savior complex

Hello Friends!

On this beautiful, brisk Thursday morning, I am thankful for ongoing insights helping me stay in my own lane and refrain from “savior complex” tendencies.

Do you ever feel compelled to fix something for someone else? Do you believe you know what is best and if they would just do as you say, their life would be so much better?  Do you feel driven to step in and make things “right”? Do you ever see a precious soul suffering and want to swoop in to rescue them from their agony?

Well intentioned people, with huge golden hearts, often step out of their lane and into other people’s business as they “play the savior”.  Is this something you struggle with? 

“Playing the savior” happens when you believe you know what’s best for another person and you jump in and “save” them over and over again. The inherent problem with saving is we rob the person of their lessons. Actions have consequences.  Rescuing others from the natural consequences of their actions inhibits growth and delays learning.

Often there is a threshold of pain that must be reached in order for real permanent change and transformation to actually, genuinely take place.  Others have to choose, of their own volition, to pivot.  It is their journey that gives them the experiences necessary for their growth. When we rescue, it can actually prolong the suffering.  When we soften the blow of the natural consequences of another’s actions, this allows the other person to continue the sabotaging behaviors. Saving them from pain can interfere with God’s plans for their growth because they don’t ever cross the threshold of pain necessary for the change  to truly becomes their choice.  Giving in to our “savior complex”, though well-intentioned, enables the sabotaging practices of the loved one to continue, which keeps them stuck and suffering.

I have a powerful question for you to ponder, “Is helping others ALWAYS the right thing to do?”

Absolutely do NOT abandon people when it gets hard.  It is not right to use “tough love” as an excuse to not engage.  But, do consider why you want to swoop in and fix it.  What are you making their actions mean about you? Are you trying to manipulate their thoughts, feelings, and actions or coerce them into thinking, feeling or acting differently?  Agency is in play and what others think, feel, and do is their business.  We can offer, hold space, tarry with them but there is only 1 savior, and that is Jesus Christ.  

My challenge to you, when you feel the tendency to save, is to check in with your heart and with God. Ask what would TRULY serve your suffering loved one.  Cory Muscara put it beautifully, 

“Sometimes the most compassionate thing you can do for another person is let another struggle.  This doesn’t mean you don’t care.  It just means you’ve reached the limit of what you can offer, and that this person needs to walk their own journey.”  

Is it possible God is at work here orchestrating a series of events that will push your loved one over the threshold of pain and create the powerful impetus for significant life change?  Is it possible your actions are enabling the sabotaging behaviors to continue?  

One thing I solidly know- we are here to help each other and to “be our brother’s keeper”.  We absolutely can NOT do this life alone.  Together we rise.  That being said, we are not in charge of how the journey of our kids or loved ones goes. We can not control how their journey turns out.  We can walk with them on their journey, but we can not course correct for them.  We can hold their hand through the treacherous terrain but we can not protect them from pain.  

The compassion it takes to watch another fall, without robbing them of their lessons, is often the hardest compassion of all, especially when it is a loved one.  Sometimes it takes a dark night of the soul for hard core, true transformation.

What are your thoughts on serving vs saving?  I’d love to discuss.

If you’d like help understanding your part to play and how to stay in your own lane while offering love, acceptance and support, reach out.  It can get tricky given the context of your specific situation, boundaries and needs.  Help is available. One-on-one coaching is a powerful tool and often results in mind-blowing insights.


Genuinely yours,

Candice Noss


My podcast launched on Monday!!  Listen to it by clicking here. The first 30 days of a podcast are critical for it to be discoverable in searches.  Please help me spread my influence by giving my “Designed for Greatness” podcast a rating/review, by subscribing to it and by sharing it with others.  This is a huge milestone for me and I appreciate you helping my dreams come true. 🙂

Together we RISE!!

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