One of the big theories behind personality, is something called attachment: how well as babies we do or don’t relate to our mums. It’s argued that boys who attach insecurely to their mums will either avoid them or refuse to trust them. Girls however go to the opposite extreme. Instead of moving away from their mothers, even when the mums are angry or distant or depressed, they move towards them. They see it as their job to comfort them and to make things better.This can set up a style of relating where as adults, they feel most comfortable round those who are angry or distant or depressed. Someone who reminds them of their mum: and someone they can ‘fix’.
I’m not sure I go along with this. My mum’s a beaut – but I’m still a fixer. I hate seeing others unhappy: more than this, I sometimes take it personally. But that’s the thing: real service isn’t about me. It’s about you. There’s a big difference between wanting to help and needing to be needed; pointing people to myself and pointing them to Christ. So who am I serving: them – or me?
Jesus doesn’t need us. He loves us and He wants us and He uses us – but it’s not the same thing. Instead of us serving Him, He comes to serve us. And as we seek to follow Him, we do it from a place of fullness, not of need.
Here’s some questions that might reveal our true motives:
When I serve others, am I upset if they don’t thank me?
Is my ‘help’ sometimes more exasperating than loving?
To what extent is my self-esteem related to being a ‘helper’?
After serving people do I find myself wondering how they now feel – or how they now feel about me?