March 28, 2024

Four Questions to Help Understand what God Wants for You

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Have you ever finished a session with a mentee or supervisee and were left feeling that something was wrong? That something they said was not aligned with what God wants for them? It can be difficult to see behaviours or attitudes in your mentees or supervisees that you recognise as unbiblical and unhealthy for their lives but it also allows for the opportunity for you to provide some insight and, hopefully, help correct their path forward. 

When faced with unbiblical behaviour from a mentee or supervisee, I begin by examining my responsibility within the situation. My role is to make them feel safe and supported while promoting professional standards and well-being for their lives and those around them. This does not mean I should ever come from a place of judgment. We can leave that to God, who will judge with wisdom beyond our own. My responsibility is to align myself with the Holy Spirit’s work to help them become the best version of themselves. 

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help correct unbiblical behaviour.

Does this issue matter to the big picture? 

In 1990, I was in Nashville for a New-World Mission alongside ministers from 26 other nations. During this time, I suggested going to the pub to get to know the community and each other. This began a debate between a pastor from Britain and a pastor from Germany about whether or not the consumption of alcohol was Biblical. They spent the entire evening arguing when they could have spent the night meeting new people and having meaningful conversations. Their argument was more about cultural differences and less about Biblical ethics. If they had decided to put this more minor matter aside and focus on the bigger picture, they could have had a much more productive and enjoyable night. 

When your mentee/supervisee says something you are not sure you agree with, take the time to make sure it matters to the big picture, not just a minor difference in opinions. 

How does the Bible handle similar situations? 

Take them to scripture. How did Jesus deal with this topic? For example, your supervisee is struggling with feelings of judgment and criticism towards a co-worker. What Biblical stories deal with judgment and criticism? 

You decide on the story of the woman caught in adultery and brought to Jesus by the Pharisees. They tell him that the law demands she should be stoned for her actions. Jesus replies, “He that is without sin among you let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7 KJV).

Am I giving my mentee/supervisee time and space to work through this issue?

I worked with a mentee who was dealing with feelings of anger towards his father. My mentee was a new father, and he felt his father had overstepped by telling him how to parent his newborn. His anger seemed extreme, and he was unforgiving, but I could see that my mentee’s pain level was very high, and his feelings were raw. I decided to make a note and shelved it for later. 

Six months later, I asked how things were going with his father. He told me he still had nothing to do with him, but his anger had cooled. I asked him, “What do you want the future to be like with your father?” He admitted he wanted a good relationship and his son to know his grandparents. He just didn’t want to feel controlled by his father. I asked, “Where does God fit in this relationship?” Without more prompting, my mentee told me he knew he needed to forgive his father. We discussed what conversations would need to take place and what boundaries could be put into place. After this, he was finally able to begin repairing the relationship.

Is anyone being harmed? 

Patience is often key to supporting a mentee’s/supervisee’s journey. Still, there are times when we, as mentors or professional supervisees, need to take immediate action—when someone is being harmed. 

You may need to intervene if you have a supervisee in a leadership position and abusing his power. For example, they might be overworking interns to the point of burnout or manipulating others. If you speak to them, and they don’t take action and change their ways, then you may need to exit the relationship and alert others of the abuse. 

Next Steps:

Are you interested in becoming a mentor or a professional supervisor and don’t know where to start? Maybe you are a mentor or supervisor now, but feeling overwhelmed or inadequate? Are you simply looking to stretch mentoring muscles and grow a leader? Go to our website for tools and support! 

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