“The truth of the matter is, we all come to prayer with a tangled mass of motives – altruistic and selfish, merciful and hateful, loving and bitter. Frankly, this side of eternity will never unravel the good from the bad, the pure from the impure. But what I have come to see is that God is big enough to receive us with all our mixture. We do not have to be bright, or pure, or filled with faith, our anything. That is what grace means, and not only are we saved by grace, we live by it as well. And we pray by it.”
— Richard Foster
I had a friend who was being mentored by this successful pastor. My friend is a total goofball; whenever he was around me, he would do these awkwardly long impressions of Batman and Bane, and once did an impressive monologue of one-liners from Michael Scott on The Office. I totally loved it and would nearly throw up from laughing.
But when I saw my friend around his mentor, he would stiffen up and get proper and keep side-eyeballing his mentor to make sure he was getting approved. I could see the sweat drenching up his Polo collar. He would get super spiritual and spew all these convictions he had lately and how much he heard from God all week. And no impressions, at all.
I get it. It wasn’t entirely the pastor’s fault. We want to act right with the people we look up to, because we want the pat on the head. But I just didn’t like this whole arrangement. Why have a mentor if you can’t be yourself around him?
And the thing is, it sort of was the pastor’s fault. He had this rigid air about him, like a constantly raised eyebrow. I guess I can’t really trust a guy who doesn’t like a good Christian-Bale-Batman voice.
If you’re looking for a mentor: find someone you can laugh with. Cry with. Say anything to. Without flinching or cringing. God always wants us to be more human, and not less. It’s why Jesus became one of us. There are times when we want to unleash that twelve-year-old, arms-flailing, loss-of-body, shaky-voice goofball kid inside all of us — and we all need the safety of an unconditional embrace.
God loves your crazy mess, and He has placed people around you who not only sit by while you go off, but even like that part of you. They like you. Find them. They exist. Love them, too.