Do you idolize your mentor?

christian mentor During my freshman year at USF, I began to meet with an older women in Cru, a college ministry. She prepared lessons for me and helped me in my walk with Christ. I loved our discipleship time together. As a freshman, I had recently surrendered my life to Christ, so I was very excited to learn. Every word she spoke to me I held on to as if it was gold. I made her an idol. When the year ended, she left and I was devastated.

Our friendship was one of the most helpful, but also the most harmful, during these early stages of my walk with the Lord. Thankfully, Jesus made me realize the problem, and used everything to bring Him glory.

I hope to help you figure out now if you are in a similar situation before the problem gets worse.

Here are 4 ways to figure out if you idolize a friend, mentor, or leader in your life:

  1. You go to her first to ask for advice. She became my God. If I had a problem, I went to her first. I should have gone to God first and asked him what he thought, but I didn’t. God first, others second.
  2. Her opinion is the only one that matters. Sometimes my other friends would have opinions that differed from my discipler, but I honestly thought they were always wrong. I should have gone to the Bible to find the truth, but instead I simply trusted in my discipler.
  3. The thought of her not discipling you anymore makes you anxious and scared. I found out she was leaving our campus ministry after a year of her and I meeting together. It is normal to be sad about this, because she was my friend and I enjoyed meeting with her, but my level of sadness was extreme. I was worried I would never find another mentor. I was worried that I would stop growing in my relationship with God, which shows that I associated growing only with our time together, not with the time I spent with God. I even got mad at her and God. I felt betrayed. How could God take her away from me? How dare she decide that God was calling her to do something else! She was my discipler! Oh, how I had everything wrong.
  4. You would feel jealous if she discipled another girl. I feared this. What if she liked this new girl more? What if she started meeting with me less? I was turning into a controlling and obsessive person.

Ladies, I love discipleship friendships. There is so much potential in them for each of us to grow in our relationships with God and learn more about ourselves. If not carefully monitored, the friendship can become spiritually dangerous. My discipler leaving was actually a beautiful thing because it made me realize I had made her an idol. God used this as an opportunity for me to grow and learn how not to do this again. Since my freshman year, I’ve had many mentors and thankfully I have yet to make one an idol. I have caught myself leaning towards one of the 4 tendencies above, but I have to stop and remind myself to not make her my “god”. Christian mentors


3 Comments on Do you idolize your mentor?

  1. S'ambrosia
    at (10 years ago)

    Hey Joy,
    I meant to tell you this last week, but I didn’t get the chance. Your last two posts came at “kairos” moments, exactly when I needed them. Last week I came across your “Qualified” post on my WordPress reader. It came at a moment when I was talking to people about beginning a project here in Kenya and suddenly became overwhelmed with the thought that I might not be qualified enough to lead it. Your words and the words of my friend helped me get past that hurdle.

    Then this post came when I was writing a blog post about some of the things that happened while I was in Western. The friend I mentioned has quickly become like a spiritual mother to me and I was writing about how much she influences me. Because I lost my mother to cancer at 18, I have a tendency to cling heavily to older women that can fill the emotional and spiritual void my mom left. Like yourself, I had a mentor in college and experienced many of the things you did regarding her absence in my life. Your blog was a great reminder to me to be careful of the way I engage in this new relationship. Thanks for sharing. It’s cool to hear God speak through you in a way that only He can.

    • Joy Skarka
      at (10 years ago)

      Thank you so much for your comment! It was so encouraging and I appreciate your honest and heartfelt words. I love when God does crazy things like that where he gives you just what you needed to hear. I’m thankful I got to be a part of it =] Glad we somehow connected in this blogging world!