when I grow up, I want to be like Sue
men·tor: an experienced and trusted adviser.
Have you ever met someone you immediately feel like you’re going to connect with? Meet Sue. She is kind, warm, optimistic and wise, and I’m certain you’d like her if you met her. Sue carries herself with a confidence I long to embody. She values health and fitness, particularly running, and can probably slay all of us in any distance. She is a daughter, sister, friend and aunt. Sue is a strong, bold leader. She inspires people around her to become better leaders through leading by example, and by intentionally investing in them.
Bottom line: Sue is a boss.
When I lived in Atlanta, I had the privilege of leading a women’s small group every week. Sue worked (and still works) for the church our small group was based out of, and invested in all of the women’s small group leaders regularly. Starbucks became our meeting spot of choice, and our coffee dates quickly became the highlight of my week.
One of the questions Sue asked me each coffee date was, “How’s your heart?”
The first time she asked me that question I remember thinking, How is my heart? Ummm beating? What kind of question is that?
I soon realized how important her question truly was. Sue wasn’t asking me if my heart was beating, she was asking me to trust her, and to let her in. She was asking me to let her invest. Sue wanted to genuinely hear about my hurts, worries, concerns and joys so she could listen and advise out of her own experiences and faith. When I had the courage to let her in (which took time), I felt seen and known, and gained valuable insight only she could provide. Her wisdom and council helped transform my faith into what it is today. Sue consistently, lovingly pointed me toward the Lord.
What I love about Jesus, is he mentored his 12 apostles in the same way. He chose to pour into ordinary, willing men. Jesus asked tough questions, told stories in order to teach, led by example, and ultimately asked the 12 to let him in. He wanted to intimately invest, and when the 12 let Jesus into their hearts, they were never the same.
Our faith can look like this too. When we allow Jesus and his wise mentors into our lives, we give ourselves the chance to learn, grow and absorb knowledge from someone God has prepared. By being open, humble and teachable, we have everything to gain. Jesus knew the master plan when it came to the apostles; he knew he was going to die on the cross, and knew he needed to equip them for their future. In the same way, wise mentors help equip us simply because they’re able to recognize God with a wider lens, and an experienced, eternal focus.
Jesus pointed the 12 toward his heavenly Father in the same way Sue pointed me toward Jesus. I admire her to this day, and will never forget the impact she made in my life. At a young age when I needed direction and guidance, God sent me Sue.
Without a doubt, my relationship with Sue was a major stepping stone in my spiritual walk. Our intentional investments, whether mentor or mentee, are valuable when it comes to growing in our faith. As I’ve reflected on how much I value Sue, and the many wise advisers in my life, I felt the Lord place on my heart the following questions to consider:
What if we seek out a mentor, and let them in, like our spiritual growth depends on it?
Am I open to being invested in or mentored? If not, why?
Am I willing to let my guard down in order to be seen, known, and led?
I hope this encourages you to step out in faith to fearlessly invest in a relationship with someone who is a few stages ahead of you. They may not look like anything you’ve ever expected, but I promise you’ll be glad you opened your heart to let them in. When I grow up, I want to be like Sue.
If you find yourself spending a lot and investing a little, how can you walk away from certain people or activities to create space for more valuable, mentor/mentee investments?
Why is it important to surround yourself with people who are a stage or two ahead of you in life?
Encouragement: sometimes putting yourself out there is hard. It feels scary. Remember you are worthy of being invested in! Don’t be afraid to ask God for help in this area. He sees you.