I sat across the table listening to every word she said...
…I thought I was looking in the mirror. Well kind of, with her being 10 years younger and freshly out of high school, while I sat with a rounded belly carrying baby number 2 and 8 years of marriage under my belt definitely provided a different reflection.
I knew exactly what she came for. She was longing for answers to what was going on in her life. I had been there, done that, and desperately reached out to others in the same way. As I listened and sipped my coffee I remembered exactly what it was like to be in her shoes.
Being the older “wiser” woman in the conversation I wanted to spill some knowledge on her situation, and to be 100 percent honest I was guilty of adding my own wisdom when a long pause or second of quiet threatened our conversation. Babbling away I spat out answers that seemed like a good fit for her situation. By the end we hugged and decided to meet again in the near future.
Walking to my car I recalled a quote I had just heard the Sunday before in church, “ We are uncomfortable when other people share their struggles with us.” This was alluding to the fact that we too often feel we must come up with answers or ways that we can “fix” what’s going on in someone’s life.
This we all do, or have done. Rather than discover with people what God is doing in their lives we begin to try and fix/solve/change them to what we think they need.
My heart sank. Did I fail at this “mentoring” thing again?
There was only one response I needed to give her. Somehow it was the one response I didn’t offer to her.
“I don’t know”
I don’t know what God is doing in her life right now. To be honest I don’t even know what God is doing in my own life right now, so why must I feel like I have to have the answers all the time?
As someone who God has called to have relationships and build other women up, I started to realize my job was less about giving the answers and more about helping them discover what God is doing in their lives and how they can fulfill their purpose in the midst of it. I have to give myself permission to say I don’t have the answers.
I have to remind myself that having a few more wrinkles on my face would not provide me with more wisdom. Silence is not a bad moment when helping another in the journey of discovering their purpose.
In the midst of a journey of discovery,
life’s experiences don’t always make sense
but its those who are willing to walk through it with us,
that we never forget.
The words that speak loudest in a mentoring relationship are those that come from honesty. This is crucial for both the mentor and the mentoree.
When we don’t have the answers
we invite those who are seeking us out
to be up for the journey of discovering life with them.
It takes time to mentor well. It takes way more time than offering one or two solutions to fix what is going on in their lives.
It takes the time of investment in being willing to listen. To let silence rule some parts of the conversation adds to the invitation to ponder well ones hopes for their life.
Most importantly, it takes depending on God for how He can use me in someone’s life whether they are experiencing deep hurt, questions, or great joy. Helping other women discover their full purpose in life, and live that out, only comes by taking an intentional journey with them through the good, the bad, and the ugly.