“Put me in, coach!”
If you played sports growing up, you probably said or thought this. We have a natural desire to accomplish things — to get called upon in the big moments to make an impact. It’s one reason we love superhero movies. We imagine that we’re the ones being called to save the day.
The problem for young adults relates to being “called.” It assumes that there’s someone doing the calling. It’s one thing for God to impress a general calling on your life; it’s another to have a coach or mentor actually guiding and encouraging you in day-to-day life.
That’s what’s so great about flesh-and-blood coaches and mentors. They’re able to speak God’s love and purpose to you. They know you, they encourage the development of your skills and passions, and then they help you achieve your life goals.
Unfortunately, many young adults, myself included, don’t always have access to this kind of coaching. During high school, coaches seemed to be all around me. Sports coaches, teachers, youth group leaders, parents. But somewhere along the way that network of interested adults disappeared.
I went off to college…
I moved again for more school and a job…
Many of us find that the people who once spoke into our lives now live hundreds of miles away. It’s no one’s fault, per se. These days, we are almost expected to move around and lose connections. In fact, the average 18 year old will move nine more times in his or her lifetime — most of those before the age of 45.
So how can young adults find good life coaching when our lives are so unstable?
In the six years since turning 18, I’ve moved states three times. Texas. Oregon. Colorado. Starting over in a new place has definitely been isolating. I get tired of doing things myself. I just want someone to say, “Let me guide you through the steps. Let me make sure that your hard work doesn’t end up in failure.”
As someone looking to publish a novel, I continually pray, “God, I’m willing to do the work. But please send me that one person who believes in me and can help me get where I need to be. I can’t do it on my own.”
God has not entirely answered that prayer. But He has provided guidance and help along the way, usually through other people.
Wherever you are in life, the Bible encourages believers to pursue wise counsel and advice. Proverbs says, “A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise,” and, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Prov. 15:12, 22 NIV)
As a nomadic 20-something, here are three tactics I’ve used to find biblical mentorship and coaching.
Do you want a coach? Go find one.
At the risk of being reductive, the ultimate coach was Jesus. Many people came to Him asking for wisdom, healing and guidance. And He helped them. There’s Mary and Martha. The Canaanite woman in Matthew 15. The crowds who followed Him during His ministry.. Even His own disciples peppered Him with questions and requests. Be bold and persistent. Godly wisdom can be found in godly people. According to Ed Stetzer, “…what many young adults are missing out on is the reality that words of wisdom from the Lord often come through the mouths of others.”
Find supplemental resources.
Have you ever heard of YouTube? Or podcasts? There are so many fantastic biblical resources out there. You could listen to a new sermon every day for the next 1000 years if you wanted to.
I used the word “supplemental” on purpose. Podcasts shouldn’t replace one-on-one fellowship with another believer. But if you’re in transition, online resources and books can be great ways of keeping you grounded as you search out new relationships. Hey, why not start with the Boundless podcast?
Friends and peers can be great comforts, too.
I’ve already pointed out that isolation is a big reason for finding a life coach. But a coach doesn’t have to be a grey-haired sage.
A good mentor is someone who’s traveled down a particular road before you. A friend who has had similar experiences as you might fit this bill.
Do you have a passion to start a YouTube series? Have a startup idea? Find a friend who’s just as passionate. You’re creative. They’ve started a business before. Collaborate. The two of you can encourage each other to push forward and with your different perspectives, you can call out each other’s blind spots and grow as adults.
I’ll admit I haven’t yet found consistent mentorship from an older believer. But I’m in a better place than I was when I first moved to Colorado. I’ve met with most of my church pastors. I’ve developed valuable business relationships with Christian men. And while no dedicated life coach has stepped out of the blue to provide complete clarity for my life, through prayer and an open mind I can see how God is using other people to guide me on His path.
Copyright 2019 T.J. Neathery. All rights reserved.