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Do I Need a Mentor or a Role Model??

The Titus Two woman – in many ways like the Proverbs 31 woman – can be misunderstood.  Taken from the passage in Titus, she is the aged, or older, woman and even that first description can be confusing.  Is this passage just for those who are drawing social security?  And what exactly is her role?  To teach younger women to love their husbands and children?  So are single women or those without children exempt?  I don’t think so.  If you are not familiar with the passage, let me share it.

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  Titus 2:3-5

The Titus Two woman is to be an example.  Willing to teach – and more specifically to lead – by example.  Often thought of as a role model.  Or, at least, that is how I have always considered her.  Yes, I am, without doubt, the aged woman.  Not quite drawing social security but with enough decades of life behind me to be considered among the older ladies.  (And, I’m okay with that.)  But no matter what age or season of life we are in, there are those who have navigated this season before. Those who could be, and should be, Titus Two women for me.  And I need these women in my life.  We all need godly examples and role models.  Right?

I am, truthfully, not trying to split hairs…but, I would suggest we need mentors rather than role models.  Remembering the difference has been huge for me and helped me in multiple ways.  Let me share three.  First, what is the difference?  A role model, by definition, is “a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people.”  Someone we observe, or listen to, and then try to imitate. A mentor, again by definition, is “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher, an influential senior sponsor or supporter.”  This person – while wise enough to emulate – is encouraging us, supporting us, and “cheering us” toward our own success.  To be our own person.

As a Christian wife and mother.  As a follower of Christ.  As a woman who wants to live to glorify God, know my purpose, and be found faithful – this is huge.  I am not called to live anyone else’s life.  To emulate their calling or their specific purpose.  If that were the case, I would simply need a great role model.  But, I am not.  I need to follow God’s calling for me!  A great mentor helping me to do so is a tremendous gift.

As a rule follower, it is much easier for me to seek out someone I think “has it all together” and simply do what she does.  Follow her rules.  Let her be my role model.  This is so much easier than seeking to know God’s heart, His plan, and intention for my life on a day-to-day, year to year and season to season basis.  And for many years that is how I approached it.  I thought finding a Titus Two woman – a godly woman much older than I was – and simply mirroring her life was the key.  Here is what I learned.

ONE – There is no one who “has it all together.”  Everyone has faults, struggles, weaknesses.  It is unrealistic to think and/or expect otherwise.

TWO – Trying to live someone else’s life or purpose, in the end, robs me.  I missed much of what God so beautifully and purposefully planned for me while trying to make my life look like someone else.  I don’t need to blog like someone else, decorate or run my home like anyone else, or do ministry just like someone else.  And the list goes on.

THREE – My family/loved ones missed out all well.  My husband needs me.  My children need me.  Not someone else’s wife or mother.  Of course, I never explained to them that I was trying so very hard to emulate my role model (and wouldn’t it be helpful if they would follow the same roles).  I’m sure it was confusing, frustrating, and disappointing.

Perhaps there are situations or areas of life where a role model might be helpful.  Young children need parents who are role models, for example.  Moms and dads they can emulate as they grow and mature.  But, even then, eventually, parents become mentors – you best cheerleaders – more than role models.  And, as Christian women, we need mentors.  We need to be mentors and to find mentors.  I need to be a mentor and I need mentors. And I simply need to be the best “me” I can be for Christ!!

12 thoughts on “Do I Need a Mentor or a Role Model??

  1. You articulated this so well, Jennifer. I appreciate how you articulated the Titus 2 mentoring versus role model. This is a great summary, “As Christian women, we need mentors. I need to be a mentor and I need mentors. And I simply need to be the best “me” I can be for Christ!”

    1. Hi Lisa – so nice to meet you! So glad you stopped by today…and thank you for your kind comment and encouragment!

  2. “Trying to live someone else’s purpose robs me.” Love that line because I think I often go through my Christian life trying to model the external roles of a person to shape my life. Things such as how is her life structured? When does she pray? What plan does she have for reading Scripture? How did she memorize Scripture? What are her relationships with other women like?

    Thank you, Jennifer, for taking us deeper in this idea of mentoring rather than role modeling.

    I’m following from Joanne Viola’s link.

    Janis Van Keuren

    1. Janis, so glad you stopped by! So nice to meet you:) It is so easy to look at someone else and wonder “when/how does she???” Isn’t it? Thanks for taking the time to comment! Have a wonderful weekend, Janis.

  3. Jennifer, hi! The older I get, the more I appreciate the truth that everyone needs a mentor … and everyone should aim to be one. We all need each other and the wisdom and kindness that is shared back and forth in the process.

  4. I think you raise a very important truth, Jennifer >>> “We need to be mentors and to find mentors. I need to be a mentor and I need mentors.” We need encouragement along life’s way, no matter our age. We need to continue learning and growing. We also need to pass on encouragement to those coming along behind us. We need to share the lessons we have learned along the way. I think this is the way we all find purpose and come to realize our worth, for every age has worth. You have said it well and I am so grateful you shared your thoughts for us all to read!

    1. I totally agree – it really does help us with our purpose…and our worth!! I really appreciate your comment. It not only has encouraged – but helped – me!! Have a great weekend, Joanne!

  5. Since my youngest daughter just had a baby, I have to count myself in the “aged woman” category too. 🙂 As I was reading your post I was thinking about how even parenting is different these days: in the past, women had to rely on each other as role models and mentors, but now so many young moms just turn to Google to get their answers. Granted, I’m a huge Google searcher too and I thank God for the option! But I don’t want Google to ever replace each other as our main sources of learning how to live. 🙁

    Great post, Jennier!

    1. I hadn’t thought of that…but, I agree, Google can’t replace our connections and relationships!! Thanks for stopping by, Lisa!

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