This week has been full of unexpected lessons for me.
The most prominent has been the realization of the power of the words, "I Believe in You."
Lifechurch.tv pastor Craig Groeschel taught a series called I Believe in You recently and I listened to it on my way to work this week. The big idea of the series is that we all need to be involved in mentoring relationships. We all need to have mentors and we all need to be mentors. That's how Jesus modeled discipleship during his time on earth.
I've been a big believer in mentoring for a long time. Ever since someone said, "I believe in you," to me in high school it was clear to me that mentoring relationships are incredibly powerful and effective.
I had several mentors growing up, but the one that sticks out most to me is Jeff Komins. I wish he had a blog, or even a Facebook page so you could go there and learn a bit more about him. Jeff went to the same church as me when I was younger and I always looked up to him (even when I got taller than him). He was a great athlete (walked on to the Purdue football team) and that was all I needed in those days to have respect and admiration for someone. He was a little guy, but always put 110% effort into everything he did.
It took awhile for me to be able to establish a relationship with Jeff. You see, I had a bad attitude as a young teenager and was too cocky to realize I needed mentors in my life. I thought I had it all figured out and could handle things just fine on my own.
As I got older and wasn't having the success I had hoped for in sports, I started looking for ways to get better, get bigger and give myself a better chance to succeed at sports (basketball in particular). During the summer between my junior and senior years of high school, Jeff invited me to join him 2-3 times a week at his house to lift weights. I was hesitant at first because even though Jeff was not very tall, he had plenty of muscle. Plus, the way he approached everything with a great intensity was a little intimidating.
I got over my insecurities and took Jeff up on his offer and that summer turned out to be one of the best of my life. Not only did I get a lot stronger and put on muscle weight in preparation for basketball season, I learned an incredible amount about life from Jeff. He was a great example of a loving husband and father, a man striving to be more like Jesus every day and a sports enthusiast who thought it was important to stay in shape and keep yourself healthy.
Jeff and I would lift weights hard for an hour, drink a pitcher of sweet tea and play one-on-one basketball in his driveway. I spent many of my nights that summer at his house and I never once felt like I was imposing or unwelcome.
That relationship is exactly what I think of as the ideal mentoring relationship. An older guy invited a younger guy into his life, his home, and just spent time with him - sharing some insight along the way. I don't know if Jeff ever spoke these words to me, but he definitely said, "I Believe in You," in many different ways.
When I heard the series from Craig Groeschel I decided to share it with my Small Group of Sophomore guys at church. I wanted them to know that I believe in them and that they also need to find younger guys to invest in. Sure, I'm biased, but my Small Group is full of young guys with incredible potential for leadership. They are talented, funny, smart. But here's the thing - it's not because of their potential or their gifts that I believe in them, it's because God believes in them. He created them each with a purpose and all the abilities they need to carry out that purpose. He's done that in each one of us.
Reading the Bible and praying will reveal God's purpose and design for your life, but sometimes we humans need another human to affirm it. Sometimes we just need someone who is willing to spend time with us, encourage us, teach us, advise us, kick us in the butt, push us and pray for us. We are all called to do that.
So, find a mentor! Find someone to take under your wing and be his/her mentor!
It's part of your purpose in this life. It's part of why God created you!