It’s Not All In Your Head {Book Club}

We are wrapping up our Enneagram journey this week as we finish reading The Road Back to You. It has been delightful to learn more about each of you- thank you for sharing your experiences as you’ve come to understand what motivates you and who God has created you to be.

Our last section looks at the Head or Fear triad, and types 5, 6, and 7. This is my space, the place my heart is most at home. I am a type 6 with a fairly strong 5 wing, although I see sprinkles of 7 sometimes too.

Let’s do a quick summary and review of these last 3 types.

Type 5 The Investigator: Healthy 5s manage an appropriate balance between participation and observation, engaging with others comfortably and demonstrating true neutrality. Average 5s hold to a scarcity mentality, which leads to hoarding time, space and affection. They struggle with anything that makes them feel incompetent or incapable. Unhealthy 5s don’t want to depend on anyone for anything. They have a defensive personality that is preoccupied with security, independence and privacy.

Type 6 The Loyalist: Healthy 6s have learned to trust their own experiences of life. They are productive, logical thinkers who almost always organize their thoughts and actions around what would be most advantageous for the common good. Average 6s question almost everything, and they struggle to get out of their heads and the pattern of worst-case-scenario planning. They find the world to be an unsafe place and respond with fight or flight. Unhealthy 6s fear the world is unfair and that most people are not who they say they are and cannot be trusted. They find fault in others and tend to fall into patterns of projection.

Type 7 The Enthusiast: Healthy 7s have embraced a full range of human emotion and are growing in their ability to accept life as it is rather than as they want it to be. They are not only fun and adventurous in this space but also spiritually grounded, practical and resilient. Average 7s entertain to feel safe and to claim their place in a group. They might find commitment to be a challenge and have great trouble finishing projects, often jumping from one thing to the next. Unhealthy 7s try to avoid pain at all costs which can lead to irresponsible behavior and seeking instant gratification. In this space they can be more prone to addiction than any other number.

We are each created in God’s image, though our sinful natures have created cracks in the ways His image is reflected. Cron and Stabile wrote in the last chapter, “Though not a comprehensive list, every number reveals a facet of God’s nature”. Have you ever thought about how your unique and distinct personality might reflect an aspect of who God is?

As a 6, anxiety can overwhelm my life, and a very unhealthy version of me includes paranoia about people (what are they hiding, what aren’t they telling me, can I trust anyone in leadership?). Yet, I am intensely loyal. If I’m your friend, most likely I’m your friend for life and will fiercely stick up for you and defend you. My siblings could tell you a hundred stories about this. While anxiety is part of my brokenness, the area in which I need the Father’s healing and restoration, I can absolutely appreciate His loyalty to me. And perhaps I can be a part of imperfectly living out for others the beauty of God’s never-ending pursuit of His children, the truth that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Where do we go from here? As we have come to understand ourselves and each other a little bit better, I hope our response is compassion. I can learn to give grace to myself when I am feeling overwhelmed, and I can respond to others and the different ways they look at the world with a desire for understanding rather than judgment.

As you’ve grown in understanding more about yourself through the tool of the Enneagram, what have you learned about God’s character?

As we finish up our discussion with the Head triad, what do you appreciate most about types 5, 6 and 7? What do you wish you understood more? If you are one of those types, what would you like to share with us so we can continue to grow together?

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In February, we will be reading Newbery Medal winner A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. Against the odds, this story (which begins on “a dark and stormy night”) is a YA sci-fi novel with a female protagonist, written in the 1960s. It is a tale of the battle of good versus evil that weaves together elements of quantum physics, Christianity, philosophy, and fantasy. And it’s among my (Rachel) top 5 favorite books of all time. I hope you’ll join me reading it!

Reading schedule:

February 5: Chapters 1-4

February 12: Chapters 5-8

February 19: Chapters 9-12

February 26: We’ll preview our spring book!

Photo by MILKOVÍ on Unsplash

8 Comments

  1. Michele January 28, 2019

    I test at either a five or a nine, and, as I’ve mentioned in previous post comments, have been wrestling to figure out my number for several months. Last week my computer died and I had to decide whether to replace it now or wait till I am in a country where they aren’t quite so expensive, and then what to get. Oh my, did my five-ness come out all over the place last week! 🙂
    I am realizing one reason I’ve changed so much that it was harder to see is that there may be no better way for a five to learn to die to the need to know and to not look dumb than moving overseas! The positive side is that we are observers and find it easier, I think, to withhold judgment about cultural differences until we understand them better. But if I had held onto the need to look intelligent, I don’t think I would have made it in Asia more than a year or two at most!
    I’ve often said and heard it said that God brings us into cross cultural work as much for our sakes (at least) as for those we serve. I’m thinking today of how kind it was for him to bring me to the other side of the world to set me free. I’m guessing other numbers could say the same! Identifying my number is already showing me more areas where I need freedom and transformation. Thanks for leading this discussion through this book- It’s been one of the most helpful VA discussions for me yet!

    1. Sarah Hilkemann January 30, 2019

      I absolutely love this perspective, Michele, and the insights you’ve had, especially about how moving overseas has impacted you. As I think about being a 6, I think moving overseas brought the fear and desire for safety to the surface like never before. I was confronted by people and experiences and situations that absolutely tested my trust in God. I feel like I’ve got a lot of work to do (with the Father’s help), but I’m grateful for the revealing that has happened!

      I’ve been thinking of you through these weeks as you’ve worked through our discussions and have so appreciated your thoughts! I’m so glad it has been a helpful discussion for you.

  2. Rachel Kahindi January 30, 2019

    The last chapter was so satisfying. I loved seeing the list of each type’s unique reflection of the image of God.

    In the beginning of the book, I wasn’t sure why I should read all many pages about all of the types – I mean isn’t the point to learn about myself? But if the point is compassionate understanding, it makes sense to learn about different types. Of course, I can’t go around labeling people and analyzing their actions based on the types I think they are, but I can be aware that we have different motivations.

    That our strengths are also our faults is another point I’m taking with me. And this is actually going to come up in A Wrinkle in Time next month…

    1. Sarah Hilkemann January 30, 2019

      Rachel, that last chapter was great, wasn’t it? You have lots of good thoughts here and reminders for us. We need to use the Enneagram as a tool for growth and understanding each other, not labeling or judging! 🙂 And your last comment has me eager to get in to our next book and discussion… 🙂

  3. Crystal Steinhauer January 30, 2019

    I absolutely loved this book and have been recommending it to everyone since. I had heard of the enneagram before but knew nothing about it. I found it so interesting that my husband is a textbook 9. I haven’t been able to figure myself out yet, but I think a 7 or 8. I loved how the book shows healthy, average and unhealthy for each number and also the steps to spiritual transformation – so helpful.

    1. Sarah Hilkemann January 30, 2019

      Crystal, I’m so glad you’ve found this book to be helpful! I really appreciate the different levels of health as well. If I only saw the descriptions for the healthy versions I would have a difficult time figuring my type out! 🙂

  4. Elizabeth January 31, 2019

    I am a 6, being almost at the end of the book, as I read through the other types, especially 1, I think this could be me, but when I got to 6 it was clear! I wonder how a 6 could ever end up overseas and have that passion to go overseas with the fear/anxiety and worst-case scenario thinking, but that was me! I think I am a 6w7 and maybe it is the 7 side that helps push me past my fears! I found the section on childhood in each chapter interesting and am curious others thoughts. Most of the other personality typings I have done, like myers-briggs, seem to lean towards personality being innate, more nature than nurture. But with the enneagram, at least in this book, it seems to point towards nurture. It probably is a mix of both! Enjoyed reading this again and learning more about myself and others.

    1. Sarah Hilkemann February 1, 2019

      Hey Elizabeth, thanks for sharing these thoughts! I had a similar experience as a 6 reading the book for the first time and thinking maybe I was a 1 or 2 but then got to 6 and knew for sure that was me! I like to think my 6-ness prevented some bad situations for my team because of my worst-case scenario thinking but living in a very chaotic and often unsafe environment was incredibly taxing. It helps to know who you are and what you need to strive for health in this overseas life! 🙂

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