The Importance of Mentors: From Business Owner and Writer Kayla Nelson
In a recent text conversation with a younger friend, I realized with a jolt of sadness that she was drowning in a personal struggle that few knew about. It was a struggle the Lord had brought me through, so I truly felt her pain. And I knew how awful it was to be alone when in deep emotional pain.
Ever felt like you needed a life jacket to keep from sinking? You know the truth is in the Bible, you know it’s your firm foundation, but sometimes, just sometimes, you wish someone else could help hold you up?
Friend, we all feel that way at times. Even as Christians, we need other people. Though we have the unshakable foundation of faith in Christ Jesus, the cornerstone and conqueror, we also walk among a battlefield of the world’s cannonballs, bullets, and slingshots. We’re constantly hit with things that try to bring us down. Even things that attempt to shake our foundation.
This is one reason why God encourages Christian fellowship and unity. He talks about His church as a group of God-honoring, God-worshipping brothers and sisters helping each other and teaching each other and encouraging each other.
God knew we’d need one other. God planned that we’d be able to help one another, despite the fact that He is almighty and sovereign and in control of when sparrows eat.
We are part of His glorious plan to make disciples of all nations and teach them to obey the Lord. Even if you don’t feel like an evangelist or a teacher, God tells you to speak the truth to those around you and to constantly encourage other believers (Gal. 6:2, Eph. 4:15, Heb. 3:13).
The Importance of Mentors
As a teen, I wanted a mentor. I yearned for one. I knew the importance of having someone in my life that I could share my deepest struggles with (besides my mom) and find the grace and encouragement and wisdom I needed. Aware of my need for guardrails or those bumpers you use when bowling, I wanted to make sure I stayed on the straight and narrow, and I feared that without someone holding me steady, I’d slip off the path.
I never found a mentor. I waited because I thought that as a young person, I was supposed to sit around until an older, wiser woman reached out and asked to be my mentor. And I was super shy, and everyone thought I was “the good kid,” so I probably didn’t need a mentor anyway. Foolishly, I let that be my excuse.
It didn’t take too long for me to jump headlong off the straight and narrow. I won’t go into that now, but I do feel a deep regret for not actively seeking a mentor when I knew I needed one. Young folks, I encourage you to tell someone you’d like a mentor, a godly person who’s been walking in the faith for some time. Someone who can lead you to a deeper knowledge of scripture.
Today, we hear from teen mentor and creative entrepreneur, Kayla Nelson, on the topic of living for Christ as a teen and into her adult years. Like so many of us who struggled in our teen years, she understands the acute need for mentorships among the body of Christ.
Advice for the Young Christian
SEEK. JESUS. FIRST.
Be in the word, be in prayer, find a mentor (even if it’s your youth pastor), find someone that can come alongside of you in this crucial time of your life and encourage you to find your everything in Jesus.
Read the Bible more than you’re on Netflix or social media. Make sure that if Jesus is your priority, you are prioritizing Him and His ways above the ways of the world (yep - I’m talking ALL extracurriculars). Friend, even your sports can get in the way of your relationship with Jesus, and if that’s the case, I’m sorry, but one of them has to go. I trust you know which one.
A Business Owner’s Desire to Honor Jesus
I struggled really hard in my teen years. It was lonely, and there wasn’t much available for my age to really press into. My mom always encouraged me to read the Bible, but I never totally got into any of the devotionals that they had available for teenagers. It was all on the same topic (purity/dating/relationships) and it just didn’t move me.
As an adult, Jesus lit a passion in my heart to minister to the youth (specifically the girls) because without the tiny bits of investment that people gave me as a high schooler, my life probably would have turned out much differently.
Just offering them a place to be encouraged in Christ rather than the topics of today’s culture is important to me.
Creating printed publications that they can use to further their faith is a way for me to both use my gifts and talents that God gave me as well as serving the young people in my life.
- Kayla Nelson
Thanks, Kayla, for those wise words! We all need to hear from other Christians on what has encouraged them in life and how they’ve used their God-given talents for His glory.
Thank you for reminding us of the need for mentors. Thank you for your honesty about your teen years.
We’ve all been there. Our readers are still there. Teenage years are hard and stressful, for so many reasons. If you are young, I encourage you to reach out and find a mentor. Your parents can even help you find one, if, like me, you wanted it to be someone other than your parents. But if your parents are your mentors, I think that is the best possible scenario. However, it never hurts to have more than one mentor!
All believers, no matter our age, need each other. Even if you are not a teen, as my friend I was texting is not, you still need the comfort and support of other Christians. We are to encourage one another with the comfort we ourselves have been given (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
If you are an older Christian or a person who is wise in the faith at a young age, I encourage you to think about who you could mentor. Let’s come alongside each other and carry each other’s burdens, being the life jacket or the bowling bumpers or the guardrails. We never outgrow our need for Christian community and the encouragement that comes from the faith and wisdom of other believers.