Do you invest in others? Are you actively involved in their lives? Is someone involved in your life now, putting the time, their experience, etc. in seeing you grow? It’s a more strategic form of mentoring others.
It’s important to keep someone from straying onto a dangerous path, pull them off a destructive path, or to help them grow in a positive manner. The former is the type I’ve generally been. In turn, I try to be a positive, good influence in people’s lives around me. Encouraging them mostly, though occasionally giving advice.
The second path at its extreme is easily envisioned. Think about an AA sponsor, someone who’s been in the trenches and is now helping others on the same path. It could be as simple as counseling someone before they get that far.
The Difference It Made
It’s a process that takes patience. Especially when you’re dealing with someone who’s stubborn, like *cough* me. I was on a path and had a mentor that who persistently kept encouraging, advising, and praying for me. She did this for years, encouraging me to come to class on Sundays, get involved in a ministry, make friends here, and read more positive books. She still does it even to this day.
Years later, I attend Deaf Den on Saturdays, the deaf connections class on Sundays, am in six ministries, and will let my Goodreads page testify to my reading.
During a sermon series on the enemies of the heart, we got to the issue of anger. I remarked it would probably be a good one for me. Her reply was, ‘new creature, right?’ I admitted it still rises sometimes. She told me the key was to not let it drive me. Those were very true words; anger had been a driving force for years.
During the service, I listened and marveled at how close mine and the pastor’s trains of thought were. I had just written a post on forgiveness two days before on one of the passages he used. Same lines of thought, similar analogies, I thought it was pretty cool. I told her about it afterward, saying, “At least my theology is right.”
Her eyes glistened a little. She knew the background of the issue, because she had helped me through it. “Wow, you really are a new person. I’m so proud of you. So proud of you.”
I could tell she meant it. That encouragement made my night and the rest of my week. It meant a lot to hear those words. To make someone who had walked with me proud.
No matter where you are, someone is on the path ahead of you. Are they going the right direction? Towards growth, or towards self-destruction? It’s good to have someone on the path ahead of you. Who’s willing to walk with you.
Have a mentor.
Be a mentor.