I never woke up to a season determined to mentor someone. Looking back it happened naturally as though it was set in motion. I wish I could describe mentoring as “just as I have received, I give to you” and that would make a great goal of mentoring. Regardless I stand a recipient of this amazing grace, with so much brokenness than worthiness. With the dust of brokenness not settled yet, I dare to write by faith these lessons that I learned in the call of mentoring.
Mentoring is a Stewardship
While stewarding inanimate gifts, like money or positions they run the risk of harming our souls when not used properly. But when we are called to steward souls, we run the risk of harming their souls when not dealt properly. We don’t own these gifts to benefit us.
We are entrusted with mentorees for time and a season to influence, invest in and then to release to the purposes of the high calling of God in their lives. A parallel to this would be the gift of children where parenting is a stewardship. Most of us parents know that having the gift of children has made us holy if anything at all, and not just happy!
Mentoring is Seasonal
I don’t always walk with the people who have influenced me or whom I have influenced by grace. When seasons change, birds migrate. You need to release the birds and not cage them in to benefit you. It takes a bit of wisdom with seasons to learn when the seasons are changing. It is also important that the release of a mentoree happens naturally with a genuine and sincere heart and not schemed or manipulated on your part.
Your influence on your mentoree is always impactful in their lives and your mentoree will come to a place where they need to stretch their wings to take off. One way to stretch and make room is to tear down the closest structure. Though unintentional this can happen if you close in and keep for yourself someone who is ready to take off. Earlier in my life, I had someone tear me down to fulfill the call of God upon their life. I took this as rejection and intentional wounding. I was bitter and reactive for a long time until I finally understood that it was a seasonal assignment that I had tried to hold onto, invain.
Realize the seasonal changes in a mentorial relationship and release people graciously with blessings.
Everyone Needs Multiple Mentors, Check Your Messiah Complex
When we make an impact in the life of another person, we tend to grow a Messiah complex. We think we are so needed in their life as their savior and we start hovering and covering their lives with our Messiah complex to save them through and through. You don’t always stick to one mentor alone. I have had multiple mentors who challenged me in different areas. The mentor who influenced my marriage was a terrible financial counselor. I am glad I had another mentor in that area.
Mentors- be on guard, you are called to let your light shine, not create light.
DITCH the Microscope, Pick Up the Telescope
We can easily become nit-picky and start viewing others through our microscopes when we do life closely with each other. The old adage- ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ sometimes hold true in mentoring relationships when we view others lives through our microscopes. Please pick up a telescope and have an eternal view to see people in your life as who they can be when Jesus presents them as blameless and spotless before God.
When we section people and prepare slides to view them under the microscope, and we turn the knob of our experience, of course the original sin comes clearer into focus. By this act though we sadly might also have forfeited the redeemed selection that perhaps could only be viewed with an eternal telescope.
Mentors please ditch the microscope, pick up the telescope.
Aggression Does Not Bring About Sanctification
The book of James tells us a nugget of wisdom that gives a heavy blow to our anger. The anger of man does not bring about the righteousness of God. We all want to see the end product so soon. While mentoring we need to remind ourselves that our anger does not bring the righteousness in another person, nor can we improve or change anything by our aggression. No matter how much you want someone to get what you are saying, our aggression and manipulation does not produce sanctification in anyone we influence.
Don’t Stop With Demas, Timothy Might Just Be Around
One of the most painful lessons and possible retirement from mentoring is when a mentoree betrays you and walks away. This is almost a guarantee in life. Any seasoned mentor can walk you through their share of such scars. Jesus faced it and the apostle Paul faced it. Trust is violated and a very dark season of doubt and shaky confidence are ushered in, when we face betrayal after giving everything away sacrificially to invest in someone. Paul writes about Demas very painfully in a season of loneliness-
Make every effort to come to me quickly, because Demas, in his love of this world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. 2 Tim 4:10
However, Paul did not let a Demas take away the joy of influencing Timothy or Mark. Betrayal, loneliness, abandonment are all part of any ministry and the likes of such has never stopped the gospel from its saving power.
Choose God Over Mentoree at the Crossroads of Choice
The call in mentoring is from God, to God, and through God (Rom 11:36.) Be faithful to the call. Elijah was walking with Elisha and never heeded to the call to stay with him (2 Kings 2.) When there is temptation to choose what is favorable for mentoring, heed your call to God and remain faithful to God, not your mentoree.