Two years ago I stumbled into a trap set artfully in the heart of ministry.
It was the “it’s all about me” trap.
Maybe you recognize it, too. It’s not limited to ministry.
It divides loving relationships. It creeps into our faith. It trips up entire churches where unaware believers plummet into its depths and casualties stack up.
Back to that dark place. . .
Due to lots of change and transition in ministry, I felt a little lost.
I wasn’t sure where I fit.
Normal feelings in big change, right?
But then came the trap.
It became all about me.
The more I focused on me — what I needed, why no one was noticing that I was trying so hard — the less of the real me there was to offer.
Resentment tried to creep in. Uncertainty marched in with a flourish. And soon I was plain ‘ole filled up with everything but who I am.
Exactly what the trap was intended to do.
In one of my favorite books, Screw Tape Letters, an allegory by C. S. Lewis, an entire conversation is held between satan and his helper, Wormwood. In it, satan reveals his goal to distract, destroy, delay, and distort a believer’s faith so that his enemy, God, is foiled.
That’s exactly where the all-about-me trap was leading.
One night in a dark night in a small room I curled up and wept silently, thinking about my next move which was anywhere but where I was.
Is it okay to be this honest?
Because sometimes, especially when you are in ministry, you might pretend that you always have it together and that night I had NOTHING together.
The all-about-me trap had caused me to forget something really important.
But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45 (ESV)
I didn’t start ministry to get noticed. I went into ministry because Jesus rescued me.
And there are thousands upon thousands who don’t realize He came to rescue them too. It’s my privilege to serve.
Serving isn’t promised to be easy. There’s no promise to be noticed for hard work, at least not here on earth.
The all-about-me trap is why really great churches get messed up. People with good hearts and pure motivation start a church, but somewhere along the way the limelight gets focused on a person or people.
And then it’s not a healthy church, but an all-about-me church.
The all-about-me trap is why relationships get so fractured as one or both forget to love selflessly, or to be considerate, or kind even when you’ve known each other for years and years.
And then it’s not a healthy relationship, but an all-about-me relationship.
The all-about-me trap really fouls up what faith is meant to be when you hold up all your accomplishments and demand that God get it together and give you some kind of reward because you’ve done this or that. . .when He willingly walked to the cross with your sins on his heart.
To #livefree in any area we abandon the clamor of self-will to serve with no other motivation but to love.
It’s been two years since that dark night. My love of ministry was re-ignited and I’m grateful. The all-about-me trap was tripped when serving became my ultimate goal and joy was released.
Today if He called me to put down my words, I’d write them privately where only He could see and still find joy.
Because that’s who all of this is for.
Thank you for the reminder Suzie. I MOST DEFINITELY needed to hear it today:) Blessings!
I hear you, Kristine. We all do, right? <3
Love love loved this. I think it’s very easy to find ourselves in that mindset.
I’m not entirely sure if my link copied over completely, but I think I’ve attached the correct link to my blog. 🙂
Thank you! I need to hear it today beacuse I`m just in all-about-me trap… not in the ministry but in a relationship with someone that I love. He´s is not loveable rigth now but instead of serve him with no more intention that love I`m complaining about his attitude. Thank you because you take away that veil that cover my eyes and now I know what I have to do… just serve with love and grace. God bless you!
Andrea, I needed the veil taken from my eyes too. Yesterday it was Bible study and many of the women who attend don’t have a car. My helper canceled and it meant that I would drive from one end of the city to the other. There are times that this would have felt like an inconvenience, but instead I put my hands on the steering wheel and began to praise God for these beautiful women who are friends, who are so hungry for God’s word. That driving time became a beautiful communion time with me and God. What a privilege it is to love others as Jesus loves us. I need this reminder often. We all do. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so glad you stopped by!
Its too Funny that you have read screw tape. Over the Holidays my Mother asked my why I was unhappy with her; what had she said to offend me?; Why wasn’t she good enough? Why Couldn’t I just be Happy? She has used the ME Concept forever & this Year I could completely tune her out & tune GOD IN! I told her just Show Love Momma…. Show Gods love & the rest will be taken care of. I have found those Words are sufficient for Every Problem!
It’s one of my favorite books, hands down. It has a lot of wisdom hidden in the allegory. Thanks for dropping by. I hope you come back.
This is wonderful! I have curled up in a ball struggling with the same things – in ministry, in church involvement in general, and in relationships. Thank you for sharing your story and the freedom you were reminded of, and allowing us to do the same with our stories. I am looking forward to reading more of your site!
Thanks, Jennifer. I think it’s absolutely a trap and one we often willingly walk in to. I love the idea you shared on your blog of the “worship leader is third.” Thanks for linking up!
I find this to be a battle all the time. I am constantly having to remind myself not to make things about me. I really understand this post and I value you sharing it. Much love to you.
Thank you, Kelly. <3
Thank you so much for this truth today Suzie. I war at times over sharing ~ why am I doing it…what is the purpose…who will be glorified? Then the Lord asks me to share something I don’t want to just to set the record straight!