I’ll never forget the day I walked into the formaldehyde-scented bathroom of the Science Hall after my freshman bio lab. I opened the door, and there she was- standing by the sink, washing her hands.
I was a freshman psychology major, and this college-thing was new to me on so many levels. Being 5 hours from home, I was away from family, childhood friends, my church, and all that was familiar.
But there was something really meaningful that happened when I walked into Psychology 101 for the first time just a few weeks prior. I was one of maybe 400 other students, and I found my seat somewhere near the back, and waited. In walked our 5-foot-something professor. Her smile was soft and comforting, and her presence was strong but kind. When she started teaching, I was floored by the wisdom she had, and how she applied to much of life to what we were learning. But more than anything, I recognized her faith- because her relationship with God was spilling out of every part of her life. I wanted to learn from her- which is not a typical reaction for me.
You see, I’m the kind of person who is a helper by nature. I love to talk to people, to hear their stories, and to share in their struggles. I want to lend a listening ear, to serve, and to give in any way that I can. But now that I was hundreds of miles away from home- in unfamiliar territory, I didn’t feel like I had much to give. I was still trying to figure things out for myself. My mind flashed back to a conversation I’d had with my dad a few months prior.
He explained to me that people like me are like wells. God designed us with the ability to give, to serve, and to love others. But the problem with wells, is that if they aren’t getting filled up- eventually, they run dry. Eventually, they have nothing left to give. My well felt dry. And I knew that I needed to find someone to help me find my place. Someone who could help “fill me up”. My relationship with God was still of utmost importance- and it was a huge source of refreshment for me. But my heart longed for human interaction- someone who could invest in my life and encourage me. I knew Ms. Donovan, my Psychology 101 professor, would be a great fit. What I didn’t expect, is that this exchange would occur in the bathroom of the Science Hall.
Seeing that moment as a God-thing, I timidly approached her right there at the sink and introduced myself. We had a great conversation, and I asked if she’d be willing to meet with me on a more regular basis outside of class. I wanted to learn from her, and I asked if she’d be willing to mentor me. She said she would, and there started a 5 year friendship that would have a direct impact in the course of my relationship with God, my marriage, my career, and my entire life.
#2 Person You Need in Your Life: A Mentor
If you’re anything like me, it can be so much easier to think of giving- while receiving can seem awkward, uncomfortable, and even make you feel “needy”. It’s one thing to give support and love to others- but asking for support and love can be quite challenging. But in learning how to become a healthy person, asking and receiving are two important skills I’ve learned to master.
There is something really powerful about a mentor relationship- a person who can come alongside of you and help you fight the everyday battles of life. A person who can teach you, encourage you, and share with you the wisdom and experience they’ve gleaned through the years. Scripture is full of examples of mentor relationships from Jesus and his disciples, to Paul and Timothy, to the many disciples and their ongoing ministries. Titus 2:3-5 reminds us how important it is to learn from our elders and those more mature than us in the faith.
Through the years, I’ve had so many mentors and each one has had a crucial role in my life. They have shaped me into the person God made me today. They have added so much wisdom and perspective to my life. They have refreshed me- so that I could continue to do the same for others.
We need people to pour into us, so that we can continue to pour into others.
So who is someone that you look up to? Who would you look at their life and say, “That’s where I want to be in 10 years”? Who’s marriage, ministry, parenting, or personality do you respect? I challenge you to find someone older and wiser and invite them to pour into your life.
Be deliberate about meeting together weekly or monthly, and set some time aside to talk, to pray, to set goals, or to work through struggles. Give yourself the opportunity to be real, to be vulnerable, and to be teachable. Because when it comes to standing strong in our walk with Jesus- two are so much better than one (Ecc. 4:12). Find someone who will invest in your life, and more importantly, allow them to do so. Because the more your well is filled, the more equipped you will be, and the more you can pour into others.
Just tuning in? Find out who the #1 Person You Need in Your Life is!
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!