The Mentor Me Series – Step Four – The Action Plan

MentorMeKickOffThe Mentor Me Series – Step Four – The Action Plan 

Today we go deep, to where the rubber hits the road.  I love this part!  So, let’s open in prayer, follow up on what resources you’ve chosen and then get to work.

“God, thank you so much for the heart of_______.  They’re here, looking for answers and willing to do the necessary work.  Direct the process, every step of the way.  Give us wisdom to know what to do and the ability to go deep and follow through even when it might be difficult.  You, as our Shepherd, promise to guide us.  We trust you to do that now. In Jesus name, amen.”

Now, to follow up on last time, tell me about the resources available to help you.  Did you chose one?  Why that one?  How did it help you?

Okay, now let’s focus on setting up your Action Plan!  Remember when you knew what you wanted – and you simple went after it until you got it?  That time when nothing held you back?  Sigh.  I know, I remember when I did that, too.  How I wish I could bottle that determination and pull it out when needed.  Theories abound on what flips that switch in us, and frankly, they’re pretty good.  Psychologists have boiled it down to something like this:  if you really want it, you’ll do the hard work to get it.  If you fall short, it’s because you only think you really want it but there’s a deeper motive you’re not willing to face that keeps you from attaining it.

Sometimes life is so full of difficulties that going deep is simply not an option.  For example, your loved one is diagnosed with cancer and needs you more than ever. You delay your goal to get a promotion at work until they’re better.  No wrong motive there.

But let’s go even deeper.  What if you’re willing to delay it because you know the real reason you haven’t been promoted is because you often arrive late to work? You resent your boss and being late is your way of letting her know you’re not happy. Emotionally, it will take a toll on you to face your motives and deal with the difficulties with your boss.  I get that.  However, consider the benefits of being honest about your real motive and addressing it.  In the light of truth and honesty, you may see how the energy you’re spending on an unhealthy work situation can be freed up so you’re there 100% for your loved one.  Plus, deal with the issue with your boss now and you’re in a better position for that promotion later.

Motives.  I keep using that word – have you noticed?  Why?  Because motives motivate.  Merriam-Webster defines motive as ” “something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act”.

Please take a few moments and let that sink in.  Motives motivate us to take action.  

What motivates you?  Your desire to be loved, your desire to be a certain way, to be perceived a certain way, to do this, to not do that, to obey God, to defy God, to gain something?  Consider both internal and external factors that determine your motives.  Ask yourself if you’re motivated by someone else, either in being like them or in making sure you’re not like them.  How do societal values affect you, or the values of your friends, or enemies, or family?

1.  Make a complete and honest list of what motivates you in life.  Make this list for your eyes only so you’re able to be as thorough and as honest as possible.

2.  As you look over your list, take it one step further.  After each motive, ask yourself “Why does this motivate me?”  Keep asking why until you’ve identified as many of your personal motives as possible.

3.  When you’ve run out of answers,  look over your list.  Read it through several times.  Make truthful adjustments, and then consider that this is who you are.  

Now that you’re clear about who you are, what do you think of yourself when you see this on paper?  Is this who you want to be?  Your motives and attitudes shape your responses to life and your choices in life.  Change them, and you change yourself.  Make different choices, have different responses, and your personal history is altered forever.

Our motives and the consequences of our motives strongly affect us and those around us.  Prisoners of war are clear examples of the freedom men and women have to chose their motives and attitudes when every other freedom has been denied. Amidst inhumane suffering, many prisoners chose to be motivated by the hope of seeing their loved ones again.  They see the bitterness and evil in their captors, so they’re motivated to be the opposite of that.  They chose to trust in God’s love for them despite the terrible things happening.  Their endurance motivates their fellow prisoners to endure.  How prisoners cope in the future, upon release, is often determined by their motives and attitudes during their imprisonment.   They are a powerful example of how our motives shape both our present and our future.

4.  Identify the motive behind your one clear objective in being mentored.   If by any chance you’re still not clear on your motives behind your objective, write a list of pros and cons.  In your list of pros you’ll see the benefits – which come from your motivators.  Go ahead and name them.  Are you happy with your motive?  Is it enough to move you forward?  If yes, go on to the next step.  If not, you either need a new objective or a new motive.  Which will you choose?  

5. Brainstorm:  Create a list of actions you believe will bring you closer to your goal.  Get them all out on paper.

6. Now, put them in order.  You’re creating a step by step Action Plan to reach your objective.  

7. Put a realistic time frame around your Action Plan.  Make it challenging but not disheartening (not too long or too short).  Each time you accomplish a step, tell yourself what a good job you’re doing.  If the step isn’t successful, but you gave it your all, tell yourself you at least tried – that’s a “little win”.  

8.  If you find yourself stalling out, this last step is for you.  a) Give a copy of your Action Plan to someone who will hold you accountable. Follow up with them regularly.  If they fall through, you’re still responsible for your plan, not them.  Be honest about the motive that’s holding you back.   b) Identify that one thing you really don’t want to do. Now, go do it.  Don’t think about it, just do it.  Get that monkey off your back!  Your sense of accomplishment will be off the charts!    

Step 4 – Action Plan – My Contribution:

The rubber’s hitting the road.   I’m stepping up my prayers for you because in many ways, this is make it or break it time.  You’re either going to do the work, or revise your objective or motive, or delay the work.  Or, worst case, you’ll walk away altogether.  I don’t want you living with regrets or unfinished business. You’ve done a lot of work to get to this point and I’m committed to hitting the road with you, running shoulder to shoulder in spirit, with my head up to face the changes that come so I can encourage you when it gets tough and rejoice with you as you accomplish your goals.  

I’m also hoping that by seeing yourself honestly and clearly, you’ll become more intentional about the choices you make in all areas of your life.  If you’re having a hard time admitting your motives, I’ll be praying that you’re open to asking God to help you with this.  He knows where you’re motivated by wounds from  painful experiences.  He knows the choices you make that keep those wounds concealed and the consequences on you and those around you.  He also knows the motives that are just plain not good.  We all have them at times, and we all need forgiveness for them and the hurtful behavior that comes from them.  I’m hoping you don’t go hide in shame, but rather bring them to the light so they don’t run your life anymore.   God’s in this with you for the long term, at a deeper level than I can possibly go, and I hope you see the incredible love and forgiveness He has for you through Jesus, and how I represent in just a small, small way, the fact that He wants the best for you and is cheering you on, always!

The Finish Line – our final and very special step – is coming next. Meanwhile, run well, my good friend, run well.  

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The Mentor Me Series – Step Three – Resources #4

MentorMeKickOffHello!  It’s great to see you again. Did you choose a book to read? Why or why not?  How’s that going?

As always, let’s open in prayer. “God, we invite You into this time together.  The Bible teaches that where two or more are gathered in Your name, You’re right there with them.  So, please guide us today as we consider which resources to use. Amen.”

Resources #4 – Your Contribution:    

1.  Classes – Is it worth your while to consider adding more knowledge to your skill set?  It’s never too late to get more schooling.  Check out a traditional college, a local junior college, online college courses, churches, clubs, libraries or the workplace. Education is often key to moving ahead in many areas.

2.  Conferences – Does your field of interest hold conferences throughout the year? Take every opportunity to learn from leaders and even peers in your area of interest.  Conferences for parents and couples are often held through local churches. A favorite author or leader you know may be sharing information on a speaking tour. Dr. Henry Cloud, whose books and teachings are quite helpful, recently invited followers on Facebook to join him on a free teleconference call as he spoke about his latest book.  Ask your library if they’re aware of any free classes or conferences.

3.  Volunteering – Offering up your time and skills may benefit you in establishing new relationships and gaining new experiences.  Helping others is a way to open our eyes to new situations and opportunities we may not have considered before. It’s often sacrificial and yet rewarding at the same time.  Volunteering for an organization is a great way to get to know if you’d like to work there, too.

4.  Counseling – Difficult circumstances take a heavy emotional toll.  A good counselor may be able to give the needed impetus for change if hope is draining. I cannot stress enough the importance of seeking Godly counsel when we’re at the end of our ability to cope.  Please don’t let shame or the mistaken belief that you should be able to figure everything out on your own hold you back from seeking help. Ask your local church for their recommendations for vetted counselors (their credentials are sound and they have good, current reviews), and check them out yourself.  At least give them a fair try.

There are many other resources available, such as magazines, online websites, TED videos, YouTube, churches, libraries, etc. The monetary cost of some may be quite high, while others cost little or nothing. Please keep in mind that some resources may be far from what we hoped they would be.  In fact, we may walk away from resources knowing for certain what NOT to do!  There is one verse, however, that comforts and encourages me a great deal.  In Psalm 16:7-8  King David wrote: I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.  I keep my eyes always on the LORD.  With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”  With God in our heart, at the most difficult moments He will indeed counsel us, for free, and ensure that we will not be shaken.

Resources #4 – My Contribution:  

As we wrap up our focus on resources, there are two important points I hope you really get:

1.  As you focus on your one clear objective, you need what I refer to as the “little wins”.  Little wins come by making small but positive steps forward.  Realistically, even the perfect book, class, conference or counselor will only take you so far. What’s critical is your attitude about it.  Too often we evaluate each resource as either a success or a failure.  That mindset will quickly depress even the most stalwart among us!  I chose instead to view each resource as a step made with the right intention – with hope – forward.  That is what counts – thus a small win.  Did you make the step for the right reasons?  I only consider a resource a failure if I chose it with the wrong motive.  An example might be, “Did I read that book or take that class, hoping to get rich quick?”  “Did I expect that counselor to point out how wrong my spouse is?”  These are not good motives!  Examining our motives and lining them up with wise, loving, Godly values will enable us to have an inner peace knowing we really did try our best, even if the resource didn’t live up to our expectations.  That inner peace is a benefit and a definite win.  If the resource was helpful, then it’s an even bigger win!

2.  Looking at resources this way puts the responsibility for our choices, even the choices of the resources we choose to utilize, back on our own shoulders. In this way we take control of our lives.  It’s not someone else’s fault that we’re not where we need to be or we don’t have what we want.  And, if God doesn’t supply a resource when we think it’s needed most, it’s up to us to figure out the best way to move forward.  Is God using this to build patience in me?  Is my ability to endure growing?  Is my faith being stretched?  Is God disciplining me?  (He disciplines those He loves!)  What is a good lesson from this situation?  What is it I need to see?  Please see this as an opportunity to learn!  Each time you learn a true and sound lesson, it’s another tool in your toolbox readily available for your future.  And that’s another win!  I’m hoping you’re saying, “Ah, yes.  I get it!”

Join me next time for Step 4 – Reaching My Objective.  Until then, may God help you have the right motives and see the true small wins in your life.   God bless!

The Mentor Me Series – Step Three – Resources #3

MentorMeKickOffHello!  How are you and how are you doing with your homework?  Are you taking time to pray and read your Bible – daily?  What have you learned so far in this process?

Once again, let’s open in prayer. “God, today I ask for discernment for both________and myself.  We need to be able to discern truth and wisdom from safe resources.  I pray you’ll protect our hearts and keep us always aware that You and Your Word are the true source of life and answers we need.  Help us to chose carefully what books to read and what advice to act on.  May we remember to always filter everything through the truth of Your Word.  In Jesus name, amen.”

Step Three – Resources #3 – Your Contribution -Reading  Resources

Before I share my recommended resources, this is my attitude towards all resources other than the Bible summed up in three words – “Trust No One.”  And “Guard Your Heart.”  Why?   John 2: 23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Yes, we are all fallible.  We should not follow the teachings of any man or woman, but rather follow Jesus.  Many great leaders and teachers have proven to be hypocrites, with appalling motives that throw doubt and confusion on all who’ve  followed them. This leads me to the next verse I keep in mind all the time:  James 3:1 says,”Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”  I’m shaking in my boots, believe me!  I don’t want to point you or anyone else in the wrong direction – because I know someday God will be holding me accountable for what I’ve taught!  That’s why I’m leaving off my list several great books whose authors I’ve found to be hypocritical or off base theologically in one way or another.

Therefore, I give my recommendations with a caution to read them, well, cautiously. Always filter advice  from any source through the Bible’s teachings before applying it to your life. Let the Bible be the basis for your decision making and then take responsibility for your own decisions.

That said, below are important categories and my “go-to” books that to date have proved to have good teachings.

Spiritual Growth

For the new Christian – Now That I Believe by Robert A. Cook.  For the maturing Christian – Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Chambers.   For Christians seeking to understand the role of the Holy Spirit – Charles C. Ryrie’s book, The Holy Spirit, is a classic.   Who are You to Judge by Dr. Irwin Lutzer is also insightful.

Also, as you grow spiritually it’s important to understand how God has gifted you to impact the body of believers.  There is controversy over which particular book or test about spiritual gifts is most helpful.  Because of this, I recommend you simply go online and google/search “spiritual gifts test” and chose one to take, online, for free. This will give you at least an awareness of your gifts.  Please also read over the lists directly from the Bible in I Corinthians 12 and in Ephesians 4.  (You can google those two books that are in the Bible to find the list, too.)  Ask God to give you insights into how He’s wired you.  Begin to put them to use.  For example, if you’re gifted at serving, begin to test out ways in which you find the most pleasure and are most effective at serving others.

Personal Growth

Integrity by Dr. Henry Cloud,  Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud are both excellent. (I have found most of his books helpful.)  Now, Discover Your Strengths, and Go Put Your Strengths to Work – both by Marcus Buckingham, will help you focus in on your talents and how to use them fully.  If you’re looking to grow in your work environment, read John Maxwell’s books on leadership as well as Robert Heller’s books in the Essential Managers Series.  These classics give a broad understanding of workplace dynamics, problems and solutions.  They are not “Christian” books.

Relational Issues:  Love is a Choice by Dr. Robert Hemfelt, Safe People by Henry Cloud, Love Must Be Tough by Dr. James Dobson, and The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman are excellent resources.  Shaunti Feldhahn’s books are newer and quite helpful in understanding the needs of women and men, particularly her books, For Women Only and For Men Only.

So, which book sounds most helpful to you?  If I knew you personally, I’d hand pick one and go over it with you the next time we meet.  Will you consider choosing one and reading it?

Step Three – Resources #3- My Contribution -Reading  Resources

I’m aware that books may not be the best way you learn.  However, they do give insights and if you’re serious about learning, disciplining yourself to read carefully selected materials will pay off.

This is the stage where I begin to see how serious you are about learning and growing to achieve your one clear objective.  I’m looking to see actual steps you’re taking towards growth.  Are you doing hard work and still open to being held accountable? As for my part, I’ve been listening carefully and will make the best recommendations possible.   I’ll ask you the tough questions and follow up on the steps you’re taking.  The biggest mistake I can make here is to not hold you accountable.  I’m hoping that even if you’ve read the books already, or detest reading, that you’ll begin to see you need to take action steps towards growth.

Next up is Step Four- Resources #4 and then we’re almost done!  Hang in there, and please know that I’m continuing to pray for you with both joy and tenacity – for I know that “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” (Philippians 1:6)   It’s a privilege to cheer you on!

The Mentor Me Series – Step Number Three – Resource #2

MentorMeKickOffMentor Me Series – Step Number Three – Resource #2

Welcome back!   Were you able to assess your current situation and come up with a sound lesson from it that will help you as you move forward?  Why is it so helpful to you?

Let’s open in prayer:  “God, thanks again for this opportunity for us to be together. Give each of us the wisdom we need and guide our conversation. Help________to see, hear and understand this important next step as they desire to grow.  In Jesus name, amen.”

Resource #2- Your Contribution:  God 

You got that right – God is a resource!  While a list of how He helps would be virtually endless, we’ll stick to three critical ways that stand out.

First – This is mind-blowing:  someone is intentionally present on this earth specifically for you, to teach, to guide, restrain, convince, intercede and direct you in the best ways to go.   That’s right, for you.  There’s a lot more He does but for today, just try to fathom how cool that is.  Really.  I’d like to introduce you to Him – meet the Holy Spirit.  Jesus left the earth, but then almost immediately sent the Holy Spirit so we wouldn’t be alone without help.  Amazing – amazing!  You don’t have to breathe His name over a thousand times, you don’t have to meditate in a specific body position, you don’t have to sing the right song or go to the right church, be outside in nature, or journal to connect with God. You just have to pray it and mean it, “Yes, Jesus, I believe you died for my sins, I’m so sorry about them, and I accept your forgiveness and am open to You.”   Accept that forgiveness and the Holy Spirit will be faithful to help you always.  He’ll never leave you for the rest of your life.  You may not feel Him all the time, but He promises you, He’s with you.  (Hebrews 13:5)

Second – as you’ve noticed, I think prayer is important.  Many people aren’t sure what to say or even if God is listening.  However, if you mean it, He’s listening.  He wants relationship with you and He wants you in eternity with Him.  He’s using everything about your current circumstances to point you to Him. (See Acts 17:24-28) God is at work in you and around you all the time.  So, get in relationship with Him by talking to Him about what’s important to you.  Tell him about your goals and why they’re important to you.  Never minimize how much He cares about the details of your life. As you reach out to Him, you’ll grow to love Him and obey Him more and more.  Prayer is the beginning of a most beautiful relationship.

Third – The bestseller of all time.  8 billion copies so far, 100 million copies printed each year and readily available free online – the Bible.   The wisdom of the Bible applies to the issues of your heart, my heart and God’s heart.  Life, death and eternity are all addressed in detail, truthfully.  Wisdom doesn’t get any better from any other book, ever.   Read it regularly, (daily!) praying for wisdom and understanding and as you apply it to your life, you’ll see how dark and empty life is without it, how good and full life is with it.

Homework for this week –  Schedule a time to regularly pray and read your Bible.  Start with finding at least three verses or sets of verses in the Bible that offer some direction, wisdom or encouragement regarding your desired goal.  This is quite a simple process, even if you’re not familiar with the Bible.  Simply fill in the search field at the link below with key words you think might be helpful.  It may take some time to find the right verses, but again, even if you’re reading results that aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, you’re learning and you just might find more nuggets of gold.

   

http://www.biblestudytools.com/concordances/strongs-exhaustive-concordance/

     A word of caution regarding reading the Bible when you’re in need of direction.  For instance, I came across a passage years ago that has encouraged me through many a storm:

Jeremiah 29:- “11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity…”

This set of verses was directed to the Jews taken into captivity for seventy years. God was telling them to build houses and settle into the captivity and He was assuring them that He had a larger plan for their future that would give them hope again.  As much as I love this promise, it was written for a specific set of circumstances and I don’t want to apply it incorrectly or “claim” that only good things will happen to me now.  No, what I hold on to is the picture of the true nature of God to be wise and purposeful in the lives of His people.  I trust that wisdom and purpose in my life.  So, as you search, ask God for wisdom and understanding so you’re able to find the truth in verses that are applicable.

Resource #2- My Contribution:  God 

As I’m encouraging you on your journey, I’m keeping my eye on the bigger picture. I’m keenly aware that wherever you are today, either you or your circumstances will change, likely sooner than later.  We can only hope they will change for the better.  Accidents alter reality in a millisecond.  When illness strikes. losses pile up quickly.  Death may come unexpectedly to us or a loved one.  I want you to do the most important work now, work that will not only bring you closer to your goal, but ensure that no matter what happens, you’ll be just fine.

That’s why in my mentoring sessions, I ask people the three following questions:  1. How’s your prayer life? 2. How’s your Bible reading?  3. How’s your relationship with Jesus?  One of the most surprising elements of mentoring comes when I meet with people who are eager to grow yet aren’t taking the most elemental, basic steps towards growth.  They’ve never before made the connection between growth and success and their relationship with God.  Success is determined by what’s going on inside of you – not in your circumstances.  How on earth can you expect to have the joy, the peace, the deep sense of fulfillment, that comes from true success if you’re running on your own strength all the time?   You will run out – sooner or later you or your circumstances will fall short and He’ll be there, I promise you, He’ll be there.  But why wait till then?  “Begin now!” I’m urging.  Seeing that light bulb go on when a mentee makes the connection and begins to see results, now that’s awesome!   

And what is the most successful work in the world?  Some days it may be using your talents and gifts to the fullest measure possible, some days it may be showing selfless love to someone in need, some days it may be kissing the head of a child or changing a diaper or some days, it may be simply finding the courage through prayer to accept your painful reality with an attitude of  hope and perseverance – since your attitude is the only thing you have left to control when everything else around you is out of control.  Yes, these are true successes.  

God bless you as you persevere here on your journey!  Next time we meet we’ll go over some of my best recommendations for specific reading resources.

The Mentor Me Series Step Number Two

MentorMeKickOffWelcome back to The Mentor Me Series.  At this point, you’ve been able to look at how you’re really doing and the important things impacting your life right now. Before we begin today, has anything changed since you did the first step, anything that might impact what you’re hoping to accomplish?  If so, take a moment to get it out, on paper, in a prayer, dictate it through an app, however you need to share it, share it.

I’m pausing here to say a prayer for you/with you:

“God, please help__________with what’s on their heart right now.  You know their circumstances and how important their situation is to You and to them.  Give them a clear mind and the ability to see what they need to do to grow, and help me as I mentor them.  Guide us through this process and give us wisdom.  Amen.”

Now on to….

Step Number Two – Your Contribution:  What’s My Goal?

A mentoring relationship works best if you clearly define what you’re hoping to attain in the process.  This means one objective at a time, not a dozen. One. Clear. Objective.  Be careful that you don’t just define the problem.  Rather, define what you’re hoping to gain.   For example, your problem might be, “I’m unhappy at work.” Your goal might then be, “Come to a definite conclusion as to whether I should stay at this job or quit.”  Another example of a problem, “I’m juggling too many balls in the air and each one seems like it’s critical.  I don’t know what to do.”  Your goal might be, “Define what I want my life to look like and what I need to do to make it that way.”

It may take several tries to be able to focus in and articulate what you want out of being mentored.  But, getting clear about what you really want is essential to this process.   Take your time.  Once you know what you want, write it down.

Step Number Two – My Contribution:  What is Your Goal?

I‘m very interested in what you’re hoping to gain here.  Why?  I really care about you!  On the other hand, I’m not sitting in judgment of what it is that you want. From that perspective, in the best way possible I gently say, “It doesn’t matter to me what your goal is, because it’s your goal.  It’s clearly important to you and there’s a reason why you’ve chosen it.  I want you to know I’m cheering you on and am shoulder to shoulder with you in spirit.  I’m hoping the best for you and I’m in this with you as long as you are.     

Defining what you want will bring a clarity and purpose that’s necessary to moving forward.  It might also bring some excitement, or at least a glimmer of hope that a solution is imminent.  I’m looking to see if that’s the case with you, or if things have been so difficult that it may be a while before you’re able to see that glimmer.  It’s still early in the process, however, there is the possibility that as you define your goal, you might begin to see the potential for solutions.  The more you try to define what it is you really want, the more you focus on positive outcomes.   It may begin to nudge you out of the tough place you’re in.  Like I said, it’s a bit early for this, but if it’s starting already – wonderful.       

Speaking of expectations and perspective…very important tip:  keep your expectations fluid!  You may have defined your reality clearly, you may have set a great goal without too much effort because it was fairly obvious to you.  But, be ready to accept insights that come when you least expect them.  At any time in this process you may suddenly see that what you want is not what you need at all. You may realize that what you saw as a negative impact on your life has really been helpful in several ways, or vice-versa.  If this happens, you may think that everything you’ve done so far has just gone out the window.  Not so!  Intentional work is never wasted.  If you hadn’t done the work you might not have gotten the insight.  So, accept new insights as they come, wherever they come in the process.  Changing goals, changing how you see things affecting you, these are not bad changes – in fact, they are positive signs of growth!  Your expectations of how this will go do not need to dictate the benefits of very different results. Expect change, accept change – and keep moving forward.  

I’m looking forward to our next meeting.  We’ll be talking about  The Mentor Me Series – Step Three – Resources.  (Hint – The most important are readily available!)  

The Mentor Me Series Kick Off

MentorMeKickOff

A wise and faithful adviser or teacher – that’s a mentor.  Would you like one?  What would you talk about: personal growth, how to move forward in a relationship or career, how to grow in your understanding of God, or…? Finding a good mentor is like finding gold, it’s exciting, it’s potentially life changing, and it’s rare.  How many mentors do you know?  Not enough, right?

The good news is that when we accept forgiveness for our sins through the sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus, the Holy Spirit actually guides us and speaks to our thoughts and is faithful in helping us grow in ways no one else can.  That doesn’t mean, however, that we don’t need input from trusted people.  The Bible tells us to get together with other Christians, to be iron sharpening iron for each other, to represent God’s graces as we love each other according to the special and unique way He’s gifted each individual to love and bless others.   Considering this, the world should be full of mentors, but it’s not.

Let’s change that.  Yep, right now.  Let’s talk.  You and me.  Right here, right now, as if we’re sitting down face to face, just like I’ve done countless times with others, ready to listen, encourage, share some insights as I pick up on where you’re at and how you’re doing.  As a mentor, I’ve seen the impact of giving someone the opportunity to speak about what they need.  They do the hard part, the growing, I just try to ask the right questions and point them to resources or next steps they may not have considered.  I also pray for them, and invite God into the process.   The best part, for me, is watching the growth and subsequent joy in the life of the person I’m mentoring!  And, it brings, well, contentment, to my soul that is deeply satisfying.

I’m committing to do that for you here, through what I call, The Mentor Me Series. It’s a simple, clear format.  I’ll ask the questions through easy steps.  You answer through your own private notes or journal, through comments on the blog if you prefer, or you may even email me.  Below the questions for you, I’ll give you some insights into why I’m asking the questions and some potential tips that may help you as you answer the questions.   This may look easy, but if you’re doing the work, it’s not.  But it will help you grow.

So, if you’re doing this on the fly, quick, grab your phone or tablet and open your favorite Notes app or Dictation app,(or grab the closest envelope, post it or whatever!) and get ready to take down the first step.  If you’ve got a little more time, get your tablet, computer, a notebook, or a special journal and perhaps a cup of coffee or favorite beverage, and let’s get to it.   Really.  We’ll tackle Step Number One today, and in a few days we’ll move on to Step Number Two.  You’ll do your part, I’ll do mine, and we’ll see what happens.  I can’t wait!  Oh, and do me a favor, say a quick prayer that God will help you with this (I’ve prayed, too!) – and, that’s it!

Step Number One – Your Contribution:  How Am I?

I really want to know.  Write out how you’re doing personally – emotionally, physically, spiritually.  How are the significant relationships in your life?  How are you doing with your relationship with God?  What’s the reality of your life right now? List out all the things that are going on right now that are impacting you.    It may help to draw a circle with yourself in the center, and then begin to label all the things going on in your world within that circle and maybe some secondary things that are outside your world (circle) that are indirectly affecting you.  If you need to come back to it later as you think of more things, then do so, but at least start with the top five details of your life that stand out to you.

Step Number One – Mentor’s Contribution:  How Are You?

I’m looking to see how you’re doing – how you’re really doing.  Though we may be just getting to know each other, I”m hoping you’ll begin to be transparent.  If you will honestly define the reality of your life right now and say it out loud, (write it down) then the reality of it may prepare you for the work you need to do.  

Identifying just one or two things impacting you today will have me concerned that perhaps you’re not taking into consideration all that you’ve got going on.   This is your life.  Are you in control of it or is it in control of you?      This will determine your starting point, what you may need to do to grow.  If you’ve got fifty things written down, this too, will help determine your starting point.  Are you overwhelmed or are you simply a very self-aware person?   You tell me.  Just be honest.  Write it down!  My goal for you here, is that you get focused clearly on the reality of what is going on so that in Step Number Two – What’s My Goal? – you’ll be ready to define it accurately.