On Realizing That People-Pleasing Is Actually Pride

Since as far back as I can remember, I’ve declared my disdain for change. Steady, predictable things are my favorite. I say this. I believe it.

How then, do I find myself in the middle of some big changes that weren’t forced on me? These are changes I signed up for voluntarily.

Why does someone, who dislikes change, mix up her daily routine by sending her oldest child to school after 7 years of homeschool? Why, after writing hundreds of words about how I wanted to quit my church and how we decided to stay, am I finding myself saying, “goodbye” to our church home of 6 years?

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My life is questioning the words that were sincere at the time.

I’ve been asking myself some big questions. If I like being settled so much, what in the world am I doing? I have pages and pages of journaling about this. If you’re a writer, you might relate to this. Sometimes, I write a bunch of crap that won’t go anywhere because, in the middle of the crap, I find my pen writing something that teaches me something true about myself or the world.

That’s how I found myself writing this, just a few days ago: “I love being settled, but I’m not going to settle for less than what God is showing us is best for our family. I can’t “settle” just because my pride accuses me of being a liar or tells me people won’t understand.”

That’s the truest statement about how I ended up in this season of change.

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Pride has been a relentless liar. She’s tricky. She’s been smacking me around for too long.

Pride says, “If you do the right things and play by the rules outlined, you can control what people think of you.”

It’s profoundly untrue and ridiculously unhealthy.

For a long time, I didn’t see  it as pride. I called it “people-pleasing”. It sounds nicer.

I took the Enneagram personality test this spring and it opened my eyes to some of my weaknesses. If you’re into this sort of thing, you probably have already figured out my type. I’m a 2. This is what you need to know about 2’s:

At their best, 2’s are compassionate, empathetic and want to help others. Doesn’t that sound great? When they are unhealthy, they do all the serving and connecting and showing up to things because they feel like they need to do it to be loved and appreciated and seen as helpful. That’s not so great.

2’s are afraid of being unworthy and unloved.

So, last year, when it was clear the right thing for our oldest son was to no longer homeschool, I agonized too much about what message that might send. A month ago, when my husband and I started having serious conversations about our future at our church and realized the best thing was to move on, I almost talked us out of it because I was so afraid of disappointing people or being misinterpreted.

It was convicting to be struck with the realization that I was letting my concern over what other people thought of me overrule what God was clearly telling us.

I don’t have this all neatly wrapped up with a bow, but I do know there is a feeling of peace that comes with doing the right things for the right reasons.

4 thoughts on “On Realizing That People-Pleasing Is Actually Pride

  1. This is so great! Yes, pride is hidden well in people pleasing – even self-pleasing. God’s plan – we don’t ever understand it, but the biggest faith is putting it above everything else. =)

  2. Sigh. I *just* (like this week “just”) read an Enneagram book (The Road Back to You) and learned I am also a two. (2w1, if you’re curious, because I have the Enneagram newbie enthusiasm.) Pride is sneaky. And so am I… all that helping in exchange for love. 😐

    (Stopping by from h*w. <3 )

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