The older I get, I see more and more each day, the blatant disregard time has for our lives. Time is impatient, has much to do, much to accomplish, and simply does not desire to wait for you. Time is not apt to wait for us to catch up, to get everything in order, or to pay it the respect it deserves and use it wisely. Time simply is…fleeting. When I think about time in my life and how much of it I have wasted, I shudder a bit to think about what could’ve, should’ve, or would’ve been. Where would we be if we valued time the way that we should, knowing that it is literally here for but a second? How many things would we do differently, better, wiser? What would we fix, how would we change that situation, how we wouldn’t have just thrown that relationship away. Maybe we would have had children, maybe we’d have none, or maybe we’d have several. Perhaps we wouldn’t have chosen him, or kept on walking when he spoke and caught our eyes. So many things we could think of, and so many things we secretly agonize over knowing that the space and time to fix, change, and undo are gone.. Time is truly of the essence, and the harsh reality is that it is
N E V E R coming back. I think about people all over the world, praying and asking God to fix many of our indiscretions, and terrible choices from the time that so very quickly dashed away; or even the things that happened to us in a time when we couldn’t get away, couldn’t get out, or couldn’t tell anyone fast enough before time robbed us of the present, and we became settled with our unchanging past. Time has a way of delivering the past to you quickly and unapologetically. Ready or not, what’s present is already past, and just as you begin to think about dealing with it, it’s already a memory to time.
So we find ourselves here and now, either running from or trying to deal with our past. If we’re honest, those are the only two buckets we fall into – dealing with, or running from; there really isn’t much of a middle ground here. Either you are or you aren’t, you will or you won’t, you have or you haven’t. Speaking honestly about myself, I have often asked God to make his crucifixion and death on the cross real in my life as it regards to my past. Every past indiscretion, shameful, hurtful, embarrassing, stupid thing I have ever done, thought, or said was nailed to the cross, and that should be enough. But if I’m honest, sometimes…it’s just not. It’s hard knowing where I have been and what I have done is simply forgiven and thrown away with Calvary when there are constant reminders every. Single. Day. Just as I stated before, time is and has been very unforgiving to me! It moved on without me in almost every area of my life! Never have we ever been on the same page where it asked if I was ready, and I said yes, let’s go! If I’m honest, it moves so quickly, I just say…”you go ahead, and I’ll catch up,” which absolutely NEVER happens..
I’ve learned that only God can really free us from our pasts, and give us a peace about where exactly it is we’ve come from, where we are, or aren’t quite yet, and where we are going. God is funny in that, I have spent countless days and nights thinking about how much stuff I would do differently or I would change if I had the opportunity, and one day God sent my mentee into my situation. When I first met her, she seemed to be what I considered cool, and oddly interested in me. I wasn’t really sure why, because I didn’t know this girl from a can paint, and I know she didn’t know me. As long as I have been at the church, nobody knew me really so I found it strange she seemed intrigued by me. When she asked if we could link, and if I would be her mentor, I was shocked that she wanted me?! She was so outspoken, extremely extra, over the top in everything that she did. Sometimes I found myself looking at her like…. What’s really going on in there?! She was equally as intriguing as she found me to be. One day, we had a conversation about her getting a tattoo as soon as she turned 18. Over and over and over again, I had given her so many reasons why it wasn’t a good idea, even sharing the regrets I have sometimes have about the tattoos that I have at this very moment. I got so frustrated with her, I decided that the tattoo sermon wasn’t mine to preach, because she wasn’t going to hear it no matter how hard I preached, hooped, or how well I landed the plane. Later on, I thought how disappointed I was that she wouldn’t hear me; and in that very moment, I realized that I wasn’t dealing with her, I was dealing with me. God had place myself in my life. God was showing me – me at 16 and 17 years old, and even parts of myself this very day. When it first hit me, I Laughed… and the longer I thought about her and compared her to me, especially at her age.. it scared me a bit, and then I cried. I cried because it was one of the most surreal experiences of my life, to stand there and look at her and see me. But here I am, blessed with the opportunity to not only sew into the life of this girl, who is just trying to figure out life, and discover who she is and how the two coincide – but to see myself. To see all of the broken, insecure, hurt, magical, innocent, amazing, and incredible parts of myself that I never noticed while trying to figure me out and what life was going to be like for me with all that I was carrying. There are times when she and I spend time just talking and being honest about life, and the situations that are coming, or that she and I have already experienced. There are days when I am so frustrated with her I could scream, but every day I am astonished at the amount of potential, ability, and hope there is for her life. She has the entire world at her fingertips and unlimited potential in Christ to affect lives and change this world. I want so much for her that I can’t even put it into words. I want her to make it. I want her to be humble, to pour out her life before God and let Him use it any way He desires. I want her to freely offer it up to Him, and be okay with wherever she should end up because God has said so. I want her to commit her life to service because up under what the eye can see, she has the heart of a servant. She’s tender and soft on the inside, and wants everyone to get along and to feel accepted. She’s deep, she thinks, and the thought of her ability and greatness scares her. She wants to be successful, but is unsure of what that looks like. She’s concerned with how to get there, and she asks how she can fit that into God. She’s emotional, and more in touch with her thoughts and feelings than she’s comfortable with. She’s amazing, and she’s going to go on and do great things. I am fully invested in her life from now until I take my last breath. I want her to be great, and do great things. But more importantly, I want her to be free. I want her to be free from the preconceived notions and ideas she has about how things are supposed to be, go, or look like. I don’t want her to be bound by the standards of the world, or the people that just don’t get her personality. I want her to tell someone else what God has done for her, through her, in her and how much he’s changed her life. I want her to reflect on her boastful, over the top, crying out for attention days and realize that God was all she ever needed to be at peace with herself. I want her to be comfortable in her skin, and to be so changed and accepting of herself that people that know her, ask where she’s been and who she’s been with because her transformation is evident. I want her to walk different, talk different, and carry herself as if she knows whom she belongs to, and whom she’s been sent by. I want her to live her carnal days believing that her earthly walk is an assignment from her Father who believes and sees enough in her to specifically send her. I want her to know that the creator of the universe values her life, her ability, and every interesting, over the top, and weird thing about her enough to send her because what He has for her to do can only be accomplished by her. I want her to have an accepting, unconditional, unchanging, love for herself that allows her to pour into others and remain full. I want her to know the love of God that keeps you so full, that you can love endlessly and never get the love in return but be satisfied that she loved like Jesus did.
And when I told God I wanted all these things for her, He said. How ironic, because that’s exactly what I want for you. And in that moment, I realized that being a mentor isn’t solely about what I think I can give her or what I have to offer. Honestly, I never even thought about what I had to offer, I just knew that I believed in her and I wanted her to reach her end goals, whatever they may be. If I’m honest, the relationship has probably done more for me than it’s done for her! God has shown me that I cannot help, assist, push, or encourage her to get where she’s going, without dealing with me and all the things that hinder me from getting to my end result. Our relationship has forced me to be honest with myself about the life I have lived, where I have been, and how I see and feel about things and the world around me. I never want to offer her a “churchy” or “religious” answer of what I think I’m supposed to say, or the thing I should say that forces her to move or decide the way that I would… My job is to simply be real, be honest, and be there. And as I honestly and humbly share my truth and my experience and how God has changed it, turned it, did it, won’t He do it… She will begin to see that He can and will do all of that and even more for her. While I haven’t been in church or Christ all of my life, through my mentee, God has given me the opportunity to help her find the new life in Christ much faster than I ever did, but right at the time that I wish I had known him for real. What a peace it brings to know that while I cannot go back, I can never change my past, and no matter how often or how much Satan desires to hold me hostage with it, I have a chance to not only be free, but to help someone else skip that kind of imprisonment altogether. This is what being a mentor has done for me….