I’m being mentored by a dead guy. No seriously, I didn’t really think about the concept much until Robert Wicks mentioned the idea of allowing books to mentor us when he wrote Touching the Holy.
I have often read and firmly believe that great leaders read and avid readers lead. Reading provides wonderful opportunities to enter into the life experiences of another person and learn from their mistakes so that you don’t have to suffer the same pitfalls. We can learn comparable lessons from their successes and often be encouraged by them we are going through difficult life situations. Of course, the Bible should be our primary book of reference. I’m quickly learning that a healthy dose of biographies (or maybe memoirs) need to be regularly incorporated into my reading diet.
Non-fiction reading allows you to enter into the heart of another and see God’s hands at work. We see this throughout the Bible. The Apostle Paul, Naomi, Peter, Mary of Bethany are names of just a few biblical examples where we clearly see God’s transformation take place…which brings me back to my dead guy.
I recently decided that I would adopt Henri Nouwen as one of my mentors. I have already read two of his books, In the Name of Jesus and The Way of the Heart. The Way of the Heart inspired me to write this post, Awakening from a Suicidal Journey. I am adopting him as a mentor because I believe there is much I can learn from him.
Upon revisiting In the Name of Jesus, I was reminded of three temptations:
1. The desire to be relevant.
2. The desire for popularity.
3. The desire for power.
As leaders, writers, speakers, and those who influence and make decisions, I am quite familiar with the subtle ways in which these three temptations arrest us. Therefore, I want to make the effort to guard my heart against these temptations while honoring the passions, gifts, and calling that God has placed on my life. I believe that we are all responsible for strengthening our arms and exercising the gifts that God has given us. At the same time, we must constantly check our motivations for our actions.
I believe that Nouwen will mentor me, teach me to guard my heart, condition me to wait on the Lord, by encouraging me to keep my relationship with God at the center of all that I am and do. Therefore, I’ll be spending more time with Nouwen next year.
So, who is mentoring you these days, and what are you learning?
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011