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.