As many of you know, Married… With Fiction is preparing to launch on April 1st, 2013. April Fool’s Day. Yes. What were we thinking?
One of the key focal points of Married… With Fiction is mentoring, the conscious act of reaching out to those around you, especially when you’ve already walked the road they’re traveling. (Click to Tweet!)
But what happens when mentoring becomes enabling? (Click to Tweet!) How do we prevent it from happening? Has it ever happened to you?
I recently had a terrible experience with this. Briefly, this is what happened. I was asked to take a writer under my wings, a friend who had a story to tell, but not the words to tell it. In the end, after a tumultuous process, I lost a cherished friendship with her, and I was cut off from the a circle of people to which we both belonged, because I made no defense for my behavior when she maligned my character to them.
I have probably said too much here, however, I have a point. Because of this experience, and my tendency to be a bit of a recluse by nature, I have to say that I’m rather gun shy about the idea of mentoring.
Well, I have this BOOK that gives a little insight into mentoring. Let me share with you some of the things it says.
Psalm 145:4 One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
2 Timothy 2:2And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
1 Peter 5:1-5So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Acts 8:27-31And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
1 Thessalonians 2:8So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
Titus 2:3-5 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
- Commending – promoting one another by openly speaking highly of each other.
- Entrusting – passing on important and pertinent information to those who can benefit from it.
- Teaching – clarifying what works and doesn’t work to those who are still learning.
- Shepherding – being willing to lead, to steer those who are floundering or might get lost without direction.
- Willingly and eagerly exercising oversight – offering discernment when areas of weakness or strength are noted.
- Being examples – living in a way that Shows, not Tells – sorry, writer humor.
- In humility – never setting oneself above others, no matter what station in life, but always being gracious, putting others first.
- Guiding – offering help and encouragement to others who might be struggling to find their way.
- Sharing – not only the gospel, but of ourselves. Sharing our hearts – things we’ve learned along the journey.
- Training – Being willing to be an example of what has and has not worked, so that others can see more clearly how they should go.
These are just a few of the actions that make up mentoring, according to Scripture. Not one of the above verses mentions anything about allowing yourself to be used, to be walked on, to be beat up, to be taken advantage of, or abused in any other way. Not one of them says mentoring requires setting aside God’s calling on your own life in order to hold someone up who isn’t desirous of growing and learning and becoming a better wife, child, partner, writer, person. Not one of those verses confuse mentoring with enabling.
Mentoring is helping others find their own way, on their own two feet. Enabling is keeping others from finding their own way by lying down under their feet. (Click to Tweet!) On Married… With Fiction, it is our goal to build a community who reaches out to each other. Mentoring, not enabling.