Finding a Mentor?

As "younger women" like Titus 2 talks about, how do we go about finding a mentor-- an "older woman"?

Here are some places I've found them:
  • In my local church
  • From neighbors & friends in community
  • Through books & biblical teachings
  • Over the internet
But I think one thing that can trip us up is if we are only open to learning one particular thing at a particular time.  When I think back about the women I've learned from, most of the mentors of my life have not come *at the time that I felt like I needed* to learn that particular thing.

Instead, I have looked for women who do anything well... some are lifelong learners and have some interesting topics/subjects to teach me about (for example, one friend is really into personality theory --like MBTI-- and so I borrowed the best books she had on the subject and she explained to me how to apply those things in real life), so I learn things like that from certain friends.

While single and still in high school & college, I babysat for three different families, and I noticed that they raised their children thoughtfully & intentionally.  So I learned things about that from them even though I wasn't remotely near having children.

Some women I'm watching now have challenging/difficult marriages but persevere through them and I try to learn that even though I'm quite content & delighted in our marriage.   Another woman I've learned from lately is really faithful at Bible study and teaching and so I've been intentionally spending time to learn that from her.  A different woman I used to spend regular time with has an immaculate kitchen (despite having 4 busy children spread over 15 years) and is also an excellent cook.   I learned a lot just by watching her about food prep & keeping a kitchen tidier than I'd previously thought possible (not that I do that super-well now, but I do it better than I would've if I was only paying attention to try to learn one particular topic to learn from her and missed the things she did well).

If I purposed to only learn the one or two things I felt like I needed at a particular time in life, I might have missed learning from any of these women.  Instead, I try to focus on what other women do *WELL* and try to learn that, regardless of whether I think that's the particular thing I "need" at that moment in life.  

Look at what things a woman does "excellently" and seek to learn from her.  If we do that, I think regardless of our context (even difficult ones: overseas, with few friends/connections; in a small country church with few friends; in transition with no long-time friends, etc.), we can find a plethora of mentors even if it's not necessarily in the area where we ourselves are struggling.

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Tammy said...

Excellent post. An important thing to remember is that we are also the "older woman" in Titus 2. We should always have a mentor... and be a mentor.

Terri Lynn said...

This is wonderful advice! God sends His angels to us in many forms. We might not understand what the people in our lives are 'supposed' to teach us, but by being open as you suggest we can learn the lessons we're meant to.

Anonymous said...

My experience thus far has been that the women I know are not interested in being mentors. Over the years, I have called women to ask for advice and encouragement, only to realize that they don't really have time to add another relationship to lives. Has anyone else had this experience?

So... for now I'm focusing on trying to be an encouragement to other ladies.


Surprised Rach said...

Thank you for this advice! We're moving to a new town soon and I pray that I'll remember this as I meet my new church family, and not get all selfish about having my 'needs met'... You remind me that God knows what I need even before
I ask for it ( and often before I know what I do need)!!