Kathy Collard Miller

Be An Effective Mentor.

Hello from Kathy Collard Miller, writing in the very hot desert near Palm Springs, California.

One of the many goals of mentoring is helping our mentee identify her motive for the choices she makes. She may not realize it but all of us react, respond, and choose based upon what we desire and want. Or what we think will prevent some kind of emotional pain, maybe even physical pain. Helping our mentee to recognize what can seem well-hidden is a challenge.

My husband and I are lay-counselors and as we try to help people make wise and godly choices, we’ve seen the most long-rang change when there has been a heart transformation, not just mental assent or gritting their teeth (metaphorically) to force obedience. Because we also received counseling and have been in relationships where we were mentored, we have appreciated the mentor or friend who asked questions that helped us identify our motives and what we hoped to gain when we made a particular choice.

If you’d like to help others discover why they “do what they do,” you don’t have to be a “formal” mentor. Even in casual friends friendships, you can inquire into their heart’s motives. Rather than encourage them to grit their teeth and vow to be better, we want them to have a deep spiritual change where their motives are based upon greater trust in God—not self-effort.

Asking questions rather than giving advice helps your mentee/friend to get in touch with their motivations. If we only give advice, our mentee could depend upon us for their power rather than having a heart for God. But the difficulty is thinking of the questions to ask.

Here Are Some Questions to Use During Mentoring

These aren’t used in any order but can be used depending upon what the mentee is telling you. Then ask more questions based upon what the mentee replies.

What did the other person’s reaction seem to say about you?
What if you didn’t keep doing that? What do you fear would happen?
What is God inviting you into through allowing these circumstances?
What would you like to say to that person who hurt you?
Why do you believe that’s true when other people have told you it’s not?
What were you hoping or longing for?
What do you feel is lacking in your life?
What does that choice provide for you?
What were you saying about yourself during the time that hurtful thing happened?
How does your behavior leave out God in your life?
How does that behavior protect you from some kind of harm or pain?
Everything is a choice. Why are you choosing that destructive behavior: to gain something or protect yourself from something?
What does your choice say about who God is?
What does your behavior or choice indicate is your belief about God, life, or other people?

Kathy’s most recent book.

Learning to use these questions may take time. And asking them may not bring instant change to your mentee. But the mentee’s new sense of self-awareness can be used by the Holy Spirit to reveal wrongly-motivated thinking and choices. That kind of heart transformation will have long-range benefits.

 

(These thoughts have been adapted from Never Ever Be the Same: A New You Starts Today by Kathy Collard Miller and Larry Miller)

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Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Holiness Feels Like…What?

Hello from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs where I’m feeling the heat.

Have you ever wondered what holiness feels like? Malachi 4:2 expresses what God might like us to experience when we see the fruits of holiness that he is producing in our lives: “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.”

Have you ever “leapt” in your spirit after recognizing that your trust in God had expanded to include forgiving someone who hurt you because you recognize how much you’ve been forgiven? Or giving grace by listening with understanding to a friend share a problem—even though she usually ignores you—because you’ve experienced God’s grace? Or resting calmly in a situation that normally drives you over the edge because you know God is in charge? Or being patient when your child spills milk at the dinner table for the third time because you know God has repeatedly been patient with you? We’re no longer fenced in and held in bondage by sinful patterns like worry, fear, selfishness, hate, resentment, and so many other binding things.

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Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller, Topics: Spiritual Growth * Family * Parenting*

Hello from Kathy Collard Miller in the desert of Southern California where we are enjoying the most perfect time of year, besides the beautiful Fall. Enjoy my latest story.

My husband, Larry, and I met because I was lost. Now we’ve been married 46 years.

It was my senior year of high school. The water polo team for my school, Downey High School in Downey, California, was going to be playing in the state championship. I’d never been to a water polo game but my friend and neighbor, Margie Tweedie, thought it would be fun to see one.

Margie and I rode the school bus to a distant school which had a huge indoor pool. Since it was a championship game, lots of people came from many schools, and after Margie and I exited the bus, we joined a mass of kids and adults trying to make our way into the pool arena area.

Before I knew it, I was lost. Well, only in the sense I suddenly looked around and couldn’t see Margie anywhere. Where has she gone? How did I become separated from her? I can’t see her anywhere.

As I looked around searching for her, I saw someone I knew. It was Frank Dawson from the Episcopal church I attended. Oh, good, someone I know. I’ll talk to him.

I went over to him and said hi when I realized the Cute Guy standing next to him was a friend of Frank’s. Frank introduced me to the Cute Guy as Larry. OK, Cute Guy has a name. Good. Larry and Frank explained to me they were both on the water polo team at Warren High school, the other high school in Downey. Warren High and my school were rivals.

After chatting a while, Margie still hadn’t appeared in the mass of humanity, so when everyone started migrating to sit down, it just felt natural for the three of us to climb up the bleachers together. I found myself sitting next to Larry and I quickly hatched my plan. Since I’d never been to a water polo game, I put 2 and 2 together:

2: keep Larry’s attention
+
2: ask him questions about water polo
——————————-
4: make Larry want to ask me for a date.

I’m a good question-asker. I’m a very good question-asker. And I proceeded to literally ask questions the whole game—about water polo and about his life. I knew I was being successful because he seemed to thoroughly enjoy my interest in him. I just knew we’d reach 4!

When the game ended (I can’t remember who won but Larry remembers), we climbed down from the bleachers and the magic moment arrived for 4! Larry turned to me and I knew the magic words would come out of his mouth: “I’d love to see you again. What’s your telephone number?”

Instead, he said, “Thanks for the nice time. See you.”

I weakly replied, “See you.” I felt the blood drain from my face.

Wait! Where was the 4? I was so dismayed and disappointed. Yes, that’s just like you, Kathy. You always get the fish on the hook, but he jumps off.

I didn’t know until later (yes, obviously, Larry did call and ask for a date later) that he was afraid to ask me for a date right then in front of Frank. He didn’t want to be embarrassed if I told him no. Hello! I had just paid rapt attention to him for several hours! And he thought I wasn’t interested?!

I had lots to learn about understanding a man–and 46 years of marriage later, I think I understand his motivation some of the time.

I’m so glad I got lost in that crowd. I’d like to tell Margie the result but I can’t find her. Wouldn’t that be fun to tell her?

I didn’t know it but God was arranging our meeting all along. Although I knew I was lost in that crowd at the water polo game, I didn’t know I was spiritually lost. I attended church and thought I was a Christian because I was trying to become perfect so that God could love me. I wasn’t assured of going to heaven–I thought I could only find out after I died if my good deeds had earned enough favor with God for Him to love me.

But because I was lost in that crowd, separated from Margie, I met Larry. I started dating him, attended his church, and I heard the clear message there that I didn’t need to earn my way into heaven. Jesus’ death on the cross and spilling His blood to cover my sin was sufficient for me to be accepted by God. But I did need to receive Him as my Savior and Lord. And I could be assured of going to heaven. Talk about the lost being found!

Psalm 119:176 describes me at that water polo game: “I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.” (NIV). How fascinating that the Psalmist says, “God, seek me!” It’s God’s work.

Kathy’s most recent book.

Kathy’s recent book.
We met because I was lost. That applies to Larry in my life and that applies to God in my life. I hope you can look and recount multiple times when hindsight reveals God was working in you all along. If you haven’t recognized it lately, ask God to reveal how He has been seeking your attention. I guarantee He has.

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Kathy Collard Miller

 

Hello from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs where our perfect weather has begun.

How do you envision spiritual growth? Most of us think of it visually like a linear time line. On the left side of the line we make a step of progress and the temptation seems to be behind us and we won’t address it again. We have moved along that line to the right and we’ll only encounter new challenges—not old ones.

But that’s not an accurate visual of change. Change is more like a spiral. Let’s call it a whirlpool. We’re going around and around in life and every time we reach a certain situation or person, there’s a rock, representing a sinful strategy that hits us, tempting us to behave badly. If we think there are no rocks (as if they are behind us in a time line), we’ll be surprised and unaware of their approach. Read More →

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Kathy Collard Miller

Hello from Kathy Collard Miller in Southern California near Palm Springs. The weather is perfect this time of year and all our rains have brought out the wildflowers.

I’m a People Pleaser. It’s hard to admit sometimes but the truth is, I’m motivated to please others for a variety of reasons and one main one is thinking I should never say “no.” Why? What is my thinking?

1. What will they think of me if I’m not the Super Woman who can say “yes” to everything?
2. If I don’t say “yes,” then I’ll miss out on the fun!
3. If I don’t say “yes,” the opportunity won’t get done to my standards!
4. If I don’t say “yes,” they might not ask me the next time.
5. (Put in your own reasoning).

People Pleasing is all about depending upon the opinions of others for our approval, rather than God. We fear making other people unhappy with us or think poorly of us. So we strive to do everything we can to appease other people and promote ourselves as important, valuable, or whatever vow we’ve made to promote or protect ourselves.

There are many examples of People Pleasing in the Bible. The most known one may be when King Saul succumbed to this strategy. His reaction is featured in 1 Samuel 13:8-14. Remember the story?

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