My mentors have been absolutely life-changing for me.
- One mentor helped me work through relationship fears and an eating disorder.
- One mentor helped me learn how to preach and set up opportunities for me to practice.
- One mentor helped my husband and me through our engagement and first year of marriage.
These relationships lasted anywhere from two years to ten years, and each one has meant the world to me. Having someone know me and be able to give advice and encouragement has helped me heal from my past and grow closer to God.
So today I want to share how you can find a mentor, too.
What is a mentor?
A mentor is someone a little older and wiser with whom you build a relationship. It’s a person (or couple) you get to know by regularly meeting together, maybe once a month or so. You share honestly about your struggles in life and faith, and ask for their feedback. Their wisdom and insights can help you find new levels of freedom and growth.
What should you look for in a mentor?
Look for someone you admire—a person who makes you think, I love a lot of qualities about this person. I really respect how they treat other people and how they walk with God. There’s a lot I could learn from this person.
A mentor isn’t perfect; no human is. But a mentor is someone a little farther along in life and faith than you are, someone you can learn from.
Also look for someone you feel comfortable with, someone you really connect with. This will make the honest conversations easier.
I recommend finding a mentor outside your immediate family. Your parents can also be mentors for you, as mine were, but I think it’s very helpful to have someone outside your family as well. Every family has “blind spots” or some ways of approaching life that seem normal, even when they’re not. It’s so helpful to have someone outside your family also speaking into your life and showing you another kind of normal.
Where can you find a mentor?
First, ask yourself, Who do I know who’s a little older and wiser that I feel like I’d connect with, and I feel like I could learn a lot from them? Maybe someone comes to mind.
If you can’t think of anyone, begin asking God to provide someone who can be a mentor to you. It might take a while before someone comes into your life, but keep praying and keep your eyes open.
You also can look in places like these:
- Ask your pastor, women’s ministry leader, small group leader or youth pastor if they have any recommendations.
- Ask your parents, teachers or relatives if they have suggestions.
- You could also look for a “spiritual director” in your area. This is a person who is part mentor and part counselor. You would pay for meetings as you would pay for counseling appointments, but many people find this very helpful.
How do you ask someone to be your mentor?
This is the scary part. Sometimes we want to wait until the person comes up to us and says, “Hey, can I mentor you?” But chances are, that’s not going to happen. We need to take the initiative here.
I like to approach this in a low-key way, either in person or via email. I’d say, “Hey, I really admire your walk with God and the way you treat other people. I would love to get to know you more and see if I can learn some things from you. Would you be open to meeting for coffee a couple of times?”
Then it’s low-pressure and low-commitment. You can just see how it goes over those first few coffee dates. If you two really connect and you think, Wow, I’d love for this person to mentor me!, then you can ask if she’d be open to meeting with you on a more regular basis, maybe once a month.
Keep in mind that people are incredibly busy. It might be easier if you go over and help the person cook dinner once a month while you talk, instead of meeting up for coffee. See if there’s a way you can serve her and be an encouragement to her as well.
If she says no at any point, please don’t take it personally. Some people won’t have the time or space for a mentoring commitment in their current season of life. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.
Also keep in mind that many people will feel intimidated by the idea of being a mentor. They’ll think, What could she possibly learn from ME? It can be just as scary for the person you ask as it is for you, which is why the low-key ask is very helpful.
If the person says no, keep praying and continue looking for someone else.
How should you prepare for the first meeting?
When you first get together with a potential mentor, it can be helpful to bring a few questions you’d like to ask her, or a couple of topics you’d like to discuss and hear about her experiences with them.
You could start by sharing a bit of your own story or a situation you’re struggling with. You don’t need to get super detailed in the first couple of meetings, since you’re just getting to know each other and you don’t want to go too deep too fast. But you can share a little bit of where you’re coming from, or of what you want to learn about God and yourself.
I often brought a journal to my mentoring meetings so I didn’t forget the questions I wanted to ask—and so I had space to write down the advice I didn’t want to forget later!
If you have a mentor, how did you find that person? Please share in the comments below! Girls, I’m praying God provides someone awesome for you! Much love to you!