Years ago, when we were still in youth ministry, Michael and I attended a Youth Specialties convention where we heard a speaker whose message has stayed with me all these years. He encouraged us to have “a Paul, a Barnabas and a Timothy.” In other words, to have someone that you are under (that is mentoring you), someone who is a peer (who is encouraging you) and someone you are mentoring. I have tried to live that way.
Today I met with my “Paul.” She may not even know she is my Paul but she is someone who, over the years, I have been able to ask all sorts of questions…”How did you handle _____?” “What did you do about _____?” “I’m about to lose my mind over __________!! Help!” She has patiently listened to me, offering advice and prayer. Typically, every 4 to 8 months or so, I would shoot her an email asking for a coffee date. We would pick a day/time/location and I would come, pen and paper in hand with my list of questions, ready to take notes.
Today was a little different. We met for coffee but this time I didn’t have “a problem”. It was refreshing to just catch up and check in with each other. I updated her on all the goings on in my life, and she told me about new challenges in her life. Two hours rushed quickly by and I’ve been ruminating and smiling to myself all day thinking of our time together.
How about you? Do you have a Paul, a Barnabas and a Timothy? If not, then I encourage you to look around. Who do you admire that you would like to spend time with or learn from? Ask her out on a date! Who is your peer that shares your same woes and delights? Meet with her and share prayer requests. Bear one another’s burdens. Laugh and cry together. And finally, who are you mentoring? Titus 2 tells older women to teach the younger women. There is always someone younger than you! Even high school gals can teach a middle schooler or 4th/5th grader.
I encourage you to find partners in accountability. It’s all part of living in community!