I adore the locally-owned coffee shop located on the downtown corner of my hometown, the spot where a cozy table has hosted countless coffee dates. The atmosphere is usually just right for conversation, and the dessert case never fails to expose my weaknesses. One of my favorite things to hear from a good friend is, “Let’s do a Main Street date.” There’s something about a hot cup of good coffee and heartfelt words.
The relationships that have been forged over those long talks have shaped me.
And while tea or smoothies may be the way you roll, we all need our own “Main Street dates.” Here’s why:
We need accountability.
When I think of accountability, I often imagine an awkward and forced conversation that involves someone reluctantly confessing their struggles. But real, gospel-driven accountability is way more about a life-giving relationship. Yes, confession is often necessary (James 5:16), but it doesn’t stop there. Healthy, thriving, Jesus-centered accountability is reflected in a relationship where each person encourages the other to know and love Christ more deeply.
Why do we need it? Because the Christian life isn’t meant to be a solo act. We need each other. We need the local church. And at a more personal, one-on-one level, we need friends who will remind us of God’s truth.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! (Eccl. 4:9–10).
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another (Prov. 27:17).
I’m so grateful for the cheerleaders God has placed in my life. I naturally bend toward discouragement, tending to be hard on myself, losing sight of God’s sovereignty and provision. He has mercifully given me friends with cheerful hearts who give the best grace-filled pep talks. I have a list of friends whom I can text or call at any time, and I know they’ll pray for me and speak truth to me, even if it isn’t easy to say.
We need spiritual mentors.
Do you have a mentor?
Sometimes that word conjures up anxiety about awkwardly approaching a woman you barely know and stammering, “Will you be my mentor?” But it doesn’t have to be so hard.
I’ve never formally asked an older woman to serve in an official mentor role, but I’ve had a handful of older women who have lovingly invested time and energy in me. As a result, I’ve often gone to them for advice and prayer. They’ve left a lasting impact. It really is that simple.
Older women teaching younger women is a model provided for us in Scripture:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled (Titus 2:3–5).
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith (Heb. 13:7).
In the Bible study True Woman 201, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and Mary Kassian describe the importance of women teaching other women:
If you want to be the kind of woman who brings glory to God, you should actively learn from the lives of women who have walked the path before you and actively teach those who are coming after. Regardless of your age, the Lord wants you to be both a learner and a teacher (p. 218).
It takes a sisterhood to grow girls up into true womanhood—a godly sisterhood in which every woman learns from the older and mentors the younger (p. 219).
As we seek to develop spiritual maturity, we should be looking toward older women who have experience under their belts and godly wisdom in their hearts. We need to hear about their successes and their failures and hear them recount stories of God’s grace in their lives.
- What did they wish they’d known before they got married?
- What has motherhood taught them?
- What are the ingredients of a thriving marriage?
Value the life experience of the older women around you. Solicit their input. Receive instruction and correction with humility. Ask questions. Listen (True Woman 201, p. 219)
And consider this: Is there a younger woman you should ask to grab a cup of coffee? If you’re in high school, the junior highers in your youth group look up to you. How can you invest in their lives? As an older woman pours into your heart, turn around and pour your heart into a younger woman.
We need each other.
Have you been living the Christian life as a loner? I get it. Sometimes we want to pull back instead of diving into a friendship that could get too up-close-and-personal. But Scripture tells us we need each other (2 Tim. 1:13; 2 Tim. 3:10;Ps. 78:1-8; Prov. 17:17).
So make that coffee date. Order that blueberry muffin. Munch on a pastry, sip something warm, and chew on some challenging conversation that will spur you on to godliness (Heb. 10:24).
Photo credit: Death to the Stock Photo