My wife and I just got back from a trip to the United Kingdom.  While there, we visited the city of Windsor.

Windsor is a charming town, with cobblestone streets, vendors selling pastries, and lots of people roaming the markets.  The queen also resides occasionally at Windsor Castle, and while we were there, she happened to be in town.

There were a whole lot of tourists visiting…many, I’m sure, hoping to spot the queen.

For whatever reason, we didn’t look like tourists that day (even though it was our first day there, and I’m sure we still had that wide-eyed look that tourists seem to have), and were stopped and asked the question, “Do you know where the McDonald’s is?”

Don’t mind the irony of the situation (the fact that they were asking a couple of Americans, who weren’t in America, where an American restaurant was located).  We really weren’t sure where the McDonald’s was located.  It seemed like we had passed one (and passed we did…we refused to eat American food while in the UK) earlier, so we pointed them in the direction we thought best.  Turns out we were right.

Turns out we were right.

But we could have just as easily have been wrong.

Just because we were American didn’t mean we knew where the McDonald’s was.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole process of mentoring lately.  Maybe because I’m at that stage where I need a lot of help. (will I ever get out of this stage?  Would it even be healthy if I did exit this stage?)  Maybe it’s because I see others’ errors more easily than I see my own (that’s a problem, I know).  Maybe it’s because I thoroughly enjoy learning from others.  But I’m not going to just choose to learn from anybody.  I mean, I’ll read lots of books.  Listen to lots of podcasts.  Read lots of blogs.  But when it comes to asking somebody to specifically speak truth into my life, I’m being very picky.

And I think you should as well.

Because the people who are influencing me now really are influencing me.  They’re shaping the way that I look as a husband, a dad, and a pastor.  And for some odd reason, I think that’s pretty important.

In looking for help thinking through your current stage in life, choose wisely.

Just because someone’s a dad doesn’t mean that they know what they’re doing.

Just because someone’s a pastor doesn’t mean they can help give you the counsel you need.

Just because someone’s a leader doesn’t mean that they can help you take the next steps you need to take.

They may be right.

But then again, they may not even be in the right country.

The people who are influencing you now really are influencing you.