Best Advice I’ve Ever Been Given

Ali and Abby

Hi friends!! First things first, I miss you all so much and can’t wait to be back together again very soon! If you don’t know me, my name is Ali Garrett, and I am a rising senior studying EMIS and psychology. I served on Wesley leadership this past year as part of the Street Team, along with the one and only, Dan Laff. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to apply for Wesley leadership for at least one year of your college experience! Not only are you led and discipled by THE Andrew and Sarah Beard and Alyssa McHugh, but you will also be provided with resources to become a better leader in this ministry and on SMU’s campus. 

By now, you’re probably wondering about the title of this post. The best advice I have ever been given was actually told to me over and over by many different people throughout my life, but I never actually took it to heart till about junior year of high school. Here it is: 

Be in Community. Find a Mentor. 

Let me explain this in more depth. When I was first given this advice, I thought I was already doing these things. I went to church, attended youth group/bible class, and I had a great group of friends, and I thought that I just checked the box for being “in community”. It wasn’t until I truly became part of a small group in high school that I finally realized the difference between being in community and just community itself. I learned that by being in a real community there is a sense of a shared world. There is commitment to each other and to God. There is an ability to gently restore each other from sin. When I came to college, I wanted to be involved in a ministry that encouraged community because I knew the impact it made on my life. I arrived at Wesley, and its strong community was one of the first things I noticed. Think about this in your own life. Are you intentionally being in community? Here are some examples to think about: 

Examples of Community:Examples of what being in community involves:
– Your roommates– United Group that meets consistently
– Your commons– Asking hard questions
– Wesley House– Confession
– Your neighborhood– Calling one another out on sin
– A GroupMe– Praying for one another
– A GroupMe– Pointing one another towards Jesu

These examples can go hand in hand, but I think we often mix these things up. Just going to church or attending bible study and checking the box is not the same as experiencing deep and meaningful community. The bible also commands us to be in community… 

1. 1 John 1:7 reads “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

2. James 5:16 reads “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” 

3. Hebrews 10:24-25 reads “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…” Community is life-giving and essential to following Christ. Scripture tells us that we are better together than we are alone. I have experienced this first hand – community that celebrates with me, grieves with me, encourages me, and loves on me. Being part of a small group has transformed my faith, and I encourage you to find other followers of Christ to do life with. If you don’t know where to start, start with a United Group through this ministry. Since freshman year, I have been a member of a united group and now I am a leader of one. United Groups have allowed me to meet other students in this ministry (of all ages!!), taught me how to read the bible and pray intentionally, and shown me what it means to confess and give and receive grace. 

The next piece of advice is to find a mentor. When I first heard the word “mentor”, my mind immediately thought that this person had to be older than me. Although there are many mentor relationships that are this style, this does not have to be the case. A mentor by definition is “an experienced and trusted adviser.” This definition has nothing to do with age! In my opinion, as long as this person cares for you, wants the best for you, knows that the most important thing in life is to have a relationship with Christ and encourages you to invest in that relationship, then they can be your mentor. I encourage you to find a mentor and quickly establish that relationship by simply telling the individual that you would love to meet consistently and that you value them as a friend and brother or sister in Christ. The word “mentor” is not actually in the bible, but scripture does give many examples of mentorship: 

  • 1. Jesus mentored His twelve disciples.
  • 2. Barnabas and Paul became professionals in mentoring (Acts 9-15).
  • 3. Proverbs 27:17 reads “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
  • 4. Proverbs 1:5 reads “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” 

My mentor and I have now been meeting for about a year and a half, and it has been life-giving! It is refreshing to have someone that knows everything going on in your life, someone that cares for you deeply, someone to go to when you are going through hard times, and someone to run to for advice and questions about Christianity and faith. While reading this, someone may have come to mind that could potentially be your mentor. I encourage you to reach out to them TODAY! It is possible to start meeting over FaceTime!! 

Ali’s United Group ladies! Catie, Morgan, and Callie.

If you want to take that next step in your faith and join a United Group or reach out to a potential mentor but don’t know where to start, I am happy to help. I can help connect you to leaders in this ministry that want to meet you and be a part of your life! Feel free to text or call me at 214.435.7667. You can also reach out to anyone on Wesley Leadership. You can find that information on the Wesley House Instagram or in the GroupMe! 

I have attached pictures of two books I am currently reading if you are bored or need new book recommendations! I am so excited to see you in the fall! 

Love, Ali 

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