Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be”…1 Pet 5:2


Mercy, compassion, and selfless love are all behaviors and qualities that are praised in the bible and these are the qualities that care-givers possess. Care-givers are very gracious at helping and taking care of others. They sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others. However, when this gift is improperly nurtured, it can turn into the negative  identity of a martyr. Webster’s defines a martyr as, “a person who pretends to suffer or who exaggerates suffering in order to get praise or sympathy.”

Care-giver’s Strengths:

  • selfless
  • giving
  • caring
  • nurturing
  • have a natural desire to want to help other people
  • feel good when taking care of others

Misapplication of the gift: Martyr

  • feel isolated or trapped in homes caring for others
  • give most of their free time to helping others
  • take responsibility for other people’s lives (children, parent, sick, friend) but often neglect their own
  • will put other people’s needs before their own
  • feel like a victim
  • will not directly ask for what they want
  • need to be needed
  • find it difficult to make time for themselves
  • feel guilty when they’re not doing something for someone else
  • feel uncomfortable receiving help from other people
  • often complain, moan, talk about their problems or situation
  • will not seek professional help or invest time or money in themselves

Root Causes:

  • feeling of worthlessness—being of no value to anyone
  • not feeling valued
  • feeling powerless

Limiting Beliefs:

  • my needs are secondary
  • sacrifice is important
  • if I’m not helping other people, I’m not worthy of love


  • it is better to give than to receive
  • suffering makes me feel needed and wanted
  • my life is the way it is because I’m too busy looking after everyone else
  • I am powerless

Indirect Effect on Health/Feelings of Discontent:

  • feel guilty for feeling trapped
  • fear of being labeled as selfish
  • overwhelmed from doing so much
  • lack of control over their own life

Direct Effect on Health:

  • Martyrs often suffer from health problems because they have no time to take care of themselves
  • they often have no energy to exercise because of their  care-giving responsibilities
  • eat emotionally to combat the stress of taking care of a loved one

Effect on Relationship with God

Martyrs have a distorted view of God that can actually be one of two extremes. They either believe that all of their hardships is a retribution for their sin or conversely that suffering will earn them favor with God. Either view prevents them from have a healthy, loving relationship with God that is not based on performance or worthiness. Caregivers can also be bitter towards God because of the hardships they have to endure.

Reset for the Care-giver/Server-Martyr

Area to Focus: Focus on God’s sovereignty, love and acceptance of you

1. Morning Prayers:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~ James 1:2-4

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope”- Jeremiah 29:11

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”~Philippians  4: 13

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”~ Matthew 11:28

2. Phrases/declarations to recite

• I deserve to take care of myself

• I am loved lavishly by God

• I choose to live in the solution and not the problem

• I am responsible for my life

3. Renew your mind

Lord, I thank you that you paid the ultimate sacrifice for me. I am worthy and free to live the life you designed for me to live.

4. Re-education of who I am

• I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7)

• I am not helpless (Philippians 4:13)

• I am blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3)

• I am forgiven (Ephesians 1:8; Colossians 1:14)

• I have purpose (Ephesians 1:9 & 3:11)

• I can be kind and compassionate to others (Ephesians 4:32)

5. Long term strategies

• develop other interests, hobbies

• practice effective communication skills (saying no)

• practice setting boundaries

• learn to take responsibility

• practice self care- treat yourself, pamper yourself

6. Mindset shifts

If your taking care of others more than yourself then you’re not truly loving them. You’re being selfish