You’ve got to have people who will speak truth into your life, but those people need to understand that making mistakes is part of what learning is about. The goal is not to make someone mistake free, but provide cues and guidelines to help them think for themselves.
I imagine it will be tough to let go of my kids (my countdown clock aside). To get to that stage where I stop worrying, to stop thinking of them as my kid and let them be the adults they are one day supposed to be. Even adopted parents, spiritual mentors, or what have you – they pour themselves into their mentorees, investing in them, and then have trouble accepting you and your ideas once you begin to go your own way. It is rare that people will find themselves in the same place in their spiritual journeys, even moreso with parental figures/mentors. While you won’t always be a child, to them, you will always be that child wholly dependent on them and their guidance.
The journey inward is part of the progress. You have to stick to it. Some people compare this time to God actually “giving” you more responsibility by not guiding you by the hand any more. Kind of like a parent with a teenager, how dealing with them is akin to handling a wet bar of soap: you want to keep them in your hand, but the best way to do so is in a loose grip because the harder you hold onto them the more likely they will just squeeze out.
In Christ we have freedom, yet we keep choking it off with our own brands of legalism. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) We don’t trust freedom and we certainly aren’t comfortable with this whole idea of liberation. Most people want to be told, they want the black and white picture and hate (or at least distrust) anything that smacks of gray. That’s why there is such a comfort to rules and why fundamentalism has its draw. We have this fear of ourselves, of others, of community and church, and of the unknown. We definitely have this fear of taking chances and making mistakes.
Freedom goes against our sense of control, and ultimately, that’s what the extra rules that make up our walk boil down to. It’s the tension that parents have to walk with their children. Letting our children escape our firm, controlled grips and allow them to go their own way. By holding on to them too tight, we don’t allow them to grow. You can’t teach your children from a place of fear. It only teaches them to be in a safe box, unprepared for the world. We grow through paradoxes, through butting heads, in wrestling for answers we may never receive or understand.
Freedom means challenging yourself and exploring new ideas, not sealing yourself away from “the world” and its evil influences. With such separation you lose your sense of mission. On the flip side, freedom does not mean indulge your sinful nature.
So go easy on parents/mentors. Parents will always be parents and as you grow and go your own way, they won’t always trust you to not stumble until you don’t stumble. It’s tough being a parent. You see your kids growing up, making mistakes (that you’re powerless to prevent them from making). The best parents are doing their best to keep their hands at your side, ready to catch you when you fall; while some, well, they are busy wrapping their house in bubble pack so that there are no hard corners for you land on. You want to seal them up in a cocoon of your making, or maybe in a “safe” Christian ghetto. However, we don’t live in a safe world nor has God called us to stay in safe places. We are to go into the world and in so doing, we have to trust in the Holy Spirit to guide us and for Christ to help us back up when we fall. We have to trust the Bible in what it says and (just as importantly, but more scary) what it does not say. If you are strong, carry the load of the weak; and if you have to wave your freedoms in the face of the “weak,” you’ve probably just revealed yourself to be one of the weak.