Redemption of a People Pleaser

Our family has always found it interesting to study and observe personality/temperament types . I think the very first book I read on the subject was a 1980’s era book by Florence Littauer titled Personality Plus with the subtitle, “How to understand others by understanding yourself”. It included tests you could take to determine your own temperament. They offer these same tests on the Internet now, you don’t even have to purchase the book. The book , however, offers helpful perspective on “dealing” with other temperament types. This information is so critical that if you are married or planning on getting married Florence followed up with a subsequent book titled…you got it … .. Personality Plus for Couples! Heck, everyone knows the old saying “Opposites attract!”, that is until the opposites get married, then attract somehow morph’s into attack!

Geez, how was I suppose to know those things I loved about Charles had another characteristic attached to them that I would find annoying! And if that wasn’t shocking and challenging enough, when we got together we started reproducing a family of temperaments before we even had a handle on how to deal with our own. It was if God Almighty wanted to clarify our sinfulness and selfishness by pairing us with someone (only He knew that would be any human being) that would bring to the surface every weakness, flaw, and chink in our false armor. Then to make sure we understood our utter depravity , He let us reproduce our marred selves, clothed in irresistible, delightful innocence (until the age of two) called “OFFSPRING”. What do you think the etymology of that word is? Actually, just to be accurate it started off as a reference to the plant world, as in “off shoot” and “spring” the season for planting. But…..well, I’ll let you come to your own conclusions regarding the human species. Just saying, we are all a little “off”. Thus, a subsequent book of Florence’s titled, Personality Plus for Parents.

In has indeed been quite interesting dissecting the many aspects of my temperament, but of course, the real fun is categorizing everyone else’s and thinking that your own has overall the most positive characteristics! Or is that just me? After all, I’m predominately a sanguine and they are known for being positive , happy go lucky, adaptable, forgiving, sociable and refreshing! Come on….who wouldn’t want to be me?…I mean “sanguine”? 😜😊☺ On the other hand, eek! A sanguine’s weak aspects to mention a few are the following: weak-willed, egotistical, gullible, shallow, not focused, self absorbed, manipulative (Not ME!) and as mentioned in the above post title- a people pleaser!

I’ve always struggled with the label, “people pleaser”, although I’ve used it to describe myself many times. I confess , I feel good when people are happy with me. Therein lies the problem with the label. I FEEL good when people are happy with me. And though that normally requires cooperating with them to gain their favor, the end game is me feeling good! So ultimately I’m a ME pleaser.

As a Christian, this is bad news! Christ said, “If any man come to me, he must deny himself.” (Luke 9:23) Also, he must die to self. (Romans 6:11) Clearly, the sanguine who is self absorbed and a self pleaser by nature is going to have to suffer a quick martyrs death if ever he or she hopes to glorify God with their life. The temperament odds are just stacked against us! Criminy! I live in the U.S.A. , the odds of that happening are remote. Not to mention, the equation of weak willed & shallow= coward and I’d renounce my faith! You see my dilemma! I want to love Jesus and He said the best way to love Him is to love people, truly love them.

Now, don’t go feeling smug if your temperament is choleric. Sure, you are typically a leader, positive, a worker (James of James2:14, would be pleased.), you thrive on a challenge. Good for you! But you also tend to be hot tempered, self sufficient, insensitive, and prideful.

Then there’s the dependable, efficient, calm and patient phlegmatic. Surely, if ever a temperament was made for true discipleship, this is it! But….they hate confrontation, thus they compromise. They can be indecisive, lazy, and underachievers. Ouch! Get thee behind me!

Lastly, there is our melancholy! Gosh, even the name of this temperament sounds depressing! Hang on though, these types have substance. They are deep thinking, thoughtful, sensitive, tender, goal-oriented and faithful!
The stuff true followers are made of! Whoa now, before we appoint them as missionaries or Mother Theresa types, they can be a little on the vengeful side, yikes! Also, pessimistic, critical, over analytical, depressive, impractical and insecure.

So how in Heaven’s name, can any of our flawed, messed up, corrupted, by nature (we haven’t even addressed the effect of nurture, for crying out loud) personalities be redeemed? JESUS! JESUS! JESUS! Minute by minute, day by day, awareness and surrender.

Be aware of your temperament. No one is 100% one type. Get a sense of your dominate one and its characteristic strengths and weaknesses. Pray to Jesus about it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Appreciate the differences in temperaments represented in your family and friends. Acknowledge, no one is the perfect blend. And when you get discouraged, as any type will do, thank God because He declared in His Word through David that we “are fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Then, if you are a sanguine, like me, you will think of a single guy that might be lonely on a Saturday night and on that same Saturday morning (sanguine…not a planner) you will encourage your husband to call him up and invite him to dinner. Then in a few minutes you will smile, because it will dawn on you that Jesus has redeemed your people pleasing self to sacrifice time and effort because HE prompted you to love in His name!

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About whitehousesouth

I am a Christian by God's mercy and grace. I am a wife, mom and nana to ten beautiful grandchildren. I want to reveal the love of Christ to everyone I meet.
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