Last week an old friend drove me to a party.
We waited in line for a buffet dinner and a couple friends were passing out chips and salsa to us as we slowly inched our way towards the food. They came to me, happy with party energy and said something along the lines of "We want people to take a plate and have some chips and salsa. Chelsea, show them how it's done!" I didn't want any salsa and really didn't want chips. I said so and then the next thing I knew, I was holding a plate of a few chips and some salsa. I didn't eat it. I didn't want it. But I had dished up because I wanted to help them.
This is a very small illustration of a common action.
My friend drove me home and I mentioned the curiosity of my behavior.
"So...do you think you have a Savior Complex?" She asked
"No - it was just chips!" I laughed, "I don't think I'm going to, like, eternally SAVE someone. I just want to help. I want to use my talents and abilities to help others feel better, live better, be better, be happier. It's pretty normal."
She nodded, taking me at my word. She dropped me off and I went to bed.
The next day I was grumpy. I just couldn't seem to shake it. The next day my feelings and behavior were even worse. I tried music, I tried service, I wrote in my journal and I sang, I tried "going outside myself" and it just made me upset until I was honestly furious.
I finally put on my husband's boots, took his keys and said, "I'm going to the Field."
It was dark, it was snowing, but it wasn't that cold. I wore a light coat and a scarf as I found a snowy, muddy field not too far from our house and with a pen light walked my way out as far as I could before the mud tried to swallow my shoes.
I took a deep breath and threw a sizable tantrum. Screaming, cussing, crying, you know the drill. Tantrum.
I can't even tell you what I ranted and screamed about, because I left it in that field and I don't remember it now.
But there is something I do remember ...
There was a moment when I was complaining/shouting that I was exhausted. I was so tired of trying to do everything and be everything for everyone. Furious that somehow it was my job to keep my energy up, keep my mood up, to power up my family.
"I have to be a source of light and love for my family!" I complained.
And then these words came to me, clear as day:
"But Chelsea, I AM the Source."
All these pieces clicked together in my head:
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the : he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the of life. - John 8:12
"I want to be a messenger, a conduit; clean myself out so the good stuff can come through faster." - Kirk Duncan
"Don't dump your cup." - Ann Washburn
"I want to be a window to His love, so you can look through me and you'll see Him.
And some day shining through my face, you'll see His loving countenance,'cause I will have become like He is" - Julie De Azevedo
"Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do." - 3 Nephi 18:24
"You will reflect to others the Light of Christ in your life." - Henry Eyring
"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." - John 7:38
I DID have a type of Savior complex: I thought I had to be the source of goodness, light, energy, and love. I thought I had to be like:
But the truth is more like this:
Of course! No wonder I was so tired ...
Embarrassed, humbled, relieved and answered, I started laughing. Tears still on my face, I laughed and laughed.
I laughed for probably a full five minutes. I kept thinking the laughter was over, but no; it kept going. It was that funny.
I'm serious, those of you know who know my laugh, can you imagine how insane that must have sounded if anyone could hear me? My stomach hurt for two days afterwards.
It was wonderful.
I am fascinated to see where this learning takes me as I allow Jesus to love me. You read that right: as I allow Jesus to love me. Because He has lots of love and to spare. If I let Him, He'll love the garbage right out of me.
And then that love will spill out onto others, who - suddenly wondering what that is - will turn to Him for more. That will be so awesome.