“I wish I had someone in my church to talk to about this.”
I’ve received this message from numerous women. Whether they’re seeking advice on how to handle suffering or a sin struggle, they need help but aren’t sure where to turn. It seems godly mentors can be hard to find.
The command for older women to teach younger gals is clear in Scripture (Titus 2:3–5). And mentoring can look as simple as sharing wisdom over coffee or living our lives alongside others and sharing what we’ve learned. So why are there so many older women who don’t feel equipped? Why do some younger women close themselves off to the help of wiser ladies?
As I’ve joined in conversations with others, I’ve noticed some common myths regarding day-to-day mentoring that could be the cause of our difficulties.
MYTH #1: Older in Age = Older Spiritually
When we hear the word “older,” we immediately think of its classic meaning: a person of more years. But there are many technically older women who are not necessarily more spiritually mature than someone half their age.
God works in each heart, sanctifying us at different paces. Sometimes daughters are converted before mothers. It can be overwhelming to navigate all the different circumstances that play into this topic.
Here’s a truth to cut through the clutter: No matter where you are in your growth as a Christian, there will always be someone who has wisdom to offer you as well as someone who needs wisdom from you. You will always be the “older” and the “younger” woman.
Each of us has had different experiences and failures in which God has shown himself to be faithful. Whether a gal has been a Christ-follower for more years or not, she can learn from you when she experiences something you’ve previously walked through.
MYTH #2: You Have to Have It All Figured Out
I'm not far enough along yet.
Here’s a statement that sounds humble at first glance, but dig a little deeper and you discover the lie. I’ve yet to find anywhere in Scripture this idea of perfection being attained this side of eternity. In his letter to Titus, Paul doesn’t say, “Once you've figured everything out, then teach younger women.” Could it be pride that would draw someone to the conclusion that they must have X amount of knowledge before partaking in the command to mentor younger women?
While we should seek to grow in godliness and wisdom so we’re able to help others, let us be careful not to use our feelings of unworthiness as an excuse to forego our calling. No one has perfect, abundant wisdom apart from God. If we feel ill-equipped for the task, let us “ask God” for wisdom (James 1:5) and step out in faith and obedience, knowing He will give the wisdom we need (Prov. 2:6).
MYTH #3: You’ve Failed Too Often
We might feel unable to mentor due to our past failures. While it’s true that some of us have made heartbreaking mistakes in our lives (myself included), this is actually a reason to speak up and reach out.
Think of it this way: There are women, who God in His sovereignty could place in our path, who are headed down the same treacherous road our feet previously traveled. While we sit in shame with our mouths closed and arms crossed, we rob them of the warning and the wisdom we can provide.
God chooses to use weak sinners to accomplish His work. Shame over past sin can cripple us from obeying the Lord. We are made new in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) and have insights to share with other women. They need our warnings.
MYTH #4: Older Women Have to Reach Out First
We assume since the command is given to older women to teach younger women, it means we have to wait for a wiser lady to approach us. Yes, older women should be mindful of the younger women around them, seeking to pour into them. But younger women can and should reach out for help too.
Whether searching out their advice regarding a particular situation or casually asking to join them in daily tasks to get to know them and learn from them, a mentoring relationship can be pursued by the woman who is less mature.
MYTH #5: Young Women Don't Want Help
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this statement, well, I’d have a lot of dollars and probably spend them all at Target.
There are women who don’t want biblical advice, but it’s certainly not the majority. When I look around at my friends in a similar stage of life as me, I see women who are longing and hoping for a wiser lady to take them under their wing. Their eyes search for someone who can help them grow in godliness.
I’m grateful to God for the women who have spent their precious time pouring into me. I’m here to tell you, most of us do want and appreciate the help of wiser women.
Growing in Grace Together
No matter who you are, what you've done, or how many years you’ve been a believer, God can use you in the lives of those around you. We don’t have to wait until we reach a certain milestone of faith or a certain season of life to start pouring into others and speaking the truths found in God’s Word. We don’t have to wait on others to reach out to us; we can seek out wiser women to come alongside us as we seek Christ.
Isn’t it beautiful how God chooses to use each of us in the lives of those around us? He calls us to join hands and walk together toward eternity, growing in grace and godliness all the way home. So let’s set aside these myths and run the race set before us.