As a young professional in New York City, surrounded by stars and fashion, I often felt about two inches tall. Unseen by some, judged by others. Sure, I had a few friends, but I longed to find a woman who had been in my shoes and walking a few steps ahead of me. I knew I needed a mentor.
One Sunday, I mustered up the courage to talk with a pastor at Times Square who connected me with a mentor. Her warm eyes and inviting smile put me at ease the first time we met.
“I feel so incompetent. I’m way out of my league here.” It all came tumbling out.
“Some days, I want to stay in bed, pull the covers over my head and drown out the noise of traffic with reruns of I Love Lucy.”
To my surprise, she wasn’t put off by my confession of how utterly alone I felt and how distant God seemed. She listened, really listened. She didn’t offer cliché answers or rush to give me advice. I felt known, heard and understood.
Little did I know the profound influence she would become in my life and how our mentoring relationship would significantly shape me. My mentor put a face and a heartbeat to all the verses we discussed together over a cup of coffee.
I can’t imagine going through my college days, young married years, my kids’ terrible twos, career transitions, the death of my parents and countless other rattling life events without the support of mentors.
Amazingly, at each stop along my life journey, whether I lived in one place for two years or thirteen, I’ve met people who made an impact on who I would become. I grew. I changed. That’s why I believe who is pouring into your life is more important than where you live or what job you have at this moment. Sometimes the road to finding a mentor can be awkward, difficult or discouraging, but the walk is well worth the distance.
Now, years later, I have the privilege of mentoring younger women. Some are young professional businesswomen; others are teachers, doctors, musicians, designers or moms. Many have cute little apartments; others, rambunctious little ones. As we sit and talk over lattes or hot chocolate or sweet tea, I am inspired by their courage and honesty.
Younger women are hungry for the opportunity to connect life-on-life and build a growth-oriented relationship with a mature Christ follower who can speak into their life.
In a world that is impersonal and systematized, face-to-face mentoring is the missing link. Mentoring is a win-win situation: Younger women are encouraged and grow, and older women find new purpose.
Perhaps you have a heart’s desire to find a mentor, or you’d like to become one.
But growth always happens best in relationships.
God created us as women to learn from and support one another. To stick together in life’s darkest moments. To celebrate and cheer each other on.
Whatever season you’re in, now is a great time to step out, be encouraged and become a part of a mentoring relationship.
Here are three tips to help you connect with a mentor
Share what you admire about them.
Be authentic. Share where you are and how you want to grow.
Invite them to meet again and consider becoming your mentor.
One of my favorite action verses is Philippians 1:27:
“I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (ESV).
I invite you to step out, challenge yourself. Be brave. Be yourself. Grow in your faith. The search for a mentoring relationship isn’t always easy, but I promise you, the journey is well worth every step. And know this: you never have to walk alone. Instead of waiting on the sidelines and doing life alone, go ahead, walk across the room and start the life-changing connection conversation.
Who do you know that you can ask to coffee or lunch this week? The pressure’s off. All you have to do is show up and see what connections God makes. He’s calling you to leave your fears behind. Sure, there’s risk. Will you take the leap anyway?
Let’s start a movement. Let’s commit together to be there for each other as women — not just in theory, but also in the messy and painful and wonderful moments of life.
My prayer for you is that you will boldly pursue a mentoring relationship. The only way to get across the finish line of life is together — cheering each other on, crying together, celebrating together, sharing our stories, instilling hope and fixing our eyes on Jesus until we get home.
Jayme’s article is adapted from her book Face-to-Face: Discovering How Mentoring Can Change Your Life. Watch the book trailer here and visit jaymeleehull.com to subscribe to the Face-to-Face Mentoring Podcast.