Enneagram and Faith: Stop trying so hard

Something powerful the enneagram shows us is that we all have more in common than we think.  

That's why the symbol begins with a circle. All of us hold all nine personality types to some degree. We simply default one type as our primary way of operating in the world.

Another thing we all have in common is that our personalities, in reality, are distortions. We are each born with unique and beautiful gifts that we are meant to bring to the world. But somewhere along the line, we get hurt. Someone lets us down, we fail, we feel like we are not loved... and our gifts turn into bricks and become walls. 

An ability to see and build goodness in the world turns into a perfectionism and drive to always get everything right. An ability to see others' needs and love them well becomes a savior complex and a need to be needed. An ability to be filled with joy and optimism becomes a desire for fun in the avoidance of pain.

Each of the nine types has their struggle. And every case, the path towards growth and the way of transformation is not to try harder. Trying so hard to do what was expected of us or to follow through on what we felt compelled to do is what led us to build these walls in the first place.

The path of development, both emotional and spiritual, is to realize we already hold the gifts we are trying so hard to reach. We do not need to grow our proficiency; we need to grow our awareness and grace. 

And friends, grace is a resource that never runs out. Grace is not scarce. God is always ready to hand us more. Grace for us and grace for those who have hurt us. 

I recently read something less than flattering about my type to a friend. And for the first time, instead of feeling defensive or ashamed, I laughed. I know it's true of me. I also know it's something I can't fix. All I can do is look at myself with the eyes of grace and look for God to do the transformation. 

Richard Rohr says "There's nothing to prove nothing to protect. I am who I am and it's enough. "

Amen.

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This post concludes my enneagram and faith series. I hope you enjoyed exploring this wonderful tool with me. It's likely that enneagram will come up again in my posts, but it won't be officially part of the series anymore.

If this series has raised your curiosity about what your type might be, or if you want to explore how feeling comfortable with your type can help you move towards growth and wholeness, please check out my enneagram coaching page. Don't worry if you're not local to Minneapolis, I can do coaching over Skype or FaceTime too. I would love to help you use this tool that I found so helpful in my life.

Here's how one person I've coached described the experience, 

"I had been reading Rohr's Enneagram book, and was fascinated by it. I took a few online quizzes and tried to nail down my number but I was having a hard time distinguishing between what I AM and what I WANTED to be. I reached out to Steph and sat down with her for a couple hours, and she led me through such an insightful time of discerning my number, how it plays out in the way I do life; my friendships, at work and in my marriage. What a GIFT it has been to continue to dig into the gifts and shadow sides, and become more self aware of how I respond to things. Steph has a gift for communicating, and a passion to help others get to know themselves, and God better. Whether you're a married couple, engaged, want to do this with a team at work, or just get to know yourself better, DO it. It's so worth the time and money and it's so fun!" - Brooke

One last thing, the announcement of the winner of the enneagram couples coaching from my previous post. And the winner is... Jenna Thompson! Thanks for commenting on the post, I look forward to talking to you more.  

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