Thursday, July 07, 2011

"Time For Your Check-up! Please step into my office..."

Nick and I agreed that since it's been almost half a year since The House focused on our response to the mentoring experiences we might incorporate into our lives, it might be a good time to check in about that.

Hopefully, these words from the February issue will refresh your memory, and you also might recall what some of us shared about being mentored by Tom Hight: "Mentoring. Walking alongside. Friendship. What is the value to us in one life lived in a side-by-side relationship with the Creator of the Universe?"

Nick’s message at that time about asking for and finding someone to mentor us, and being willing to be a mentor to another, produced some new mentorships, and stories about some of them are included in this month’s issue, along with an article from our pastor on the subject.

These are My Three Current Mentoring Experiences:

One – Physical Fitness & Spirit: I know I was inspired to ask someone to act as a mentor and accountability coach for developing a fitness plan, as my doctor continued to urge me to walk as part of controlling my diabetes, and I longed to be able to come back to tennis as an enjoyed pastime. I was also very aware of the spiritual aspect of being a good steward of my health.

My coach has been inventive, encouraging and inspiring. I find having another person’s perspective, and especially an informed one, changes everything about what it means to incorporate a new discipline in my life. She continually amazes me with the ability to bring about "paradigm shift" for me in this area in which I’ve struggled for so long. Her wisdom and experience are better than gold.This has been an enriching and informative experience, and what I believe to be a genuine miracle in my life. I find my walking time to be another opportunity to be in conversation with God, reflecting on my day, my week, my year, and where He is leading me in other aspects of my discipleship disciplines. My walking time has become sacred, a gift of "built-in" sabbatical, as I walk and listen.

My general health has improved, my bad back is much more flexible, my aching joints have eased, and I’m playing tennis again! You have no idea how joyful an experience that is for me!

Two – Financial Fitness & Spirit: My confession: I am a lifelong "money-drunk" (Julia Cameron’s term for those of us who are compulsively unable to control our spending.) It is painful to admit that this has been a struggle for me for as long as long as I can remember.

As soon as I heard Nick's words of encouragement for finding someone to walk alongside us, I knew I wanted to ask someone who had been through the Financial Peace University material to help me. I have had success, and failure, in this process, but I haven’t given up!

My mentor talks with me, reviews my reporting about what is and isn’t working, and encourages me to "stay the course". At the center of all of that are love, concern and clarity when I’m mired in my issues about this area of my life. I have experienced the love, acceptance and forgiveness I need to be healed of this affliction, and have felt God’s hand in it all. How grateful I am for my mentor’s wisdom and encouragement. The struggle continues, but I know there will be more success as I press forward, with the help of my mentor and the Holy Spirit.

Three – Discipleship Fitness & Spirit: Finally, I will remark on a mentorship and friendship that has lasted forty years, and continues today. I meet with this woman weekly, to share my walk and use her as a sounding board for my life decisions and the joys and pains of my circumstances.

I don’t always agree with her. She doesn’t always have something to say. My experience is that the key is "acceptant listening". I know she will listen, she will pray, and on occasion, directly speak to a question or issue I raise.

During some of the most acutely difficult periods of my life, she kept me from disastrous decisions. At other times, I chose to ignore her, with disastrous results.

Another key: consistently returning to the relationship – through it all knowing about her basic faith, scripture-based knowledge, and compassionate heart. These are the qualities that have kept the mentorship alive all these years.

If you have not experienced such a side-by-side relationship with another follower of Christ, I encourage you to ask God to show you who that might be. When you hear from Him, and I believe you will, ask them to mentor you. It will change your life. You will find your perspective on whom you perceive God to be will change and mature. You will be encouraged to mentor someone else when asked, and that relationship will bring even more growth in your walk.

I am convinced that Nick’s words about mentoring from the February article are still as fresh and inspired as they were then: "This month, we are focusing on the topic of mentoring. I know that many of you reading this article are on the lookout for a godly mentor in your life. But the thought of becoming a mentor intimidates you. You wonder if you have what it takes; if you’re close enough to God. Let me encourage you from my experience. Dave made a difference in my life, not because he was godly, but because he wanted to be godly. Dave helped me grow, not because he had it all together, but because he opened his life to God and others. Dave taught me about God and faith, not because he knew all the right answers, but because he showed me how to ask the right questions and wrestle in faith with the realities of life.

And now, I believe in you because Dave believed in me. If you will pursue God with your whole heart, faltering though your steps may be, that very journey is what God will use to touch and change the lives of others. So get on the pursuit! And invite someone to join you along the way. You never know; you just might become their mentor."

And so, we encourage you to ask God to show you whom He would have you approach in friendship, and allow Him to cultivate that friendship into mentorship. Ask God to show you whom He would have you approach in your need of a mentor, to walk beside you in a specific area of your life experience, or as a spiritual mentor for observing how God is working in all areas of your life. He is waiting to give you this gift. Open your heart, and your life, and receive all God is holding in His hands for you to receive.

We grow as we share-

Mary Hagle


The House

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