Insights for Mentoring
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting, too… “ Rudyard Kipling
One of the key ingredients to effectively investing into the lives of others is to be comfortable in your own skin. Clearly, there are more truths in this statement by Kipling than just being comfortable in your skin. But one of the ways that we can have significant impact in the lives of others is by trusting the God-given gifts we have, because we trust in the God who has given them. As we invest in the lives of young men and women, they will never be sure of what we have to offer them if we are not comfortable with who we are, our strengths and weaknesses.
Before I can be an effective discipler of others I must be comfortable in my own skin. This is not something that just happens to me. It is something I must choose. Here are 4 things that you can do to to grow in this area.
The first is to identify and work on those things in my life that I love to do. Develop and enjoy these things. These are the things where you will be the most successful. I love to introduce people with a mutual interest to one another.
Secondly, ask three or four of the folks who know you best to tell you the things that you do the best and the things you are trying to do that would be good for you to ask others to help you with.
Third, surround yourself with those who have strengths in the areas where you do not. This takes humility, confidence in God’s hand on your life and a teachable spirit, but it is beautiful picture of the church at work. It takes real humility to say “I can’t do it all” or “I don’t know how to do that”. It takes a teachable spirit to be willing to learn from men and women from all walks of life. It is a powerful thing to say to the one you are discipling “I can’t help you with that area but I know someone who can.”
Fourth, it is okay to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t do that very well.” One way to encourage growth and development in another is to ask them to help you in ways that they actually have the skills or insight to do so.
Learning to be comfortable in my own skin takes humility and time. It means that I see and understand both my strengths and my weaknesses. It means that I am constantly asking questions and watching the strengths and successes of others. Perhaps, most importantly, it means that I am modeling for the one that I am discipling what it means to have a learners heart.