*pic from my discussion group during the workshop
I’m the type that loves personality tests. Because I love knowing people and I love knowing how things work BUT I know not everyone is like that. You may be thinking to yourself: YESSS! I love these!! Or maybe, “UHGGG! don’t put me in a box.” The reason I get excited about Self-awareness in regards to the Enneagram is because its a massively valuable tool for living life, engaging with others and communing with the Lord. The enneagram charts 9 different gifts or characteristics we reflect of God’s character. Ennea is the greek meaning “nine” and gram meaning figure or drawing. The enneagram is a 9 pointed diagram.
—-If you haven’t taken the test, its okay. The test really helps with the “wings” which I’ll explain but the most helpful thing is to read the descriptions of each number and see which one most makes you squirm.
Self-awareness is important.
One way you can get to know who you are is by understanding how others view you.
My best friend Hannah is my favorite human being on earth, if I had to be single the rest of my life I would want to live wherever she is.
When we lived together overseas I would get dressed in the morning and I’d ask, “hey Hannah, does this look okay?” and without looking up or skipping a beat she’s say “No, you’re ugly.” Of course Hannah doesn’t actually think I’m ugly (I hope) but her opinion has always been of value to me, especially her honest opinion.
A few questions to ask yourself is:
What does your best friend say of you? What do your enemies say about you? (everyone has people in their life they don’t really care for. Thus, you are most likely that to someone else. What would one of those people say about you?)
When I think about dying, and showing up at the pearly gates my greatest desire is for God to look at me and say, “Sammy, Well done thy good and faithful servant.” Most days I feel unfaithful, and not good… Enough. I try so hard to fulfill this checklist that I put before myself and want the lord to look at me and not find fault. Scripture says that even my most righteous deed is a filthy rag, even the VERY best thing I could ever do is not enough. But Jesus was enough for me. He still is enough for me and He will always be my sufficiency.
**I do want to note this can be an emotional thing to learn**
You 8’s out there will especially cringe at this, so I want to let you know that
- Its okay to cry
- You may feel really exposed. That’s normal.
Sometimes I feel amazing. I feel like I’m finally good. I feel pretty. I feel kind or humble, like I’ve actually grown.
Sometimes I just want to curl up in a ball. Sometimes I feel so stupid, So wrong, So foolish, So mean, So embarrassing that the lord could never love ME.
I’m not worth it to him. He may love me but I definitely don’t think he likes me. That what I’ve told myself.
Who do you say you are?
The truth is, regardless of what society tells us…We can tell ourselves all kinds of things that are not true.
Paul reminds us in romans 12:3: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement.” (or clear judgment) Another way of putting that might be to say, “Be aware of yourself and see yourself exactly as you are.”
We are all made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27) but when we sinned everything changed. Matthew Henry in his commentary of Genesis three points out:
“ Adam and Eve saw the folly of eating forbidden fruit. They saw the happiness they had fallen from, and the misery they had fallen into. They saw a loving God provoked, his grace and favour forfeited, his likeness and image lost. ”
We have changed every part of our world because of sinning BUT there is hope in Christ. Because Jesus came back to restore to us what was lost. And when he left earth he gave us the Holy Spirit to continue to know him and be conformed to his image which will happen fully when we meet him face to face.
My goal is to help you understand that knowing yourself is a good thing and it’s a God-honoring thing. First I’m going to write about whose we are and what that means for us as individuals made in God’s image. And then how the Enneagram helps us to live in light of those things.
What do you think the lord would say of you right now? When He looks at you, what does He see? What do you think He sees?
Have you ever babysat for a kid who drew you a picture that you can’t even tell what it is and yet you respond, “Oh my gosh, I love it!” and you keep it up on your fridge because it was for you? Have you ever seen parents watching their child take steps for the first time? What happens when the kid falls.. The parents don’t yell, YOU ARE SO STUPID WHY CAN’T YOU GET IT RIGHT?!
No, they pick the child up and say “you are amazing.” They are so proud when the child finally takes a first step.
I’ve been walking with Jesus for almost 8 years now and I still struggle to see who jesus really says I am. But the more I know who He is, the more I really know who I am in Him.
In one of the books I’ve read, it describes the Enneagram is a tool “Full of wisdom for people who want to get out of their own way and become who they were created to be.”
I do want to mention that the Enneagram is not the bible however Its roots are from a spiritual background related to the 7 deadly sins (+ two) Romans 12:3 says “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement.” We don’t want to exalt ourselves over other people, nor do we want to belittle ourselves and think others are more valuable. We are all made in God’s image.
The Enneagram, like I said is a nine point diagram that has origins in the 15th century– it was primarily passed along orally and traditionally through the catholic church. Until the 20th century it was largely secret knowledge. In the 1970s, it started to become more public and widespread from Loyola’s seminary and an author named Richard Rohr. Rohr said learning the enneagram was the most spiritual experience he’s ever had in his life like scales fell from his eyes. Learned that he many times did the right thing but with false motives.
The enneagram is now taught from business perspectives, psychological perspectives and even non-religious secular perspectives. However the christian viewpoint is that its part of a spiritual journey. It’s about God’s gifts to us and our failure to express those gifts in love and then God’s gracious response to that failure.
The failure is self serving motivations–fixations that are compulsions, passions or as christians say “Sins” but God doesn’t leave us in that. The agenda of the false self is preservation. Our false selves are offended about every 3 minutes- very fragile. Where as our true self is not offended.
Each number are called by spaces or types–that reflect a gift or character of God that we image. Flip over the enneagram circle .
- God’s goodness
- His love
- His effectiveness
- What is beneficial about your number? What if no one reflected this characteristic of God?
- What is beneficial about this number in the body of christ?
We become obsessed with our gifts and cant live a day without them. The roadblock is when our gift becomes an idol and we are compulsive about how we think we should express that gift and how we think they should be received. Grace is what helps us loosen the grip of our compulsive thinking and enjoy our god given gift and the gifts of others. –the 9 spaces or types show us the different ways we see the world. The purpose in learning the enneagram is to recognize and align back to your true self and dis-identify with the parts of yourselves that have become purely self preservation.
How this plays out in our brokenness is compulsion through faulty motivation. Some people think you are born a type-some think you develop a type in childhood to cope and feel safe. So although there may be elements in each number you identify, which is normal-we were made to reflect God’s image and he is all of them. There will be just one that you align with or gravitate towards. EAch number has a distinct way of seeing the world and an underlying motivation that powerfully influences how that type thinks, feels and behaves.
Now those of you who are not a fan of being put in one of 9 boxes I do want to point out that just like there are a gazillion shades of the perfect blue.. There are a infinite variations in each number. Some of those are going to be gender, ethnicity, race, family, introversion vs extroversion, strengths, values, interests, etc.
Now no number is better or worse than another, they all have their gifts and compulsions or sins.
Like I mentioned above, this is not the bible–This is not the end all of who you are. how you are motivated and what sin you are for sure going to struggle with but it certainly helps get you started thinking about some significant points of reference. I’m still figuring out exactly what number I am so don’t be discouraged if you don’t think what you tested is right, or you don’t think you specifically identify with any of them quite yet.
When I first learned about the enneagram I started bawling in the middle of someone telling a story about a specific number. My second workshop I started uncontrollably crying again when they talked about that same number.
There are a couple of other significant parts to the enneagram. The first is the triads.
Gut, Heart and head. 8,9,1// 2,3,4 // and 5,6,7
Triads are Driven by different emotion related to the part of your brain called the center for intelligence basically what that means is how you habitually take in, process and respond to life.
Look at chart: Enneagram diagram
Gut triad AKA the anger triad: eights externalizes anger, nines forget it and ones internalize it. They express themselves honestly and directly.
The heart or feelings triad are driven by their feelings. Twos focus outwardly on the feelings of others, Threes have trouble recognizing their own or others people feelings. And fours concentrate their attention on their own feelings. They take in and relate to the world from their heart and are more image conscious than other numbers.
The head or the fear triad are driven by fear. Fives externalize fear, sixes internalize and sevens forget it. They take in and relate to the world through the mind. They tend to think and plan carefully before they act.
Triad Printout: Triad chart
Then there are the wings. This is what shows some of the fluidity of each number. You may be an 6 with a seven wing which will act much differently than a 6 with a five wing. I’m not going to get into the wings much tonight because a. We don’t have time but also because until you really understand the basis of the number, the wings are just added jargon.
Ok, now were going to look at each number individually: The Nine Enneagram Type Descriptions
Each number has a chart describing the Vices and Virtues of each. They are also helpful in understanding the basis of each. Enneagram Virture__Vice chart
- What in the number do you identify with on the chart?
- What surprises you about it?
- How can knowing this help you engage with and really love others better?
- How can knowing yourself better, (after tonight) help you to see more of who god is, To commune with him and worship him?
- What is a next step to continue to get to know yourself more?
Books: (you can order them on amazon by clicking the links)
Online: Enneagram institute
The next website has all 9 numbers, but is difficult to search so just click the link and search through the “next” and “back” numbers
Sleeping At Last is a band that has come out with songs for the first 3 enneagram numbers and is working on all 9. You can listen to the formation of the song project (specifically the one) here. And the first 3 songs here.