I’m a master electrician by trade. When that was my career, I was called to go to a commercial kitchen to troubleshoot why a large soup pot (or kettle) wasn’t working.
Now this kitchen was at an old folks home and fed a lot of people. The ladies in charge were not overly pleased that soup was off the menu as (I assume) older people don’t have as many teeth per capita as those of a younger demographic.
The soup wasn’t heating up. The reason?
There was an electric heat element in a space between what amounted to two soup pots, one inside the other, all sealed up. Now the element was drawing amperage and working fine, but the heat overload in the space between was tripping the contactor that supplied power to the element.
They didn’t ship it with water in the space between.
The heat element is supposed to sit in water. The water heats up and evenly heats the entire surface area of the bottom of the inside pot. Make sense? So we added water and everything worked the way it should.
Most of us are just single stove burners. We’re happy to heat up enough for ourselves. When our lives expand into marriage or children we find that we have to nourish more than just ME. What happens when the little flame of our personal burner goes out? Marriage fight? Pregnancy? Financial struggles? Sickness? Now we are presented with a problem… our flame is not enough under difficult conditions.
Unless we BECOME something different.
Do you have a mentor?
I have many mentors. Now, they’re not perfect people, but they care about me. I’ve been pretty aggressive in pursuing relationship with them. I’ve given them permission, or power if that’s how you see it, to tap me on the shoulder and say “You want to do WHAT?”. I have spiritual mentors, business, personal, relational, family, did I miss anything?
You see, my mentors are the heating element. If I want to provide help or nourishment to anybody outside of myself on a larger scale, I need to be able to heat a much bigger pot than I did when I was 20. My mentors turn the heat up on me sometimes. I’ve empowered them to ask me difficult questions, to challenge my motives, to make me better.
If you don’t have one get one! It’s the job of the inside pot to do it, and it doesn’t really happen by accident. Now most people would love to mentor someone else, but I’d never ask someone to mentor me who wasn’t being mentored themselves. That’d be like asking single people for marriage advice (it usually sounds better than it actually is).
The water in the space between?
Honor tends to evaporate, so it’s also my responsibility to keep adding it in the space between my mentors and I. And space is important too. Familiarity breeds contempt, so be careful that you honor them and continue doing that. Make a line in the sand between you that you won’t cross so the element can heat your soup evenly.
If you’ve been burned by someone who was once a mentor, maybe you failed to add honor? It won’t add itself, and it’s not your mentor’s job to add it, though I hope they honor you too. But someone has to turn the heat up on you if you’re going to reach your potential.
Mentorship unlocks potential.
Mentorship by humans. Real people who know you. I know loads of Christian who are quite proud that their “only mentor is Jesus”, the problem is that Jesus is in heaven and you’re down here with the rest of us humans. If you call yourself a Christ follower you’re expected to be discipled by, and discipling…wait for it…. HUMANS.
Nobody is going to make you do what many people in our culture would view as weakness, or a waste of time. Most people I know won’t find enough margin in their own schedules to actually do it. Then again, most people live their entire lives and never ask themselves what their purpose for existing is…
But maybe you’re not most people?