Are You a Project?

Many years ago, at my invitation, I had breakfast with another pastor.  Instead of pouring into him and enjoying his company, I used the time to whine about a church problem.  The man abruptly interrupted me mid-sentence and said, “I didn’t come here to listen to your problems. Frankly, I don’t want to hear about them.”  Then, he got up and left.  


Admittedly, I was embarrassed and my feelings were hurt.  Anger quickly followed. “Who does he think he is?” I thought.  “What an arrogant, uncaring pastor.”


Was the man rude?  Yes. Did his approach leave something to be desired?  Absolutely! But out of that emotionally painful experience the Lord showed me that I had become a “project.”  I was all too willing to tell anyone who would listen about my woes. I was not enjoyable to be around because I allowed my personal hurts to define me.  I wasn’t interested in changing my outlook or moving past my pain. In this particular case, I was seeking the wrong kind of attention, unwilling to learn from his response, no matter how unkind.  


Nobody needs a “project.”  Why? Because nothing ever changes with some people. They get stuck.  They spin their wheels in the deep ruts of their past. They seek out those willing to validate their pain.  “Projects” become broken records that fixate on the same things. They never change, nor do they want to. They are the same today as they were three years ago!  Pain and on-going drama become their “normal.”


What do “project people” look like?  What are their characteristics?


They are totally self-centered.  Everything is about their pain.
They seldom, if ever, ask about others.
They tell the same stories over and over, refusing to walk in forgiveness.
They usually become social misfits, unable to make or keep friends.
They leave a trail of broken relationships behind them, often including family members.
They become unattached to the needs of others and easily angered when others try to redirect them.  
They despise healthy social boundaries.
 They become unteachable.
 Finally, they spend their lives playing the victim.


How do we address “project people?”  Sadly, many times these individuals cannot be helped until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.


“Projects” gravitate toward sympathetic listening ears.  Once…twice…three times, maybe; then an on-going “project” has to be lovingly confronted.  Often, “projects” move toward flight instead of being willing to honestly confront their deeper issues.


We are followers of Christ, who of course, should love everyone.  Sometimes, however, tough love is needed to effect life change. Until  “projects” are willing to make the necessary adjustments in their thinking patterns and actions, they remain time wasters.  


Remember, everyone is precious to God and possesses divinely given potential.  Some, however, refuse to improve the quality of their present, by allowing their past to enslave them.   


Do you know someone you view as a “project?”  Refuse to live in guilt when you have to call them to task. At times we offer the wrong kind of help that only perpetuates already negatively-established patterns. We are called upon to teach “project people” how to plant wheat instead of always giving them bread. 


Open, honest, and loving confrontation may drive them away temporarily, but in the long run, our prayer is that these “projects” seek life change that rebuilds their credibility and integrity.



Related Articles

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *