If you’ve talked to me in the past couple of months, you know my new obsession- the enneagram. If you’re not familiar with the enneagram, it’s one of those personality tests that describes your tendencies and how to navigate through situations in life. It helps you look introspectively to understand your motivations, and really how you perceive the world and others. After taking the test I learned that I’m a 2- “the helper.” At first, I was super excited because everyone loves a helper! Everyone loves the person that is able to give a helping hand and cares deeply. And as I learned more about it, I started to hate that same part of me that I had previously loved so much.
I’ve had to step back and see how much of my life has been driven by the desire to receive approval from those around me.
I’ve had to analyze my motivations for helping others.
I’ve had to restructure the way I view others and how I respond to the needs of those around me.
When others see me, a lot of times the things I hear include- “ohh, you’re so helpful and kind” or “you’re always the first one to help…” And I believed that was how I was supposed to be for so long. I believed that if those were affirmations I heard from others, I was living life right. But during this past season, I’ve learned how that it’s not just about what I can do for others, but really more about my intentions and the posture of my heart.
And it’s been a hard pill to swallow. It’s made me understand how much I can be effected when someone either does not need my help or when I’m not able to help someone I care about. I’ve become aware of the internal shift that occurs when I receive criticism. Ultimately, I’ve seen how I have a tendency to find my value in how much I can do for others, rather than in the Lord. And that’s NOT what God’s intention is for me.
But God still manages to graciously teach me, teach us- His sons and daughters so much, even when we don’t have it all together. And that’s exactly what He’s been doing in my heart.
I’ve had to accept that “we ALL fall short of the glory of God“ and this is why I NEED a Savior (Romans 3:23).
As I’ve realized more of how I cannot help everyone and how much I fall short, it’s amplified how much more I need a Savior. There’s no way that I, as a human, can meet the needs of all those around me, but how the Lord can. And this is why He graciously tells us to rely on Him, to seek Him before we seek others. He is the only One who can save, He is the only One who can satisfy, He is the only One who can meet all of our needs.
I’ve been reminded that “our love [has to] be sincere” (Romans 12).
As an enneagram 2, I’ve discovered that the need to want to help and support others acted upon from an unhealthy place can take the place of identity. When this happens, the love offered by me is not genuine, it’s from a place of wanting intrinsic fulfillment, which cannot be fulfilled by anything or anyone, but Jesus. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if I’m being “nice’ or “kind” if it’s not real. Not only can God see past the facades we put up, but people can tell whether or not we’re being sincere in our love. As followers of Jesus, when we live out love- real love, we’re living out Jesus. Because Jesus was and is sincere in the way that He loves. And aren’t we called to live our lives reflecting Jesus?
I’ve realized that “when we fall, we have freedom to respond seeking forgiveness, not expecting rejection.”
I have learned that at times, I come to the Lord the same way I approach people once I’ve messed up or fallen short- expecting rejection or condemnation. But that’s not the character of the God I serve! He wants us to approach Him like David did after he screwed up over and over. David sought the Lord, asking for Him to “create in [Him] a pure heart” (Psalm 51). If this was how David approached the Lord after Nathan had come to him for committing adultery with Bathsheba, we can come to the Lord seeking forgiveness and desiring a pure heart. David’s response was to seek the Lord because He was convicted of what he had done. He didn’t sit and wallow in his mistakes. He didn’t run away from the Lord. But instead he sought the Lord. This was the heart and character of David- a man after God’s own heart.
And we have the freedom to seek the Lord in the same way when we fall short. As humans, we fall short all the time- accept it and learn to walk in freedom because of His forgiveness.
As a result, I’ve had to kill the people pleaser in me. I’ve had to fight obligation. I’ve had to learn to actually walk in surrender. I’ve had to learn how to say no. And it feels like I die a little inside each time because it goes against how I’ve lived for the past 23 years.
You see, most of what we struggle with, the things we wrestle with root from a heart issue. We have to check our hearts and our intentions. I mean, that’s what the Lord does, right? God checks our hearts, our intentions, and the posture of our hearts.
As of this week, it’s been exactly a year since I started attending and serving at Shoreline City Church. And let me tell you, it has changed my life. From my Pastors, to my oversight, leaders, to the serve team of this House- they each have taught me what it looks like to serve from a place of authority, while walking in humility. They have taught me how I, as a 2, can be so helpful and resourceful, but also how important it is for me to have my eyes fixed on Jesus. I’ve learned how pride can uproot from feeling “needed” and how we’re called to fight this mindset. Even when it comes to serving, I have to constantly check my heart. God doesn’t have to use us specifically, but we get the privilege to play a role in His story.
This House has taught me that I am LOVED and VALUED simply for being me, not in what I can do. It’s been the greatest reflection, other than my parents, of the way Jesus loves me. How He values me more than what I can do. This House has BELIEVED in me more than myself- they have seen potential in me that I didn’t see and called it out. This House has changed my life. And all it took was a willing “yes” from me for God to completely wreck me in order to build me back up.
So to be real..we 2’s, (and really even if you’re not a 2, simply because we’re human), we have a tendency to unknowingly become prideful when we help and when we serve, but that’s not of the Lord. None of this is about us, it’s all about Him. Because at the end of it all, He is what it’s all about. That He alone may receive all the glory and others may also have the privilege to get to know Him.
So practically, what does this mean?