What do you see when you look in the mirror? Let’s be honest, rarely do we look in the mirror and say, wow, I look good today. If you’re like me, you are probably quick to notice the dark circles under your eyes or the hair that needs to have the gray removed sooner than later. Somewhere along the line, we develop the perspective that mirrors were meant to look at our faults. How might our focus shift if we started looking for things we do well, and utilize our strengths to soar?
I spent much of my day yesterday praying and prepping notes for a brainstorming session I am leading this week. I count it a privilege to sit at the table and lead several regional leaders in conversation about what mentoring means in the church.
As I’ve prepared my heart, I’m reflecting on the value of a good mentor in our work life as well. Over the years, I have been blessed to have incredible leaders to work for and with, and superb mentors to ask help me see the beauty within me as well as ask hard questions.
When I think of mentoring, I think of holding up a mirror for the person we are “mentoring”. We are trying to help people to see for themselves. Hold up a mirror before someone so they can see where God is at work in their life. We are often blind to ourselves. We pick yourself apart and focus on everything that is wrong. We don’t see the value within us; we don’t see what Jesus sees in us. Sometimes, it takes someone else to hold up a mirror and say, here, look at this – I see beautiful eyes that look at others the way Jesus might have. Or I see someone who listens so well that others are drawn to them. Speaking truth and life into them, encourage and building them up.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thes. 5:11
A mentor can help us grow in Christ, and be more intentional. What if we combined the skills/Leadership based mentoring that commonly happens in workplaces with good solid Christian mentoring. As we deepen our relationship with the Lord and realize more of who God created us to be, and what our strengths are, what if we carried that into our work with us? I think we’d each do better at work, because our focus wouldn’t be on our upward mobility in the company, it would be upward; on Jesus.
When I reflect on mentoring from a workplace perspective, I reflect back to one conversation that was instrumental in shifting my focus in my career. In this conversation, the mentor said things to me I hadn’t thought about myself before, and he asked me hard questions. He “figuratively” held up a mirror, so that I could see myself. Not as just a professional, but as others saw me. And then he reassured me how Jesus saw me. He didn’t tell me anything. He asked questions and he listened and he told me a story. And then, he left me challenged and wanting to spend more time with Jesus.
Who do you have in your life that is having those kinds of conversations with you? Who can you process your faith and your job concurrently with? Who might push you to be a bit more like Jesus at work? I would guess many don’t have that person. It’s ok. Commit today to spend some time in prayer about it. God will lead you to the right person. Then be brave and ask them to spend some time with you. I think you’ll be surprised at their response!