Knowing Yourself: the Enneagram

Have you ever taken one of those personality type tests and thought, ‘shoot…this is sooo me’? I’m not talking about a Buzzfeed “which type of dog are you?” test (I’m a Great Dane by the way), but something like the Meyers-Briggs or the TKI or the Enneagram.

Just like each test, I think each person has their own preference for their favorite personality test. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the Meyers-Briggs because I thought it painted in too big of strokes but then again each of these tests does. In this post, I want to talk about the Enneagram, what it is (briefly), and how it’s helped me.

The Enneagram is a typology test that breaks the test-taker into one of nine numbers. So, for example, you could either be a 1,2,3…etc. Each person will usually have one number that resonates pretty well with their lives but in the off chance, you are borderline for two of them, whichever one you think you are, is the one you are. According to Richard Rohr, an Enneagram Author and ordained minister, in his book The Enneagram: a Christian Perspective:

“The Enneagram is more than an entertaining game for learning about oneself. it is concerned with change and making a turnaround, with what the religious traditions call conversion or repentance.” -Richard Rohr. The Enneagram: a Christian Perspective, p.4

So that’s the Enneagram in a nutshell: a typology that breaks your personality into one of nine numbers so that one can know themselves better and make a change or come to repentance.

You’re probably wondering how the Enneagram has affected me or why I think it’s important. I took the Enneagram as a part of my North Park Theological Seminary entrance exams. I found out that I am a 4 which is also known as “the need to be special”. According to Rohr, Fours are “highly sensitive [check] and almost always artistically gifted [check]”; They draw their energy from other people [check], and their life questions are ‘what do you think of me? Do you notice me? do I catch your eye?’. (p.98)

As a Four, I’m sensitive–to criticism, with regards to feelings, with regards for the feelings of others, etc. I am sensitive. I use to always just shrug my sensitivities off as ‘I’m moody today’ or ‘I slept weird’, but this is my personality. The Enneagram helped show me that I am this way because that’s how God made me–not because I ate something funky or because I slept weird. The Enneagram gave me the language to know myself better than I knew myself prior. Knowing what I am allowed me to better know whose I am and when I know more about whose I am, I can better serve others. I am the person who is better suited to advocate for others to have not only a seat at the table but a voice too; I’m suited for serving others into ministries where they would thrive or making hospital visits or leading worship on Sunday morning (not only because I’m a Four, but also because I have a music degree). I would not do well being the person to cold call someone or to make a bunch of food for the potluck. Knowing myself better has allowed me to become more self-aware which has helped me know which ministries I can better fit into without feeling the burnout so much. I can serve and enjoy ministry life with the worship team or with the Christian Education team because these are things that work with my personality.

The Enneagram has been very helpful for me, and I want it to be helpful for you too. Take the test here for free. Let me know in the comments what your type is and lets work on getting you to serve in a position that you can thrive in because when we know who we are, we know whose we are; and when we know whose we are, we can serve other better.

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