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Is Mentoring Worth It?

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I was a 20-something, single teacher in Dallas.  Weary of pursuing things that never seemed to satisfy, I was frustrated that I seemed to be "spinning my wheels" in efforts that didn’t really have a lasting impact.

Until someone posed a question to me that truly changed the direction of my life...

 

A woman who became a dear mentor of mine pitched this question to me:

“Besides our eternal God, there are 2 things that last forever: God’s Word and people. What are you doing to invest in each of these?”

As I evaluated all that I devoted my time to,  I realized it was pile of temporary, non-important endeavors.  I wanted to have a life that mattered—a life whose influence could be felt even after I was gone.

God changed my heart and redirected my pursuits based on the wise and timely words of that woman who took the time to care about me and ask me hard questions. I began to spend time reading and studying God’s Word. I became more involved in my church and developed relationships with younger women in whom I could invest. 

Yes, being a part of a mentoring relationship is worth it! How do I know? The impact of that one question, from that one wise, older woman charted the course of my life toward an eternal goal of knowing God and serving Him through loving other people. I’m living in the blessings of those decisions still today.

 

If engaging in a mentoring relationship is  so wonderful, what holds us back?

You may have found yourself using one or two of these excuses explanations:

1. I don’t want to share my weaknesses and needs with someone who isn’t family.

It's difficult to be vulnerable with someone else. But within a trust relationship, sharing your weaknesses is actually a step towards accepting the fact that you aren’t perfect. To open up and share your needs with someone is a big step in moving beyond pride and living a life of humility and freedom. A  mentoring relationship develops over time, and you definitely don't have to start out "airing all your dirty laundry." But opening yourself up to the encouragement and conviction the Holy Spirit may have to offer through the wise words of someone else may be exactly what you need to grow spiritually.

 

2. I really don’t have time to invest in building another relationship.

We all lead busy lives. But, do you lead an intentional life? An intentional life makes room for those things that will grow and stretch you, allowing God space to develop wisdom within you. Evaluate what "lesser" things you might be able to let go of in order to carve out time for something that nourishes your soul.  Establish a doable, flexible schedule that can work within your life. It may be a bit of sacrifice—maybe getting up early one morning a week/month to meet. Keep it at a fixed time (1 hour or so; set a timer if you have to) and be committed to attending.

 

3. I don’t need another BFF.

Good news! A mentor isn’t meant to be your best friend. By pure definition, a mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser.  Unlike unstructured hangout time with your closest girlfriends, time with your mentor should be intentional and purposeful for the goal of spiritual growth.

 

4. What if we try and there’s not a connection?

Connection is an important aspect to any relationship. But I have found that often my expectation of how a relationship should be inhibits me from gleaning the sweet truth and blessing that awaits me in someone who isn’t a lot like me. Set an end date and a time to reevaluate if it’s still valuable to you. You are not stuck in it forever, and God often provides the right person for a specific season. 

 

5. I don’t know how to find a mentor.

We have the perfect opportunity for you! For years, Shandon Women’s Ministry has been praying about how to structure a mentoring program for the ladies of our church. God has been so faithful! 

We are excited to roll out a mentoring program, called REAL Connections, in February. We want to help you establish real connections where you have a safe space to talk about real life. It’s about Relationship, Encouragement, Accountability, Laughter. 

Is your heart screaming out, “Yes, me!”? If you would want to take the first step in cultivating a potentially life-changing relationship, learn more about REAL Connections. Send in the interest form at the bottom of the page, and save the date for the Mentoring Mix and Mingle on February 12, where you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the program and all that it has to offer you as well as meet potential mentors. 

This is for you, sweet friend!

Step out and do it.

Be available to see what God has for you through a mentoring relationship, in which you can make a REAL connection.

It is so worth it. Eternally worth it.

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT REAL CONNECTIONS

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4 Ways to Live Small with Girlfriends

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The following was originally published on  Amy Petersen's blog, amyruthwriter.com, as part of the series "Live Small in 31 Days."


My girlfriends: they stand BESIDE me and WITH me in life!

 

Have you ever wanted something but didn’t know how to get it?  The boy. The body. The job. The look.

I think girlfriends  also fall into this category.  Friendship is a desire born deep down inside but with the skill to acquire not so naturally assumed.

My girlfriend journey has taken many twists and turns, and  along the way I am gratefully learning a few things:

  1. In order to have a healthy friend, you need to be a healthy person.
  2. Be selective in your choosing. Just because a girl is available and willing, doesn’t mean she would make a good friend for you.
  3. Give love and live small to your friend.

It’s easy to enter into a friendship and think of all the benefits that YOU will receive: a listening ear, someone to do things with, source for free advice, significance, and validation.

Instead of these self-driven motivations, think of ways that YOU can give by listening and responding in selfless love: taking care of her kids for the afternoon or dropping by with a Starbucks Latte to spruce up her day or a simple “how are you?” followed by a patient silence.

  1. Live small and share yourself.

This is perhaps the HARDEST one for me. I can give and listen and respond and keep focus on YOU.  I feel safer there. But to turn attention onto ME is scary. It’s vulnerable. I’m exposed. It’s challenging to share and reveal and open up. So either out of pride of what you will think of me or fear that you won’t remain true to me,

I insulate myself and won’t let you in.

I bounce back questions and deflect attention off of me onto you. I may look like a great conversationalist, but really I’m just scared. The friends that I long for will never truly know me, because I won’t ever really let them in.

I’m learning to live small. I’m learning…

  • the blessing of friendship,
  • the value of vulnerability,
  • the joy of openness,
  • and the benefit of exposure.

And too, the wisdom in staying alert and sensitive in when to speak and what to say and who to share what with.  Freedom and joy comes when I don’t insulate myself from relationships that are wisely within my very reach with healthy, compassionate, gracious people.

Freedom and joy comes when I don’t insulate myself from relationships that are wisely within my very reach with healthy, compassionate, gracious people.

God has BLESSED me with over-the-top, tried-and-true girlfriends that live small and give free love to me in colorful and bountiful ways. In order to experience the full gift of girlfriends, I must be willing to live small, open up, and share myself.


WE COULD ALL USE A REVOLUTION IN OUR FRIENDSHIPS!

Shandon Women's Ministry invites you (and your girlfriends!) to the 2016 Women's Conference: Girlfriend Revolution with guest   speaker, author and counselor Susan Thomas. 

 

ABOUT AMY

A   self-professed "mini-van driver, an obsessive organizer, Diet Dr. Pepper drinker, wanna-be runner, Bible studier, do-it-yourselfer, and mom of 3 boys,"  Amy Petersen is married to Shandon's Executive Pastor, Brandon Petersen. She  has taught Sunday School, led Bible studies  and mentoring groups and serves with the Women's Ministry.  For more, click  here.

 

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