RECENTLY DAN CRAIN HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF SPEAKING AT DESIRE STREET’S “THRIVING LEADERS SERIES” HTTP://WWW.DESIRESTREET.ORG/PARTNERS/THRIVING-LEADERS-SERIES/ ON A TOPIC CALLED THE “UNDERBELLY OF SERVICE: WHY THE FALSE SELF PLAGUES SO MANY MINISTRIES.”
WATCH THE PRESENTATION HERE: HTTPS://VIMEO.COM/219781733
THIS IS A BLOG SERIES BASED ON THE CONTENT HE PRESENTED AT THIS WORKSHOP. WE HOPE YOU FIND IT BENEFICIAL AS YOU LEARN TO SERVE THOSE ON THE MARGINS WELL! YOU CAN REACH DAN AT DAN@REMERGE.ORG OR ON FACEBOOK AT DAN CRAIN – FACEBOOK.
“Codependence has many faces, but at its core it is a futile attempt to extract love from other people. And it is exhausting. What is often missing is the core belief you are already deserving of love yourself and that you already possess the love of God.” (Dignity Serves, v. 5: Phil Hissom)
The younger son had it all in Luke 15. He came from a wealthy Jewish family and loving dad. Sure, his older brother was a bit of a people pleaser staying home and doing all the right things that his dad wanted him to.
But, staying home wasn’t good enough. He had to go off and do his own thing and so he did and we all know what happened, he spends all his money, parties hard, sleeps around and eventually ends up eating the pods that the pigs were eating because he was so hungry. As a Jewish man he has completely desecrated everything that means to be Jewish.
He then decides to return home to the father and become a servant to try and fix all the wrongs. It’s important to note the motive of why the younger son returns home. He does not return home to become a son, he is returning home to become a servant!
This is what he says when he decides to return, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and earth, I am not worthy to be called your son, make me like one of your servants.” He has such shame and a deep self-hatred at what he had done to his father that his thought pattern is, let me work to earn back what I’ve done. But when he comes home the father interrupts this progression of shame and tells his servants to go and put on a party for him.
That phrase, “I am not worthy to be called your son” is so intriguing. He is coming home to be a servant because he does not think he’s worthy of being the son because of what he has done. In many ways he is going to try and work his way back into being a son.
Can you imagine the scene where the younger son is standing there watching the father’s servants put a party on for him. Putting myself in the story I would imagine I would have a huge amount of shame from all of the work being done for me while I am doing nothing. I would probably be saying to myself, “don’t you know what I’ve done out in the wilderness? I really don’t deserve and am not worthy of you doing all of these nice things for me.”
I think there’s parallels to this story and the way we fail to live out dignified interdependent relationships, particularly with those on the margins. The key concept of living out dignified interdepednet relationships is that we give and receive freely with Christ and others around us. We not only give, but we also receive.
As I began to press into this idea of giving and receiving in Christian ministry and in my own heart I knew instinctively that giving felt really good, but receiving or asking for help always felt weird. I wasn’t sure why and then through the Spirits leading I began to uncover it. If I am honest with myself I really don’t believe that I am worth being served.
If we’re honest with ourselves there’s a deep shame we carry in our inner world that feels like we need to work to get whatever is there in life or be in a constant state of control when we serve.
Think about this, how many times do we react to someone when they offer us something beautiful by saying, “Oh, I don’t want to put you out.” or “You don’t have to do that for me.”
Why is it that we have to stay in a constant state of being in control in relationships? I believe because we don’t believe that we are worth whatever someone wants to give us.
Receiving means we become vulnerable as Judy Cannoto says; “Receiving love brings us to a place of vulnerability. That is why it is so difficult. So often we live in the illusion that it is much easier to love than to be loved. We may think we can exercise a bit of control in loving another, but there is no control in being loved. The ones who truly love us walk into our hearts, often unnoticed, unannounced, and then reveal to us how genuinely loveable we are. And nothing feels more vulnerable than that.”
Unlike my family of origin, which says you are good if you produce good things the gospel says, you are already good and worth whatever Christ wants to give you. So, we don’t have to try and extract love from other people because we are secure in Christ as his beloved child and we are worth being served! In Christ we are already good, pure, beloved, clean and holy and we are already deserving of love.
So, when loving and serving those on the margins, learn to ask for help from those you are serving. Learn to ask for help from them. Learn to let their thoughts and opinions guide you.
Bob Lupton says this about serving those on the margins an power; “There is a danger inherent with those who serve. Those who serve with good motives are often still the ones in charge. They hold the power. Power is not bad in and of itself, but it can become dangerous when it is not used properly. Rather than taking the time to get to know someone and truly understanding their real felt needs, there is the temptation to give them what we think they need. ”
Joining lives with those on the margins means we are constantly giving up power because we don’t need to be in control all of the time because we are the beloved children of God and worthy of receiving help.
Who are you asking for help from?
What person that is on the margins is informing the way you make decisions?
What friend that is living on the margins is impacting your life personally?