A while ago, I took an online personality test and the results were amazingly accurate. They showed that I'm an Introvert, Sensing, Feeling and Judging. (ISFJ) My personality was described as a protector or a defender. When I saw the results, I immediately thought, "Wow! That's me!" This is a personality trait that I've come to recognize.
I tend to have compassion for the underdog and I immediately want to rescue them from hurt. I hate to see anyone or anything abused which is why I try to promote online groups like "The Animal Rescue Site" and "Not One Sparrow" which focus on animal rights. This has also led to a passion to inform people about the damage caused by spiritual abuse. I've never been one to march and protest but I do share online about those issues that have become important to me.
Being a protector is a wonderful characteristic but, like all personality traits, it also has its downside. After many years of struggling with this, I'm finally beginning to accept the fact that I can't rescue everyone.
A number of years ago, I was involved in a spiritually abusive church. Even after I became aware of what was happening, I stayed and a large part of the reason why was because of my desire to rescue the pastor and to see him set free. Also, I wanted to protect the people from his abuse. I finally left but I felt guilty for many years feeling like I had failed God. I've since come to understand that I left because it was time. God had accomplished in me all that he wanted to accomplish and it was just time to leave.
Since I've become involved with online groups, I've once again seen this trait surface. Unless properly moderated, online groups tend to become extremely abusive. I was a member of two groups that became abusive and I finally had to terminate my membership. Even after I left, I would check in daily out of curiosity. Finally, in order to maintain my sanity, I had to drastically limit even that. I've found that I have to be extremely careful because seeing the abuse and feeling helpless to stop it is emotionally draining for me.
I stayed in both groups longer than I should have because I wanted to protect the other members. Worry and concern for their welfare was tearing me apart emotionally. Putting some distance between me and those abusive groups has helped me tremendously.
I’ve come to believe that it’s impossible to bypass leadership. They control all the cards and there’s nothing I can do to change them or the abusive system from the inside. The truth is each member is free to choose . . . they can stay or they can leave. It’s really up to them. I know people can be so emotionally beaten down that it’s hard to make decisions but ultimately, it’s up to them to take responsibility for their own rescue.
Because of my personality, I’m having to learn to put limits on myself. The bottom line is do I really trust God? Do I really believe that he loves them and will take care of them? While I can be a friend to some, I can’t rescue the world and the truth is that it's really God's responsibility and not mine.
“Do we trust God to take care of our friends. They have a spiritual journey they have to walk themselves, just them and God. We can't be expected to rescue everyone. By doing so, we may circumvent the very avenue that God will provide for their escape. Let God be God. Pray, have faith, rest and take comfort in His faithfulness.” (Pigs in the Pulpit – p.287)