"I don't believe God himself would entirely meet with her approval," said Anne Shirley when speaking of Mrs. Barry's harsh words. Oh Lord, help me not to be a disapproving Mrs. Barry when mentoring younger women.
When I have the opportunity to act as a mentor, I am aware that I have very high standards for myself and everyone around me. How can I grow in holiness while tempering my harshness?
Choose the biblical standard. I have plenty of personal preferences, but these are not equal with biblical precepts. As a mentor, I see God sanctifying me as I sort out what He values and realize that not everyone applies the principles in the same way. For example, I would rather bake in my kitchen for a Session meeting than bake in the sun for a Jamaican missions evangelism session, but that doesn't make my activity superior. I want the younger woman to know what God says and apply it in her own life. My goal is to see her conform to His image and not to mine.
Choose your battles. As a mom, I prioritized issues and knew that not every behavior was worth fighting about. In my book, having a friend with a blue streak in his hair is minor compared to being constantly around a friend who swears a blue streak. I want to use the same principles as a spiritual mom. Some of the opinions and actions of a younger woman might not be the most mature, but discussing them shouldn't take up all our time together. My goal is to tackle the heart issues.
Choose to know all about her. When I first meet another woman, I only see what is on the surface and not the adversity she overcame to be at this point. Recently, I jumped to conclusions about a woman I knew. Then, I found that she was battling a debilitating illness. That explained so much. As I get to know the young woman I am mentoring, I want to hear about her hopes and fears and how God has worked in her life so far. My goal is to listen with understanding.
Choose to be positive. I can always use more encouragement in my life. The woman I am mentoring could, too. I still remember some reassurance that I received from an older pastor's wife about 30 years ago. I felt very small next to her and somewhat intimidated by my lack of experience. She said to me, "You are more mature than many people." All Christians need to hear that God has not forgotten them, that He loves them, that obeying Him is worth it. My goal is to reflect God's favor.
I want younger women to know that God is worthy of our praise. I want them to see His love through me. Lord, help me to make the right choices.
(Quote from Anne of Green Gables, 1985 TV movie)_____________________________________________________________________________
This is our third post on mentoring. See also How Old is an Older Woman? and Siri: Find Me a Mentor.