By: Lianne Johnson, LPC
This past weekend I had the opportunity to speak at a conference being held at Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church. The conference was called, “Beautiful.” I was by no means the keynote speaker. I simply led one of the breakout sessions. I was asked to speak on the challenges and joys of being single.
While we talked about the many statistics associated with those that are single, as well as the lies singles are often tempted to believe about themselves, we purposely spent most of our time talking about what it would be like to be mentored by the Lord. Since the bible would tell us that all of our thoughts and actions flow from our heart, it made sense to focus our attention not on changing our actions but on beginning to think about changing our mindset when it comes to our relationship with God. This is where the idea of being mentored by the Lord comes into play.
In our society we have a human way of thinking about being mentored. It usually consists of an older person taking a younger person “under their wings” to teach them things about life. When I think of the word mentor, I am reminded of my mentor in life. Her name is Karen. Karen was (is) wonderful. From pretty much the very first moment I met Karen she began investing her life into mine. She spent time with me, she invited me into her families home, she taught me about God and about life. I am forever grateful to Karen and her family for the many ways they have remained (even to this day) committed to my growth as a human before the Lord.
As I think back on this mentoring relationship, I am struck by some realities that need to be present in any mentoring relationship. This is what I came up with (and honestly this is what Karen taught me)…
1. In any mentoring relationship both parties must be FAITHFUL. Both the mentor, and the one being mentored must be committed to one another by faithfully meeting.
2. In any mentoring relationship both parties must be AVAILABLE. Both the mentor, and the one being mentored must be emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually available to one another.
3. In any mentoring relationship both parties must be TEACHABLE. The one being mentored must be relationally in a place to trust their mentor to challenge, correct, and learn from them. (And honestly, the one mentoring will also need to be teachable.)
Is this making sense? I hope so. So now what if we take these same characteristics of a human-to-human mentoring relationship and apply them to the Lord-to-human mentoring relationship?
The beautiful thing about now applying these characteristics to God is that He is already FAITHFUL and committed to us. He is already AVAILABLE to us. He is already committed to TEACHING us His ways so that we are safe. Where the Lord-to-human mentoring relationships can often break down is our lack of being faithful to Him, our lack of being available to him, and our lack of allowing Him to transform us. Most often, I would say, we lack these characteristics because we do not trust Him with our good.
Intimacy is a function of time. The more time we spend with anything, be it a person or a thing, we will know it better. What if you chose to spend more time with God? What if you chose to allow Him to mentor you? To love you, to nurture you, to learn from, to become familiar with Him. What if you moved slowly towards the Lord through prayer letting Him know you don’t trust Him? He will listen. He will move towards you. And you, by risking, will begin to know and believe your identity in Him and feel safe. Over time….over time….over time…
I’m still learning how to allow the Lord to mentor me. Everyday. Some days I fall flat on my face trying, but at least I am trying. And no matter of how “well” I am doing at the Lord-to-Lianne mentoring relationship He always remains. I cannot, nor will I, ever change His love, commitment, or presence in my life. Whew…..