The gift that keeps giving: Appreciating our mentors
Have you ever felt like you’ve plateaued when it comes to your character?
Self-help books have made millions since they first appeared on the shelves of bookstores, and motivational speakers get paid top dollar to tell people how to live their lives better. The industry thrives because there is a large amount people who are constantly searching for ways to improve themselves — and I’m one of them.
A short while ago, I never felt like I was enough — I could always afford to be more this or less that. Even though I always felt like I had to do better, I could never really pinpoint what these areas were. This resulted in a lot of self-directed frustration, insecurities and self-esteem issues.
During a recent Restoring The Foundations (RTF) session, I uncovered an ungodly belief that had taken root in me; I was unworthy because of the negative perception I had towards myself. The lady who was ministering to me said, “I can tell that you don’t really like yourself much.”
Leading up all the way to that session, I had been in such a bad shape – not just emotionally but spiritually. I felt emotionally tender to the touch, I was vulnerable and weak. I’d lost my bearings on life — as though I had no purpose, and I didn’t like who I saw in the mirror.
If I didn’t have the watchful eyes of those who lovingly spoke into my life – my mentors – I dare not imagine what might have happened to me.
TORCHBEARERS OF THE TRUTH
My mentors challenged me to truly know who God is, and to not just rely on my feelings, which are fleeting and easily manipulated. They were the ones who prayed over me and constantly reminded me of who God says that I am — above and beyond what I felt about myself.
Most of us appreciate being given advice, support and a listening ear, especially in times of trouble or when we are in need of some sort of clarity. That’s why it’s so important that we have mentors we can look up to.
Apart from studying the Word, I’d like to think that having a mentor is one of the best ways to sharpen yourself. Mentors are in the business of calling out the gold in us but also telling us when we’ve messed up; they should be someone whose values you respect, share and hope to embody.
Here are some of the many perks of having a mentor and why we should be grateful if we have the privilege of having them in our lives.
THE PERKS OF HAVING A MENTOR
- They impart wisdom (Proverbs 9:9).
- They set an example for us, even if it means being called to a higher standard (Titus 2:7-8).
- They teach us to be teachable and accountable (2 Timothy 3:16).
- They look out for us when we’re unable to do that for ourselves (Proverbs 27:23).
- They use their own life experiences to teach us how to be godly men and women (Titus 2:3-4).
As humans, we’re predisposed to wandering – that’s why we need mentors to keep us in check. Just as how the parable in Matthew 18 describes the shepherd who left behind his 99 sheep just to search for that one lost sheep, our mentors will put aside everything to help us find our way back to God when we, like sheep, have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6).
Glorious as their position might sound, mentors don’t stand to gain anything. James even cautions against taking the role of teachers lightly — they’re judged with greater strictness than the rest of us (James 3:1).
Our mentors will put aside everything to help us find our way back to God when we, like sheep, have gone astray.
But when we allow these people who sacrifice so much of their time, tears and love to mentor us, we learn what it means to be Christ-like and submissive to Him, for Christ Himself was gentle and humble in heart (Matthew 11:29).
Mentors are God-given (1 Corinthians 12:28). They will always try to do their best for us, sometimes at their own expense. They dedicate their lives to journeying with us, not just to mental or emotional maturity, but spiritual maturity as well (Ephesians 4:11-16).
Be intentional to appreciate and celebrate the grace that you’ve been extended by the mentors in your life. And if you haven’t found a mentor for yourself, I strongly encourage you to. You’ll have nothing to lose and you’ll stand to gain so much more than you can imagine.