I Need a Friend, Not Another Mentor

By Cindy Koch

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Girls like to give advice.

I had become quickly skeptical of much advice, in my youth, as the incessant stream from one mouth clashed with the advice from another. Good advice, bad advice, celebrity advice, magazine quiz advice, friend advice, motherly advice, and the list goes on. I have even had friends debating their advice directly in front of me, as it was passionately unfolded before my eyes. Both people could not be right, someone must be wrong, any advice how to choose? Experience and stories from one side ran straight past the experience of another. I steadily become very tired of these unhelpful words, masked as the answers to existence.

I do realize, not all this advice was of the same importance. Some just commented on the best hairstyle for my face shape or how to properly paint a bookcase. Some advice enhanced my baking skills to yield a flaky piecrust, and other advice failed miserably in my struggles with the chocolate chip cookie. Day to day, advice shared was a welcome way to try something new, and maybe with more success.

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But there are some things that are very important. The advice I longed for actually would matter. It is not a big deal if my cookies come out flat, but it is a very big deal when I have a troubled relationship with my husband. I can live through a bad haircut, but I will certainly die before the face of my God. There was an equalization of gravity between my identity from God and my hand-created projects below. But I was shushed with advice all given in a “try this” attitude as if it were a new fall dress color.

Ironically however, even as I distrusted most advice, I find myself spewing my own helpful tips to any listening ears. I saw myself as a mentor to others, one who had at least some of the answers figured out. I had insight, I had things to say! It’s for their own good, even if they don’t know it yet. If everyone just listened to my advice, well of course the world would be a better place.

But no, you don’t need another self-proclaimed expert on life. Not another tip to try, not another thing to do. You, and I, just need a friend.

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I need someone who shares my sorrows; not just nods compassionately with me and tells me how to fix it, one who is soaked in tears alongside of me. I need someone who understands my sin; not just one who prays for my several faults, but one who is as really terrible as I am. I don’t need another mentor, I need a friend.

This friend doesn’t have a whole lot of fancy advice. This friend is as dirty and sad and overwhelmed and angry as me. This friend has one word to give, “It is finished.”

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I’m so thankful that God has blessed me with damaged and destroyed women that I call my friends. They point me endlessly to our Savior. With them, I am constantly encouraged to trust in the hope to come. Together we look to a new earth where our petty advice will no longer be needed.

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