This title is misleading. One can not simply mentor one’s self.
I truly believe that mentorship is not only important, but a Biblical call.
Here’s a piece of my story:
I had two kids (only two!), but I felt overwhelmed. Discipline was not going well, nobody was napping, I was working, I was hormonal, I was overwhelmed. I found myself in the bathroom with the door shut, on the floor and crying.
Why was I failing at this? All I had ever wanted was to be a mother and here I was mad at my kids, barely surviving and generally failing at the one career I had most longed for my whole life. I was at a breaking point.
I was pouring out day after day with nothing to fill me back up. I was desperate.
My whole life I was shy and lacking in confidence around adults, so asking a woman to mentor me would have been a monumental task. The thought horrified me, and honestly, I still haven’t brought myself to do it.
Instead I set out to “mentor myself”. With very few friends and very little time, I knew I had to be creative. I had been inspired by a book called Women Living Well (by Cortney Joseph), which had outlined a mentorship program she began at her church. I ached for something similar. A way to be mentored without having to find some random woman and ask her to “HELP ME, PLEASE!” I began e-mailing the women’s ministry director at church about a mentorship program, but it was not to be . . . yet.
So, here is what I did and here are my tips for you:
This was the turning point for me. This was how I got out of my rut and began to thrive, rather than merely survive. I started strapping my two kiddos into the stroller with some snacks and sometimes a bag for collecting nature items. I’d plug in my iPod with some freshly downloaded podcasts and I’d walk and listen and sit under the wisdom of a godly woman.
The podcast I chose was by Sally Clarkson. She and a younger woman (Kristen Kill) speak on many topics, but with motherhood at the heart of it all. I was encouraged, challenged, and inspired by her! They still record podcasts, so it is a great resource! Since then, I have added in the At Home podcast, which is also wonderful, but often focused on homeschooling.
Sometimes, if I hadn’t had a chance for a walk and I could tell I was losing it, I would ask my husband to watch the kids for a bit when he got home from work, and I would sneak off to my room to fold laundry and listen to part of a podcast. Hearing fresh encouragement and wisdom always geared me up to finish the night strong.
I know, I know . . . the rest of the world is all “stay off social media”, “don’t compare yourself”, “instagram is not reality” . . . but, hear me out. I found that there were certain people who used instagram as a ministry of sorts to speak encouragement and wisdom into other women. Having these people in my feed contributed to seeing positive and inspiring messages during my week. Here are a few of my favorites:
@yourfavoritehousewife (for her Theology Thursdays)
Gradually, as I got my life back under control and began to come out of the fog I had been in, I was able to manage my time and life more in a way that allowed me to add in some reading time here and there. Of course, the Bible is the best book of all, but there were some specific books on motherhood that really encouraged me during this time.
- Women Living Well
- The Mission of Motherhood
- Raising Godly Tomatoes
- The Life-Giving Home
- Desperate: Hope for the Mom who Needs to Breathe
4. Real-Life Mentorship:
Real life mentorship is the obvious goal and has the potential to be the most life-giving and practically helpful. I reached out on a mom facebook group when my kids’ bedtime routine was driving me insane. I emailed a parenting expert at my church when a particular behavior issue with my child was challenging me. I was still too scared to talk to anyone in person, but this less personal methods still helped me a lot! I also switched my work schedule, so that I could attend a women’s Bible study once a week and I made sure to join the groups with leaders I knew would offer valuable wisdom.
I also continued to hound the women’s mentorship director about a program at the church. HA! Eventually, we got together and a new ministry was born at our church. We are preparing for our third mentorship event right now. This event invites experienced women to lead a table on a specific topic. Women sit at the table to ask questions, hear wisdom, and be encouraged. It is a beautiful model of mentorship that requires no long term commitments (but opens the door to them) and no initiating on anyone’s part to begin a mentorship relationship (Shy people, rejoice!)
What resources do you use for “self-mentorship”?
Also, remember, you too are further along . . .
****And here is one more thought for you. I have heard people say that they cannot follow someone on instagram or listen to a certain podcast, or read a certain book because the person sounded too perfect. Or they felt discouraged because the person was doing more than they were. DON’T BE LIKE THAT! Remember, a mentor is a mentor because they are further along the road than you. Just because they are succeeding in an area that you may be struggling in does not mean that they have never struggled! Rather than feeling discouraged that you have been convicted or challenged, be encouraged. If you see a flaw in yourself, that is GOOD. Without seeing it, you cannot change it. Don’t seek mentors who tell you that you are great as you are, seek mentors who encourage you to be all that God called you to be. That will give you so much more hope and joy in the end!