(This is your weekly Theological Thursday post but – on a FRIDAY!)
What is the Enneagram?? It’s one of a vast number of personality systems and ways of seeing ourselves.
Ann Bogel has a great book called Reading People with a chapter on the biggest of the tests and how each is beneficial and complements the other.
Confession: I listened to it as an audiobook and I think I would’ve preferred to be able to skip to the chapters that interested me – to use it more as a reference tool.
Anyway, the Enneagram is not the kind of Facebook test you can take quick and easy and know your most intricate thoughts just like that. Much has been written (especially in Ann’s book) about knowing yourself well BEFORE you try to “type” yourself. Premature attempts will get it wrong every time.
I want this post to be a short-ish glimpse into my experience in learning to understand what it means to be a 6. This is a continuing process that we are on never static past-tense but once we have the direction, it’s mostly a maturity issue.
There are 9 numbers. I’ve linked each description from the Enneagram Institute as they have very detailed descriptions, though some of the numbers are labeled differently.
Type 1 – The Perfectionist Type 2 – The Helper Type 3 – The Performer
Type 4 – The Romantic Type 5 – The Investigator Type 6 – The Loyalist
Type 7 – The Enthusiast Type 8 – The Challenger Type 9 – The Peacemaker
Ian Cron wrote The Road Back to you and has a great free test to take on his website. I’ve been working through his book and study guide and found them very helpful!
When I first read through each description, I favored #4. I thought it suited me exactly, I’m creative and rather moody. But it was through taking the test and be gut-awful-honest with myself that I realized I was, in fact, a 6. A very fearful and worried 6.
Some people talk about how the birds sang for the first time and the sky was bluer and the sun was more sunny when they discovered their true selves.
But what actually happens is this: you want to hide. You are shocked someone wrote those words and could know that about you when you don’t dare admit those things to yourself. It’s awful and freeing and curious to know your number.
What I appreciate the most about the Enneagram is the deeply spiritual side to knowing ourselves. When we know who God has made us to be, we can better know God.
Each one of us has a passion/sin deeply rooted to our number. For example, a 6’s motivation is security and their “deadly sin” is fear. Uncertainty shakes me to my core. I want to count on things and know what’s going to happen. I have a billion thoughts going through my head about worst case scenarios – which I might add did not help me as a first-time mom. Most of my life I’ve put up strict boundaries so I could control each and every part of my life to unconsciously reduce fear. But that doesn’t decrease fear – it just builds walls to trusting others. This was the major lightswitch in knowing that I was a 6.
You know how I always say “everything is theological”?? Well, I’m preaching to myself. I shout to my fear that what I believe about God matters in that crazy “what if??” scenario my brain just came up with. It doesn’t always take away the fear, but at the very least it tells my emotions to “shut up and follow!”
WHY? This is often a question my Type 1 husband asks. Why is this necessary? I know you and does this really matter?! Well, yes. Yes it does. It matters because God doesn’t make mistakes. He created us to have relationship with Him and each other. This is one way we can go deeper in both.
Feel free to ask questions… I’m on this journey too!
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