Walking with someone who’s "been there, done that" gives you someone you can count on.
This year, I set out to read 100 books. While most people may think this is a lofty challenge, I was eager. On my reading journey so far, I’ve encountered many genres with various opinions and takeaways. One book in particular that stood out is called Adorned by Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth. This isn’t my first time reading a book by Wolgemuth. In fact, her book Singled Out for Him is one I highly recommend for every Christian woman in America who’s single.
Adorned met another high bar for me. On the front cover are the words, “Living out the Beauty of the Gospel Together,” which is the premise of the book. Wolgemuth expounds on the writings of the Apostle Paul’s epistle to Titus, where Paul commends older women to take younger women under their wings and show them how to fully live out the Gospel. This responsibility helped the Christian faith to grow and it’s still necessary today.
In every area of my life, I have, or have had, a mentor. For as long I can remember, whether it was my choice to be a marine biologist or to get fit, I sought out people in the field to help me. As I’ve grown in life, some dreams have changed, some goals have been met, and many mentors have come and gone. But perhaps the one area of my life where a mentor has played the most critical role is my spiritual walk. From the time I was introduced to God and to church, I had someone with me, walking me through, showing me who God was and helping me know His plan for my life. This has had a life-changing effect on me.
As a single woman pursuing a career, relationships, and a family, there have been many times I’ve questioned if I was on the right path, obeying Christ’s design for my life. As the primary caretaker of my parents, I struggled with how to love them appropriately and support them financially.
Without the honest and open relationship I had with the woman who disciples me, I would have found myself in a world of financial and spiritual trouble. She walked through what Scripture had to say about stewarding money and she plugged me into other Christian resources and checked on me every step of the way, including helping me figure out how to communicate with my parents. To have someone who is interested in the most important area of my life is an irreplaceable feeling and has made the often difficult journey of life easier to endure.
There have been countless other moments when I needed a spiritually mature woman, who has already experienced life, to walk beside me, keep me accountable, and help answer questions along the way. These questions are as old as time, but always relevant to our spiritual growth: Am I representing Christ in all that I do? Am I praying for myself and others on a daily basis? Am I pursuing things that are pure and holy?
Today, we don’t hear much about the importance of spiritual guidance. For the most part, Christians all believe the same thing, but often we are on our own in making those beliefs applicable. Having a sound spiritual mentor is especially important for those who are new to faith or may not have been grounded in sound teaching. While I have been a Christian all my life and had an understanding of the Bible, I didn’t receive sound teaching until a year ago when I joined my church. Then I saw firsthand that other aspects such as God’s character and a correct interpretation of Scripture and how to apply it needed some work. Walking with someone who’s “been there, done that and bought the t-shirt” not only challenges your weaknesses; but gives you someone you can count on. I’ve had rewarding experiences with my spiritual mentors and some of them have admitted to learning from me as well.
Is spiritual direction for everyone?
We are not meant to do anything completely by ourselves. Imagine going on a hiking trip in a new place where you don’t know anyone or any landmarks. You walk around in circles trying to find where you are on a map until eventually you realize you’re truly lost and there’s no one to turn to because you went on this trip alone to prove you could do it by yourself. That’s what walking in faith with no one to guide you is like. We could avoid a lot of heartache and mistakes if we would ask someone to travel this unfamiliar and unpredictable road with us. Younger women and older women walking side by side makes for stronger older women and wiser younger women — and that makes for a healthier, holier world.