After God removed me from the unhealthy environment of the strip club, he also released me from many toxic friendships. Although it was a good thing, it still left me feeling isolated and direction-less.
Sure, I was on a good trajectory, but I really needed to see what healthy and successful actually looked like…preferably in cute shoes and fetching lipstick.
Although my popularity was growing on social media, the friendships made in that space felt un-satisfiying and one-dimensional. In an effort to make time and space for what I really wanted, I disabled my Facebook. This opened up time to establish real relationships as this was the true longing of my heart. I pursued God even harder, asking Him to show me how to be a good friend so I could attract better ones. I kept my eyes peeled for how God was going to show up. This was the beginning of my quest to find a good mentor.
About a year later, God moved us from Chicago into San Diego. A church friend invited me to a Christian Woman’s Leadership Collective called Lifestreams. I get chills recalling my first encounter with these incredible women. They passionately loved and pursued Jesus. These women were greatly impacting their communities, families, friends, businesses, ministries. Everything they had was at God’s disposal.
The speaker that day was Lauren Hasson, the founder of the organization. She talked about how ‘God dreams’ are always larger than life because He wants us to put our faith in His possibilities…not man’s impossibilities.
Not only was my spirit was stirred, but faith was rekindled. Finally! Someone was actually speaking the message my heart already KNEW!
Gorgeous Lauren in her cute heels confidently implored us to keep dreaming big because that’s how God dreams for us!
Right there I dialoged with God: “Here’s a big dream…I want Lauren to speak into my life! I want to sit under her wisdom and leadership in a personal way.” Uttering that prayer and tucking that impossible dream into my heart, I simply gave it to God.
Not long after that first day at Lifestreams, I got a call from a woman who attended Bible study with me. She asked if I’d pray about mentoring a girl who left the world of sex trafficking that was now living in a rehabilitation home.
I was stunned she asked me! In my eyes, I was still a very broken vessel with very little tools for success. Yet, somehow, God brought me to mind as the right person for the job.
He also pressed this upon my heart, “I’ll use whatever you give me for my glory.” It was up to me to say yes to this challenge.
This emboldened my spirit; I said yes, thinking, “Thanks, God. I was hoping you would have sent my mentor before throwing me the responsibility of leading someone else!”
About a year into mentoring this young woman, I realized when you call out to God for growth, God will answer that prayer. He may not answer in the way you expect, but your sincere heart gives Him permission to work and He always takes whatever you give Him.
Being a mentor for that sweet girl, taught me what a mentor needs from her mentee. I learned mentorship is a two-way street; if you’re asking someone to take time for you, you must make things easier for them. Not only does it keep the dynamic inspiring, but it prevents the person helping from being drained. Positive momentum increases success for your efforts and access to your mentor.
I also came to understand that the best way to learn is to teach. Which is why God threw me into the deep waters…it was the only way I would learn to swim.
After about two years of attending Lifestreams Women’s Collective, Lauren Hasson called, asking if I would pray about co-leading her group. My heart nearly stopped. This was the cry of my heart! A dream only God could align. Let me implore you to dream impossible things but not only that, do what you can with what you have for God can only increase you when you’ve proven yourself to be faithful with the little things.
A good mentee does these things:
- Trusts and takes action
- Don’t waste their time
- Value shared wisdom like nuggets of gold
- Remain humble as you learn
- Provides regular updates
- Don’t be annoying but let them know how things are going from time to time
- Proactively offers help
- If your mentor has a need, fill it if you’re able. This should be seen as a give/take partnership. Not a ‘gimmie, gimmie, gimmie’ one.
- Has a growth mind-set
- You are seeking counsel for a reason; you want to break out of current paradigms and walk into limitless ones.
- Recognize areas holding you back and ask to be challenged on them.
- Maintains confidentiality of conversations
- Respect any information shared as a sacred gift, offered only to you. If you treasure it as such, you will honor the giver. If you disclose indiscreetly, you cheapen yourself and lose trust.
- Doesn’t check out when challenged
- This is what you signed up for so don’t wimp out when things get tough as this is when good stuff happens.
- Presses into relationship
- Don’t wait for the mentor to initiate. Ask for more without demanding it.
- If a mentor can’t be a friend, she is prob not a mentor.
- Find ways to solidify the bond as it will only strengthen the relationship.
- Asks for feedback
- This is hard but this is the way to grow! After a while, it will feel second-nature.
- Commits to the process
- Think of yourself as a student, disciple and protégé.
- Don’t look for easy ways out; look for why you should stay committed.
Verses that inspired this article:
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 12:26
*A special thanks to author Ravishankar Gundlapalli, for ‘The Art of Mentoring’ a book that provided this outline.
*A special thanks to Jeff Goins for his article called How to Find (and Keep) a mentor in 10 Not-So-Easy steps for additions to this outline.