Helper. Befriender. Pride. That is how my personality is described according to the Enneagram.
Two summers ago I stepped into the Enneagram for the first time and read Ian Morgan Cron’s The Road Back To You in one day at the beach. And that launched me on a journey of learning more about God, how He wired me, how to care for others more uniquely and my weaknesses.
The Holy Spirit helped me understand many things about my personality, why I operate as I do, how I serve God’s Kingdom well like: being a go-getter, caring deeply for people, discerning their needs and feelings, finding a lot of identity in relationships and being naturally optimistic, helpful and encouraging.
But He also revealed many unhealthy aspects of my personality, like believing it’s my job to help everyone all the time or burying my own needs in order to meet someone else’s or believing I’m loved because of what I do / am for others. Sandra Maitri observes, “our pride rests upon valuing ourselves and investing energy into how we would like to see ourselves—our idealized self-image—rather than perceiving ourselves directly, as we really are.”
No human being can carry the mantle of perfectly being what other people need — only Jesus. It takes humility to see my faults and inabilities and gaps and agree with what God says is true. To find identity in anything other than Christ invites a self-criticism and self-inflation that makes genuine peace feel impossible. God calls me to love people as I love myself, not to define myself by them. Who I am for others can’t be more important than who I am before God. What I do for others can’t be more important than how I obey and follow God.
Jesus is everything, for His people, at all times. He is my value, my best choice, my greatest love, my life. I can bring all of me — the order and the mess, the strength and the struggle — all the time, all for Him.
Beatrice Chestnut says humility “is a way of being that is free of the attachment to be better than you really are in order to know that you have value.”
Humility is looking to God first when I’m feeling vulnerable instead of turning inward or looking to others for the answer. This is also what spiritual maturity looks like for me: seeing myself honestly, listening first for God’s word on a matter and letting that truth inform my feelings and actions.
Noticing pride and practicing humility teaches me to see myself through the lens of the gospel. Pride says ‘others are a mirror for your worth and direction.’ Humility says ‘receive the love of Jesus and live like Him.’ Pride says ‘you have to be enough for this.’ Humility says ‘Jesus is enough for this situation, this person, tell them about Him.’ Pride says ‘be better; do more.’ Humility says ‘Surrender and rest.’
Sometimes we look at our habits or tendencies and believe there is no way we could change. But HALLELUJAH, by the power and grace of God, we can. If we can be honest with Him and ourselves, He can take what is fractured and make it whole.