Be like Jesus. Disappoint people.

Jesus disappointed people.

That thought is so blowing my mind right now. Somehow I’ve gotten to the place where I think to be like Christ, I can’t disappoint anyone. Like part of being a “good Christian” is making sure they are not disappointed in me.

The reality is that people often felt disappointed with Jesus – what he did, what decisions he made, what he said. 

His disciples were disappointed when he wouldn’t take sides in their disagreements. The church leaders were disappointed when Jesus ate and hung out with tax collectors. People were disappointed whenever he left a place before everyone had been healed. Mary and Martha were disappointed when he showed up two days after Lazarus had died. And the list goes on and on.

Jesus was okay with disappointing people.

As a 2 on the Enneagram, this concept is so completely outside of my realm of understanding. And although I know there’s an immense amount of freedom to be found in it, it is one of the most difficult paths of growth for me.

I hate when someone is not happy with me. I feel a bit sick when someone feels disappointed in me. As an unhealthy 2, my entire focus has been on managing the perception people have of me. Doing everything I can to influence how they feel about me.

This is how I’ve lived most of my 42 years. It’s exhausting.

So as I move toward a place of health, obviously I need to learn to let go of my death grip on controlling people’s feelings about me. I need to learn to be okay with being the cause of someone’s negative emotion.

But how do I get okay with disappointing people?

1. Internalize the truth that how someone else feels is not my responsibility.

Okay that sentence is easy to write. Living it out is a whole other thing. This is Life 101 for me.

One of the characteristics of codependency is “an excessive reliance on other people for approval and a sense of identity.” If I am always looking to other people to find my worth, I will never be okay with their disappointment.

If I’m being honest, I have lived my life in a state of codependence with the world at large. I have allowed myself to take on the responsibility of managing people’s feelings about me. I’ve oriented my life around trying to cause the least amount of disappointment possible.

I need to internalize the reality that my worth is wholly unaffected by whether someone is disappointed in me. That’s theirs to deal with, not mine.

(Side note: The best book I’ve read on this topic is Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. I highly recommend it to anyone who struggles with codependency.)

2. Know and have confidence in my values and priorities.

Without a solid understanding of what matters to me, I cannot prioritize my life. I can’t make decisions that reflect who I am and what I care about. I have no matrix to guide my decision-making. No filter to sort out what truly matters to me and what I’m doing in order to not disappoint someone else.

Life tends toward over-busyness. Left unattended, my calendar will fill up and dictate my priorities. I need to be intentional about knowing my priorities and structuring my life and calendar to reflect those.

When I prioritize my life, I will inevitably disappoint people. That might be hard for me to accept but it’s the truth. I will be a disappointment. Sometimes it’s to people I deeply care about. My husband. My kids. My mom. My best friend. That doesn’t mean it’s the wrong decision. 

It just means my life is not centered on them.

3. Trust the Holy Spirit to guide me.

Because I’m new to this whole “being okay with disappointing people” thing, I don’t have a lot of confidence in myself and my ability to sort out what’s truly caring for others and what’s being driven by my lifelong desire not disappoint people.

How do I maintain my 2-ness — my innate drive to care for other people and their feelings — while maintaining a healthy detachment to their emotional state?

This is where the Holy Spirit comes in.

God created me this way. He knows what I struggle with. He also know what the best version of me looks like.

If I invite Him into this process – invite the Holy Spirit to be my guide – He will show me what a true healthy Becky looks like. My job is to learn to hear His voice and follow His leading.

When the Holy Spirit, who is truth, comes, he shall guide you into all truth, for he will not be presenting his own ideas, but will be passing on to you what he has heard. (John 16:13 TLB)

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