I shared the Mother’s Day message with my home church this year entitled “Who Is On Your Couch?” In a conversation with someone the other day, she shared how important it was to find a space in every city she moved to where she can be herself. That space is on both the couch of a therapist and then the couch of a friend. I’ll talk about the former comment in a later blog: how to choose a therapist.
Naturally, this led me to reflecting on who was on my couch, what role they played and how did they enrich, challenge, and benefit my wellbeing. Wisdom, Accountability and Friendship were the three values I felt were necessary to keep my couch balanced. So as I chop up this speaking series into written form, allow me the license that speakers don’t necessarily have; to delve a little deeper. That’s why writing is my primary go to. There’s no timer included.
Let’s unpack this whole wisdom thing. The word wisdom is losing it’s appeal as the years advance. We live in a time where people want quick fixes and they’re not interested in the process of marinating in information, testing it out and then applying it. Heck! Half the time they’re not even interested in hearing the information to begin with! I encounter people who only want to hear the first minute of what you have to say and tune out thereafter.
It’s happened to me on the receiving end. If it’s in person, they start fidgeting with their phone, their eyes glaze over and it’s a wrap. If it’s over the phone, they ask you a question to break up your conversation in the middle of what you’re saying. Subtle hints that you didn’t give them what they needed in 59 seconds or less. Warning, if you don’t like to read anything with potential for added value to your life and you don’t care to read this, stop right here and go back to living your life business as usual.
Job 12:12 reminded me that wisdom is found among our elders and that living a long life brings with it understanding. We’ve lost that concept along the way. We think our contemporaries have the answers and we neglect the counsel of the (aging) wise. We’ve ditched mentorship for tolerance and ill advised behavior. I remember when one of my mentors and I were talking about homeownership and the cost of everything going up. It wasn’t too long after the housing crash. As new homeowners, hubby and I were skating on some tough times financially so she mentioned the concept of amortization and making bi-weekly payments. She also mentioned NACA (do your research) I had never heard of it and if I was that person who let things go in one ear and have it ooze out the other, I would have missed out on some wise counsel. We refinanced for the sake of our interest rate and it was the best advice she could ever give me. She’s my go to person on all things financial. From her I learned about creating a trust. It’s something I need to get around to doing and I can never say she didn’t tell me and that she doesn’t have the proof that she knows what she’s talking about.
Which leads me to the title of this blog. Where are the receipts? When people tell me something, I do this mental chewing of sorts. Earlier in Job 12, it says and I paraphrase, “Aren’t you testing out first what you hear? Aren’t you taste testing first what you eat?” Or are you the one that gobbles down the food without a thought and wonder why you end up with heartburn? So yeah…I chew on what’s shared with me. I look for the wisdom in it, the practical application in it. This particular mentor owns multiple properties, isn’t afraid to continue investing even in her advancing years and isn’t afraid to take risks. See, she has receipts. Her receipts read to me like this: she’s been in this game of life for several minutes more than me, she has loved and lost and loved again, she’s made mistakes and learned from them and she’s mindful of her financial prowess.
So yeah… I need to see that when somebody opens their mouth to speak on anything, they are backed up with facts. When the college student does a literature review, the professor is not looking for opinions, they are looking for facts from journals not what some YouTube vlogger is trying to sell.
How do you check receipts? Line them up with the Word of God—The Bible. Yeah, I guess you expected me to get all progressive on you and keep it PG. Welp! Nope. I read and learn from a lot of books. But the one book that stands heads taller than them all continues to be the infallible Word of God. Enough said.
How do you check receipts? By actually sitting with people and get this—conversing with them. What a novel idea!!! This whole mentorship via YouTube and Instagram or Facebook is a farce! A farce I say! I follow people I admire on the Gram but I can’t call them when I’m in a bind. I’m lucky to get them to even notice when I tag them! Lol! It’s a sad state of existence when we think that just watching people live life is going to be enough to infer on how to live ours.
You can’t identify counterfeit receipts unless you’re up close and personal with others. You need to be able to take a pen to their 100 dollar bills of values and principles to see if it’s the real deal or if it’s fake. It takes a lot of work to identify the real versus the counterfeit. Yeah, you can start by looking at patterns and behaviors, but unless you have studied and work in the fields human behavior and psychology and call out a fake a mile away (fringe benefit of my profession and Godly discernment) you have to take the risk to get to know who can pour into your life and who can’t.
I get paid to mentor people in the mental health profession. I automatically bring my best to the experience. But the fact that they are a consumer reminds me I owe it to my interns to be more than my personal best. Mentorship is not a paid experience. For each person you check receipts from, they have to demonstrate that they have cleared the path you’re trying to get on.
You looking for marriage mentors? Check receipts for years of marriage, transparency in conversations and the fruits yielded from their relationship with each other. One of my mentors was married and divorced and remarried to her husband again! Now she’s got receipts of all sorts from which I have learned from. You looking for professional mentors? Check receipts that include their resume, their line of work, their endurance in the profession, their level of ambition. You looking for a mentor period? Check their receipts for values, principals, integrity, relationships with others in the community, testimonials from other mentees. Above all, pray and ask God to lead you to the right person. I did. And He did.
Checking receipts makes you realize what and who you can then accept counsel from. There’s a right fit for everyone. I realized a long time ago, can’t just anybody handle my sauce! Some find it too spicy. I can be direct. Some find it too bland. I can be methodical. Some find it too rich. I can be altruistic (or use big words like altruistic). Lol! The one with cleared receipts is not going to change who they are to accommodate the one checking receipts. Like relationships, there is someone for everyone out there. If you don’t like what they’re selling, move on to the next person. Just. One. Thing. Though. Don’t allow your pride, your insecurities or your fears to be the reason why you missed out on sitting at someone’s feet.
Your homework (should you be brave to accept it):
Identify three real life people that you know and admire (work, church, organization, etc.) Invite them out for a meal. Be intentional in speaking to them about this season in your life and if the Holy Spirit is leading, ask the one you feel led to ask to be your mentor. Be specific in what you are looking for in a mentor and what you feel they can offer in the way of counsel, advice and challenges.
Now I know some of us have some deep rooted issues with rejection. It may not be the right time for that person or they know it may not be a good fit. But you won’t know unless you ask. People are not mind readers. It’s not fair for anyone to know they were your “pretend” mentor when you never gave them the opportunity to apply for the job. There is a level of intimacy in the mentor/mentee relationship that isn’t all roses and tulips. It may not be the right timing for them, but don’t look at it as a form of rejection. Rather receive it as you doing something fearless on your way to personal growth.
So go out there! Be brave. Check receipts and take the next steps to becoming a transformed and evolved version of you.