Can I say, this practice of meeting together (and I don't mean church) is one of the most spiritually significant and growing experiences of my life. I have almost never (with one exception) experienced God so deeply or so real or so effectively as the 2 times in my life that I have connected with a spiritual mentor whom God had ordained for me. I say it that way because not all mentors are created equally, nor are all a good match for anyone. A mentor, like a spouse, can change your life, and should be chosen prayerfully.
Perhaps this is why the author of Hebrews felt compelled to exhort, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Heb. 10:25).
Let me share just a handful of the ways I've been encouraged by meeting with a mentor:
- I'm learning how to translate spiritual truth into earthly reality.
- I'm learning how to live by God's standard without succumbing to paralyzing legalism. This is a great nemesis of the Church.
- I'm recognizing my God-given strengths and how my insecurities/weaknesses are usually a spiritual attack on those strengths...and how to recognize and combat the attacks.
- I'm regularly seeing God through another human being, which is incredible and makes God more real to me (as opposed to a far-off Spirit whom we can never see or touch or understand)--God, a gracious, loving, non-condemning, encouraging, Father who convicts and guides in the most tender way; not the elitist, harsh, untouchable, strict taskmaster God that we too often mistakenly believe Him to be.
- I'm benefiting from a fellow believer who's more mature and experienced, who can bring sense to my confusions and teach me in a practical way how to walk with God
- I'm encouraged simply by having someone who always believes in me, who sees value and growth in what I see as failure, who reacts joyfully to my tiny baby steps as if they're giant leaps.
- I'm learning, myself, to how to use encouragement rather than negativity or condemnation to exhort others in the way they should go. I'm seriously astounded how my mentor can show me areas in my life where I need to change and grow, and simultaneously cause me to feel like I'm the most amazing and special person on the planet. I mean, who can do that? I've never met anyone before who can point out my flaws in a way that makes me feel like a million bucks! That's how I want to be...so I'm taking notes!
- I'm learning what it means to train up my children in the way of the Lord...Even though this person is not my parent and I am not their child, the relationship of gleaning wisdom is in some ways similar to the parent-child relationship, and as the recipient I am starting to understand what that parental exhortation really means.
- I'm learning how to let go of my perfectionism in order to claim God's, and stepping out from under that giant thumb of oppression (i.e., perfectionism).
- I'm learning how to be the wife God has called me to be, how to love and respect my husband...and it's revolutionizing our marriage (from my perspective, at least--perhaps we should get comment from the hubby??)
- I'm learning to be at peace with myself, and not expect more than I should; to slow down the pace and grow one step at a time.
- I'm beginning to really understand that God believes in me. He's rooting for me to win, not sitting there with arms folded waiting for me to inevitably fail. There's nothing I can do to drive myself away from His love. That is life-changing.
I encourage you: You are amazing and deserve to be blessed--so go out and get a spiritual mentor!!