Mentoring Series: Looking for one
How do I find a mentor?
This one's for the girls and women who know it's time to find someone to invest in your life.
Maybe you're a freshman in high school, or maybe you're out of college. You've noticed the absence of someone you can go to in times of questioning, a person to faithfully pray for you, to love you through life and help you along the way. It can feel really overwhelming. A lot of us feel scared about the process of even looking for someone to mentor us. How do I know what to look for? How do I ask? So in your time of looking for a mentor, here are a few things to keep in mind as a resource...
Look for a woman who's faithfully serving the Lord.
There are so many cool people out there. And there are a lot of amazing women in the world! When you're considering who to approach about mentoring you, as a believer, make sure you're looking for a woman who will encourage, exhort, and fellowship with you in the Lord.
Maybe there are women at work, at school, in other places that are suuuper cool, but aren't Christians. Or aren't really living out their faith. She won't be perfect--nobody will be!--but it's hard to get accountability and exhortation, or even trustworthy advice from women who aren't walking with God or don't have the same faith. So for a mentor, let's look for a woman who puts Him first!
Look for a woman older than you.
This has lots of wiggle room--I've been mentored by women 10, 20 years older than me and I've known a lot of women who are mentored by ladies only a few years older. In college, I was involved with a campus ministry where upperclassmen mentored freshmen and sophomores. There's no "perfect age gap," though you should be looking for a woman who is ahead of you in her walk with God. Sometimes that means a gal who's only a little bit older than you; sometimes that can look like meeting with a woman who's got lots more life experience.
Look for a woman with qualities that complement yours.
I was mentored by a woman when I was in high school who was so tough, so rough, she actually said things that left a huge negative impact in my life because I'm a soft, emotional girl who gets feelings hurt easily. And at the time, I was also a kid coming out of a dark time of depression so I was even more sensitive to critical things.
This woman was a follower of Christ and had a lot to give, but our personalities didn't work well together. She was an exhorter, but I needed encouragement and grace in that season of my life. She was the "get over it" we need sometimes, but really back then I needed to hear, "it's okay not to be okay." After that school year ended, we went our separate ways and I sought out someone who might have a different approach.
Look for a woman to mentor you...for yourself.
I've been "matched up" with women three times, twice in high school and once in college. They were godly women with hearts to serve the Lord. But they didn't seek me out, and I didn't seek them out. In two cases, I'd never met them before we got "paired." And in college, I only met with this woman once in an entire semester because she kept forgetting about me and made other plans when we were supposed to meet. (Ouch)
People know a lot of great people. But it is important to know who you're going to be meeting with. When I started to think about women I'd want to invest in my life, I looked for women who were consistent. Women who showed up.
If someone suggests a gal to meet with you and you haven't met her, but you want to see if she'd be a good fit, maybe get coffee once or twice to get to know her a little bit. You're the one she'll be investing in--you should make sure you're hanging out with someone you feel comfortable with, not just someone your pastor or parent said you'd fit with. It's your life she's investing in.
Look for a woman who is mature and knows how to keep commitments.
You don't want to seek out a mentor who forgets you and doesn't listen earnestly; you don't want to look for a gal who's always rescheduling you or doesn't put into practice what the Word says. It's an encouragement, and a kick in the pants, to know your mentor will do what she says she will.
Whether that's reading through a book of the Bible with you, calling you in the mornings to remind you to have devo time, send you encouraging notes during a hard season, or looking up resources to help answer your questions. Whatever it is she's doing, it's really encouraging to know she's actually doing it.
Ultimately, when you're looking for a woman to invest in your life and be a mentor to you, pray and seek the Lord on it. Be patient in the seeking; be bold in the asking. You got this!