Many of us give of ourselves in various roles and capacities. We were created as believers through living discipleship to worship, serve, and for purpose for God. When we give of ourselves in any capacity we should do so freely, in love, with a pure heart, sound mind, and with genuine intentions. Our giving of ourselves through service shouldn’t be “Jekyll and Hyde” in how we respond. We are to be model servants in paying it forward letting our gestures bring others towards Christ, and not “martyr servants” in being self- serving in repealing others away through actions of strifeful manipulation.
We must do our best and live consciously as mothers and women of God not to allow the spirit of martyrship to take over our lives in living for God. Many of us balance various roles within our families, our churches, careers, and within the communities we live in giving of ourselves through service. Every role in which we serve we should be lead by God in action. If we take on the spirit of being a martyr ( which falls under the victim complex) in being of service we more less take on ungodly characteristics in needing validation, ego boosting, superiority, and a since of entitlement in our actions. “Martyr Servants” oftentimes through their actions cause conflict, alienation, shame, guilt, and better yet exploit their “giving” actions of service.
ACT 1 Baby Fever
Mary decided to plan a baby shower for new church member Sasha. Mary wasn’t always as kind to Sasha at first, and occasionally shared unkind observations about Sasha to the other ladies at the church. In seeing that Sasha really was a sweet, loving, but spiritually fragile young lady Mary decided to throw a huge shower among the other ladies at the church. She went “above and beyond” in making it a grand affair. When Sasha later went to another church Mary became resentful. She shared with all the other ladies at the church her “hurt” in being taking for granted. She even shared outside of the church with other friends her disappointment. Years later when Mary was expecting Sasha came over with a gift. She walked in feeling the atmosphere with Mary’s family and friends cold. She tried to stay, but could sense the awkwardness vowing to keep a permanent distance.
Was the baby shower about Sasha or Mary?
ACT 2 Does It Taste Good?
Patrice and Candace were growing as friends. Patrice had a lovely side business as caterer, and Candace was known to do special events around the city. They met at a special event that Patrice was hosting to introduce her business to the community. They seemed to get along well in the beginning. Candace needed a caterer for an upcoming event that she was asked to host. She new it was out of budget for the non-profit organization, and she was looking for affordable alternatives. She shared with Patrice her dilemma. Patrice “willingly” voleentered her service, and said she would do it for no charge. The ladies went to pick up some of the items together in sharing a “bonding” moment. Candace saw later a big shift in the relationship with Patrice shortly afterwards. Patrice started to throw sharp jabs when they would meet. Their meetings would be focused on Patrice bible beating,”hints” of being used and taking advantage of, and throwing shade at Candance’s personality flaws. Candace feeling the tension after a recent visit with Patrice felt like she was walking on egg-shells. She liked Patrice, and wanted to make the friendship work not wanting the incident to come between them. Candace reimbursed her friend for her “kind gesture of giving back” to the young people for the non-profit. However, Patrice “claimed ” that she didn’t have to pay her back. She claimed the payment was to much , but Patrice just wanted to be fair as best she could to stop the tension. However, the friendship ended on a sour note after many more incidents of Patrice’s” bait and switch” antics of “giving” though guilt.
Candance found herself in an unhealthy cycle of a toxic friendship that had the facade of being giving, supportive, and at times inviting. However, the friendship was centered on control, manipulation, gulit, and shame.
ACT 3 Just Being Of Service
Keisha was a new rising member at a large church. She really wanted to grow in showing the other leaders in administration how well she qualified to be a trusted, devoted, and a concerned missionary in discipleship for her church. Keisha invited Jessica a mutual acquaintance to the church to visit. Jessica became well liked with her bubbly personality at the church attending regularly with her family. Keisha and Jessica later served together in the pantry. Jessica’s mother fell ill, and went into a coma. Keisha becoming a bit jealous and insecure about her position in leadership since Jessica’s growth within the ministry thought it was a great time to show how she was a good “caring” leader. Jessica still new, kept the situation about her mother intimate. Keisha decided to tell the food pantry staff, the pastor, and the women in her bible study group. Keisha was intense in calling Jessica to see if she could come to the hospital. Jessica reluctantly agreed. The next day Keisha came with the pastor to visit. The following week Keisha brought food to Jessica’s home for the family timed to perfection as when the leader of her bible study group would arrive as well to see her in action. Jessica’s mom got better, but still had her days. Keisha made sure to make those in her department aware of Jessica’s struggles. She grew to be seen as a very trusted, caring, and compassionate member. She grew in leadership quickly. Unbeknownst to the other members Keisha would oftentimes bring up to to Jessica the times she helped her. She would later throw Jessica under the bus any chance she got to tarnish her reputation amongst the other leaders in being ungrateful, a wreakloose, diffcult, and unstable in being a trusted leader. She eventually ran Jessica away which was the plan all along to secure her position as one of the church leaders.
Keisha gained the respect, admiration amongst her peers, and grew in leadership. But at what cost?
Act 4 The Good Mom
Michelle is a devoted wife and mother. She does all that she can to take care of her family and their home. She also makes sure everyone knows it. When she is frustrated she yells what everyone else doesn’t do in the home, but how she makes the ultimate sacrifice to care for them. She brings up how much time it takes her to do each task such as cooking, cleaning, and braiding her daughters’ hair. She brings up in arguments with her spouse how his efforts will never match hers. She makes sure her children know the price of every item of clothing, accessories, and meal they eat. Michelle has very few friends, and when a friend reaches out to connect she goes down the long list of home responsibilities that hinders her in connecting. Michelle has a beautiful, clean, and from the outside a loving home. However, Michelle alienates her family and loved ones through making sure they know” how important ” she is along with her role.
Depending on the dynamics of our families and the roles we play it can be a challenging balancing act. It takes a lot of work to manage a home, share time equally, and follow through with family responsibilities. It is easy to feel taking for granted. Our focus shouldn’t be to guilt our family into loving us, but to live as the woman in Proverbs 31:10-31 to create an atmosphere of love.
We are living disciples of Christ in all we do and in every relationship there’s an opportunity to bare witness of God’s love. I have had my moments of being a martyr in past for which I do my best to check myself consciously in not making the decision to do in any of my actions. I had to repeant to God in doing so. Giving of ourselves through service is a double sided blessing for the recipient and the giver. Being of service in any role should be considered selflessness and not selfish. Be in clean heart and mind in every role and oppounitiy you have to give of yourself.
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