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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Jesus-Driven Mentor-ship

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Jesus-Driven Mentor-ship -  Lisa U Maki


I have heard of the word "mentor-ship" or "mentoring" or "mentor" so many times in my adult life. Though I've always known what this word means, I've never really looked deeper into its meaning, until now.
Wikipedia defines mentor-ship as personal development relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps a less experienced or less knowledgeable person.
If I were to translate this into a more Christ-like definition, I would define mentor-ship as a personal development relationship in which a more mature Christian helps a less mature Christian in areas where the mentor has been tried, tested, and has succeeded. I also would like to add that Christian mentor-ship is founded on the Word of God.
Of course the Word of God becomes alive to us through our personal experiences. For instance, everything I share with you here is a result of my own personal experience on how I was able to apply God's Word and principle over certain situations. Without these personal experiences, all I am teaching are theories, which I believe is not true mentorship. A true Christian mentor is someone who has been through what you are going through. She knows your situation because she's been there. She just didn't study it but she has experienced it for herself. This means that true Christian mentor-ship is experiential more than theoretical.
As I've mentioned earlier, the foundation of Christian mentor-ship is Jesus Christ. He and His Word are the focal points of mentoring. The mentor's job is to always point her mentee to Jesus and His Word, and not to herself. It is so easy for a mentee to look up to her mentor, depend on her, and even idolize her. It is likewise easy for mentors to make their mentees feel this way and to even want their mentees to feel this way towards them. Our human nature tends to want and enjoy having someone depending on us. It makes us feel good about ourselves. This being the case, a mentor has to be very careful that she and her mentee are always brought back to the essence of mentor-ship... to be like Jesus.
One of the key things that a Christian mentor should bear in mind is that she is just a facilitator. At the onset of mentoring, the mentor should make this very clear to the mentee. A mentor can't play God over her mentee. She can't be available for her mentee 24/7 because no one but God can do that. This is the biggest mistake that a lot of Christian mentors make. This is actually setting up the mentee to look up to her mentor more than Jesus Christ.
A Christian mentor should set certain boundaries and parameters such as: (1) how often she can be available for her mentee; and (2) areas where she can help and which she can't help her mentee with.
Let us discuss the first parameter first: How often should a mentor be available for her mentee?
A mentor can set a regular schedule for mentoring. She can choose how many days a week and how many hours per session. She should do this like a counselor with a more strict schedule. This way, the mentee does not call the mentor at any given time of the day, or just because she is having a bad day. This was one of the biggest mistakes I've made in the past and which is why I am sharing it with you now.
I used to think that it was my responsibility to be available for anyone who needs me. I had a 14 year old girl entrusted to me by our youth pastor and she was a leech. She would call me at 3am and I was always there for her. I didn't really help her at all. I just enabled her to cling to me instead of made her rely on Jesus. I love what one of my sisters in the Lord has on her voicemail. It goes something like this... "I'm sorry I can't come to the phone right now but if you are calling for some emergency, go call Jesus".
Now let's proceed with the second parameter: Areas where the mentor can and can't help her mentee with.
As a mentor, you have to be honest with yourself as to what you can and can't do. Will you be able to provide shelter for your mentee when she needs it? Will you be able to help her financially if she needs it? Will you be able to look for a job for her if she needs it? Again, be honest with yourself. If there is no way you can provide shelter for a mentee, then let her know. I remember a friend and sister in the Lord who took a mentee into her small, humble house. This mentee was recovering from drugs and needed a temporary place to stay. Then one day, my sister in the Lord saw her mentee walking across the room in a towel while her husband was there. My friend then realized how risky that was and finally told her mentee that she can't stay anymore in her house. Praise God she realized that. However, had she set her parameters at the onset, that incident wouldn't have happened. The last thing a mentor wants to happen is her mentee feeling hurt or rejected.
I was talking to a teenage girl recently (who I haven't even met in person) and she wanted to run away from home. I gave her a wise and godly advice and she said that I didn't really care about her and that I didn't understand what she was going through. So I asked her, "So what do you want me to do for you"? And she couldn't answer me. I then told her, "I can't do much because I am not there with you. I also can't offer you a place to stay because I don't even have my own place". Then she said, "Well then you are not the right person to talk to".
This is what I'm talking about. We have to be clear as to what we can and can't do. Had I overextended myself to this teenager, I would have added more to her hurt.
Lastly, as a mentor, you have to remember that you can't be pouring out on others more than what you are taking in. Your priority should be your personal relationship with Jesus. The stronger you build this relationship, the greater mentor you will be for others.
Lisa Maki is the founder of God'z Gurlz, a Bible-based online magazine for women whose mission is to is to provide a place where women can learn to manage their emotions, experience healing, receive love and acceptance, be free to be who God made them to be, and be the best they can be in their homes, schools, professions, relationships, and calling, through sharing of insights and experiences, counseling, prayer, and devotionals, thereby learning from and supporting each other. For more of Lisa's articles, visit http://godzgurlz.com/ Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lisa_U_Maki  Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6938131



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