Today as a regular contributor at the Deeper Leader Blog, I’m linking in with them, and tackling the topic of Mentoring today.
I’ve always seen the value in having the aid of someone a bit further down the road from me.
As a kid, camp counselors provided this a bit. In undergraduate school, my academic advisor turned out to be a helpful voice in my life, and in my profession, but not someone who had a heart for God. At church, I had prayer partners, and in graduate school a few ladies had mentoring qualities I really appreciated. None of them though really nailed what I was looking for. It took over ten years to pair up with a trained spiritual guide that made sense for me.
It happened in a most unexpected way. I went outside of my Christian tradition (Evangelical) and attended a very enriching day of personal guided prayer at a Jesuit Spiritual Center during the season of Lent. There I heard Sister Maria and I thought, “This woman is like a female Gandalf. I need her!”
But she was booked in that area and could take me on. :(
I continued speaking with her and asking for her help. Maybe she had a clone I could work with, I suggested.
But she didn’t have a clone and thought that was a strange idea to be cloned in the first place.
She did send me to a lovely, wise, grandmotherly woman who became my formal spiritual director, and I continue to meet with her each month.
Like a thought it would be, the benefit of a mentor is invaluable.
A spiritual guide, companion, advocate and advisor with maturity has incalculable worth in our lives. It’s no wonder that so many leaders fail, or ministers fall off into affairs, pornography or other addictions so readily. They don’t make guidance a priority. The accountability and advocacy that a spiritual guide brings doesn’t remove the bumpy pathces, but it certainly makes them more bearable!
It took me over 10 years to find one, but it was worth it.
For those who seek a mentor I have some advice:
• KEEP LOOKING! (push discouragement aside!)
• Ask around. A lot.
• Find a spiritual center that trains spiritual companions
(Evangelicals do not seem to have this in ANY abundance, but Catholics are really into it.)
• Make the first move, (don’t wait to be asked by a mentor, approach him or her)
• A directory of spiritual companions may help find you someone, but if you don’t find a good fit on the first try, keep looking.
Don’t know where to start? Here’s a large directory (international, with various spiritual traditions included)
at Spiritual Directors International.
What about you? Have you ever had a mentor or spiritual guide? If not, what do you hope for in a mentor?
Share your story at the Deeper Leader Blog, or read what other have to say.