Just in case you were wondering why I'm writing so much about mentorship. I'm currently taking a course on Spiritual Mentorship for my Master's degree program in Biblical Studies at Indiana Wesleyan University. This course has been the catalyst for much reflection on the subject, and for the mentors I have had and currently have in my life.
Over the last 2 years I loss 3 Spiritual Mentor Giants! These three women poured into my life. I didn't always fully appreciate our connection. I must admit there were times I know I took our mentor-mentee relationship for granted. We all know time is precious. However, the value we place on these relationship with the knowledge of how precious of a commodity time really is.
How do we make space for the people we've been given
and the time in which we have them?
Wisdom Gem #1 - Recognize the Blessing of the Mentor in your life.
Looking back over my relationship with each one of these fascinating women, I'm grateful that I expressed to them how much I appreciated them. I also recognize that there were times and which I didn't open up and curate space and time to create or savor the moments we had together. I took for granted I would always have them in my life.
If we examine again, Jesus and Peter's mentor-mentee relationship. Jesus asked the disciples, "Who do men say that I the Son of Man am?" Some of the other Disciples gave their response. Then Jesus asked, "Who do you say that I am?" Peter seized the moment. He proclaimed to Jesus, "You are the Christ. The Son of the Living God." Peter honored what had been revealed to him about Jesus. What this revelation must have meant to Peter. For him to understand that he was being taught and asked to serve with The Son of God. WOW!
You can find this recorded in St.Matthew 16.
Wisdom Gem #2 - Recognize who the Mentor is to God!
Not that they are to worshipped. We covered this in my last post. If we recognize who they are to God and in God, we can have a better understanding of why they have been placed in our lives. In doing so we will make the appropriate space for them. We will take in their words like the gems in which they are.
When I consider the opportunity that Lot lost by not staying with Abraham. WOW! Not only did he miss the boat, his life was forever changed - and not for the better. Lot didn't recognize who Abraham was to God! He didn't honor that he took him along for the journey. Lot was Abraham's nephew! Not son! Lot repeatedly saved him from bad situations. Lot didn't seem grateful. Instead he chose to go another direction. Did he listen, learn, and honor what Lot had to offer him. Did he recognize who Abraham was to God? I would say that he didn't.
You can find the account of Lot's departure from Abraham in Genesis 13.
Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
Wisdom Gem #3 - Make Space for the Mentor Relationship
Curating space for the relationship is necessary to maintain the connection. That's the component of the relational bond - the interconnectedness. I would suggest scheduling opportunities for a phone call. Allow ample time for deep or long conversations. Since we now have been made aware of the benefits of virtual meetings we should use them to your advantage in this space. It's the next best thing to being there.
Of course, we have the in person face to face interaction. Proxemics are important for connection. Hearing someone's voice is better than a text message. Being able to hug someone or look them physically in the eye over a cup of coffee is wonderful. In our busy lives, we need to make time to cultivate and nurture our mentor-mentee relationships.
In Jesus' post resurrection ministry he spent 40 days with the Disciples preparing them and giving them instructions. (Acts 1) Jesus also spent one on one time with Peter. Peter had decided he would 'go back fishing'. This was his profession before he became a disciple. Jesus showed up during this fishing expedition to remind Peter of who he was. Once Peter knew it was the Lord on the shore, he immediately stopped what he was doing. This one on one encounter forever changed Peter. He never looked back or doubted again.
You can find this in St. John 21.
Wisdom Gem #4 - Seek to Understand the Purpose for the Relationship
The 3 Spiritual Mentor Giants that I mentioned earlier, the beautiful extraordinary women that I loss these past few years, all were given to me to teach me something; to add something I needed for my journey.
When we recognize the Spiritual Mentor-Mentee relationship in the context of being guided by The Holy Spirit we can reverence it more. Accepting that God is speaking to you through them is the posture we must take. Let me tell you it doesn't always sound like this, "God is telling me to tell you...." No! It doesn't always come with a thunder. Sometimes it comes in a still small voice. A gentle reminder, a lesson, a sweet nudge at the right moment are ways in which The Spirit speaks to us through our mentors.
After loosing the last one, Bishop Martha Edwards, earlier this year, I had to pause to not only grieve, but to be grateful. I'm extremely grateful to have had these magnificent teachers. I'm still unpacking what I learned from each of them. What I have noticed is that I'm wiser, more discerning, bolder, and more conscious of time. I now seek understanding as to the purpose these mentors had in my life. I am now seeking understanding regarding my relationship with each of them and for those mentors currently in my life.
Ask yourself, "What is the mentor-mentee here to serve in my life, and what I'm to serve in their life relative to who we are in God?
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