now, as I ramble on.
When I retell my unspeakably raw moments with my kids;
Or my “arguments” with God;
Or my honest assessments of myself.
We don’t always laugh. Sometimes we cry.
When we share about God’s goodness in a situation;
Or expose a broken part of who we are;
Or admit mistakes and the desire to become more than the sum of them.
But the laughing and crying doesn’t even begin to cover the half of what this relationship has meant to me.
It helped me gain the traction I needed to break out of the same old cycles.
I ask hard questions and listen, then apply that wisdom to my life.
More importantly, I allow her to ask hard questions.
I ask hard questions and listen,
then apply that wisdom to my life.
More importantly, I allow her to ask hard questions.
Like the time it forced me to realize that it was time to leave my comfortable job to pursue my dream career.
Or the time I had to shed my apathy about my son’s school problems and go all “Mama Bear” to get him the help he needed and deserved.
Or the times I had my own opinions about the way things should be done in the ministry area I was leading in.
I could continue, but the bottom line is this: having the accountability and exhortation of a mentor finally gave me the traction I needed to move forward in 2017.
I fought the giants of fear, apathy, and self-doubt.
I grew as a parent, a leader, a wife, and a friend.
I made a bold move into a career that I absolutely love.
Our finances began moving in the right direction for the first time in years.
And I even published my very first book.
Can I tell you something else cool? God didn’t just bless me with one amazing mentor, He gave me two. After a couple casual cups of coffee with a new friend, we began meeting more intentionally. She, a more experienced author and a Jesus lover, challenges me to live out my calling bravely.
Isn’t that just like God? He always provides over and beyond. Each incredible of these incredible women bring a different set of experiences to the table.
Friend, I don’t know where you are in your life, what your dreams are, or where you want to grow. But this I know-- there is someone out there you can learn from.
The Bible demonstrates mentorship through the stories of Elijah and Elisha, Paul and Timothy, Jesus and the disciples. The wisest man in the Bible, Solomon, exhorts us to acquire wise counsel. Paul urges men and women to share their love for God and life experience with those coming behind them.
Don’t neglect this very important part of growth.
Seek God. Pray. Get in the Word Follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings. Read great books.
But don’t neglect this integral piece to the puzzle.
As I wrap up, here are some questions to help you pinpoint who might make a great mentor in your life:
- Who is further along in the journey?
- Whose life do you admire?
- Who is where you want to be in ten years?
- Who is having success in an area you need to grow in?
Jot down some names. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your steps. He will. He always does.
And if it doesn’t work out the first time, that’s okay! Sometimes good things take time.
To Heather and Anne,
Your example is so needed in this world.
Your words have meant more to me than you’ll ever know.
Thank you for believing in me.
A little about me...
Wife to Craig, mom of three, author, writer, Rooted Moms founder, Jesus-follower, Bible teacher, and coffee enthusiast.
Follow me as I follow Christ and share my heart throughout the journey.
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