In reading through the Bible, I’ve noticed three kinds of relationships that Scripture talks about over and over again. No, I’m not talking about marriage or family relationships. Obviously those come up all the time in the Bible, but the three I’m talking about are nonfamilial.
The more I think about it, the more I believe these three relationships are some of the most important ones we can have in our lives. And from personal experience, I can attest that they will change your life forever if you let them. Wondering what they are? Keep reading!
Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. (Proverbs 19:20)
A mentor typically has these three qualities:
- They’re a little older than you.
- They’re farther along in their faith.
- They’re someone you really admire.
They won’t be perfect (because, let’s be honest, who is?), but they are the kind of person who makes you think, “Wow, I really respect their relationship with God and how they treat others. I could learn a lot from this person!”
What does a mentor do? A mentor advises you. You share your struggles and give them permission to speak into your life, honestly giving you feedback. Basically, you get real with them. Scary, right? But SO GOOD for your growth!
Where can you find a mentor? This person could be a relative, a friend’s parent, someone at church, a youth leader or a teacher at school. Typically I recommend finding someone of the same gender, because you’ll want to be really open and honest with this person about your struggles, and you don’t want to form an unhealthy emotional attachment.
How can you get a mentor? Honestly, you’ll probably need to make the first move. I know, it’s scary! We all hate the possibility of rejection, which is why it’s easy to sit back and wait, hoping the other person will finally call you out of the blue and ask, “Could I be your mentor?” (As angels break out in song.)
But honestly? That rarely happens. Usually, the ball is in your court.
When you find someone you’d like to be your mentor, I would recommend asking her something like this: “Would you be interested in getting coffee with me every few weeks? I really admire your walk with God, and I think there’s a lot I could learn from you. Please feel free to think and pray about it. If you can’t do it, I totally understand.”
That creates a no-pressure situation. Many people think, “Me? A mentor? I don’t know enough to be a mentor!” So setting up a regular coffee date is way less intimidating than asking the person to “mentor” you.
If the person can’t do it, don’t take it personally. Many people are very busy with families and children. Keep praying for God to provide, and be brave enough to eventually ask another person. You’ve got this, and God will provide!
He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20)
A real friendship is one in which you are fully yourself, but also challenged to become all God made you to be.
The Bible talks a lot about choosing our friends wisely, because these close relationships will influence who we become. When looking for friends, ask yourself: “Do I like who I become when I am with this person? Am I dragged into gossip and poor choices, or do I become wiser and more loving to others?”
Enjoy your acquaintances from all walks of life, but wisely choose two or three close friends who challenge you to become all God made you to be.
3. People You Pour Into
And Jesus came and said to them, “…Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:18-20)
People you pour into are essentially the opposite of mentors. These are people who either don’t know God, or are new to the Christian faith—people you can encourage and pour into their lives.
Start asking God, “Who have you put into my life for me to encourage?”
Then take the initiative to reach out to that person and say, “Hey, want to go get coffee? How are you doing?” Begin to invest in that person’s life by consistently showing them God’s love.
Now, if you’re reading this list and thinking, “Oh no, I’m totally missing one of these relationships!”—that’s okay.
There are seasons of life when we won’t have all of these relationships. I’m there myself! Currently, all my close friends have moved away, so I’m praying for God to provide some new, deep friendships. It’ll take some time, but the important thing is that I’m seeking out these three relationships.
And now, I want to hear from you! Which of these relationships has meant the most to you? Comment below! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!