One of the joys of girls ministry is getting to be involved with girls of all ages and stages. And believe me, some weeks, I spend just as much time with girls ministry among the adults as I do among the students. And if I’m being really transparent, I see some of the same issues crop up in my own heart from time to time that look a lot like some of the issues I deal with across the board. Leaders, hear me: We are not inoculated from issues in Girl World just because we’ve graduated from high school. Sin lurks in the corners of your small group plans, your confidential prayer requests, and the secret conversations you have with your leaders in ministry. Gossip is one of the yummiest deceptions running rampant among our girls ministries…even among leaders. In addition, there is a temptation to take on the role of MESSIAH in the lives of the girls God has placed you among. And when you try to be the ME in MESSIAH you create a MESS in the ministry.
So how do we know we’re a gossip girl or have a MESSIAH complex? Today I’ll address the MESSIAH complex and later I’ll address the GOSSIP GIRL symptoms.
Here are symptoms:
1. One of the symptoms of a MESSIAH COMPLEX is a need to be involved in drama.
Have you begun to chase down “drama” among the girls or leaders you serve among just because you want to be involved in the redemption of that story?
A good friend of mine has correctly identified this as a need to be a PERPETUAL TRAGEDY SEEKER.
Do you live off the adrenaline of knowing and being involved with the recent “drama”?
There are people I know that somehow are intricately involved with every single story that comes through my office. And if they aren’t involved, they come to find out how they can be involved. I believe that what once started out with a innate desire to LOVE well, has been twisted to a ME mess. Instead of being concerned about the person or persons who are directly affected by whatever, the MESSIAH COMPLEX person now becomes concerned with consuming all parts of the story and oftentimes at the risk of not loving the individual well.
2. Another symptom of the MESSIAH COMPLEX is an inability to utilize boundaries.
This person oftentimes overcommits in an effort to be ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE.
You are not omnipotent or omnipresent and so you can do this for only so long before you begin to drop the ball, disappoint a lot of people, and do a job half-hearted.
So how do these symptoms cause a MESS in ministry?
Innocent people get hurt when their story gets used a means to satisfy this need in volunteers and leaders.
Competition begins to take root among leaders and volunteers as it becomes a race to get to the center of the drama.
Instead of allowing Christ to be front and central to this story, this MESSIAH complex becomes unknowingly consumed with being the one who tries to redeem the story.
So what do we do about it?
1. Pray. Ask God to search your heart for any of those symptoms above. Without asking God to intervene, we run the risk trying to step in His shoes to take control of situations.
Proverbs 12:2 HCSB A person may think their own ways are right,
but the Lord weighs the heart.
2. Develop a confidential team of friends/mentors that tell you the truth when you ask questions similar to Galatians 1:10. My pastor always says, that the first person we lie to is our self. Make sure you have people in your life that will honestly let you know about these symptoms.
Galatians 1:10 HCSB For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.
3. Take a period of sabbath from working in the student ministry. Ensure that you are taking short and possibly long periods of time away from the student ministry as allowed. Why? Well, when we step away from the drama, it is a reminder that ministry does not revolve around us. What?! That may come as a shock to some of us…but if you take moments throughout the week, year, and years to say—this is a time I will step away, you will be amazed at how refreshing it is for both you and the ministry. I am thankful that this year is a sabbatical year for me. That means that this year, at some point, I will be able to step away for about 5 weeks to spend time on soul care. I look forward to it, and at the same time I dread having to be away from the buzz of everything. I hate feeling left out. But when I do get away…it is so healthy and it is a reminder that the ministry is not my god. And when I return, I have found that my prayers and heart are focused where they need to be. Now, if you are not allowed the opportunity for that many weeks off, I would encourage you to begin with taking a sabbath day. Turn off your phone. Get away. Delegate. And spend time with your Savior. If you are a volunteer, talk with your girls minister or student staff and see if you can plan in advance for the new year, a time for a period of weeks for you to step away. It takes planning, but it always is a win/win when it is carried out.
I hope this is helpful as you seek to determine if there is any MESSSIAH complex symptoms residing with you.
Let me know if you have questions about this, or if you have noticed additional symptoms or ways to address this in your life and ministry.