My family gathered a few days after Christmas from all different directions to celebrate together. We played games, laughed and talked and shared gifts over the course of two wonderful days. Our conversations turned to personality, and we stayed up late one night comparing our different Enneagram types, digging deep into how our numbers manifest in daily life. Those who did not yet know their number took a test online to find out, and the conversations continued over meals and down-time moments. Some of us came alive, sharing our favorite Instagram posts and asking questions or sharing experiences. Others got into the discussion for awhile, but then felt like the Enneagram had rather overstayed its welcome.
If you identify with either one of those experiences of loving personality discussions or not so much, I hope you will find your place this month as we discuss The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. Don’t give up just because you don’t want to be put in a box, or can’t figure out your type. We need each of you, to help us understand your perspective and remind us of the beauty and diversity of the ways God has formed us and how He continues to do so.
If you have read this far and are wondering what in the world all this Enneagram talk is about, no fear. This week we are reading chapters 1-2 which provide an excellent introduction and explanation. Here’s a quick overview given by Cron and Stabile: “The Enneagram teaches that there are nine different personality styles in the world, one of which we naturally gravitate toward and adopt in childhood to cope and feel safe. Each type or number has a distinct way of seeing the world and an underlying motivation that powerfully influences how that type thinks, feels and behaves.”
Motivation is a pretty key word in that description. As you get to know the different types and examine your own life, don’t just look at what you do. What spurs your daily actions and decisions? These underlying fears and passions and motivations can help point you to your type.
Let me interject here with a little of my story. I LOVE anything related to personality typing and have found a lot of freedom in my self-discovery journey. When I first figured out my Enneagram number (from reading this book by the way), I only saw the negative. Really, does that have to be my type? But at that time I was really an unhealthy version of my type, which is something we’ll look at as we go along. One of the things that I need to hold on to, and what I want to give you as well is this gift: no type is better or worse than another. Even at our worst, we are valuable and worthy. Sure, there might be some important growth that needs to take place. There’s space for that too, and that’s one of the beautiful things about a journey with the Enneagram.
The authors add in a few more tools to help understand the Enneagram and find your type, which include traids and wings. Triads break the types down into three sections, and helps us understand how we experience or process life. When you encounter new information or a new situation, do you turn to your gut, your heart or your head? Wings describe the number on either side of your type and are sort of like salt and pepper. They don’t change your main type, but add in a little flavor, and I think this is part of what adds so much diversity to the Enneagram. Sure you and your friend might both be type 9s, but one might add in some of type 8 as their wing and the other more of type 1.
This week let’s all pay attention. Maybe your know your type already and maybe you don’t, but don’t rush the process. Set aside some intentional time to pause and reflect- what motivated you to make that choice or move in a certain direction? From the brief description of all nine types in chapter two (pages 25-26 in the print book), was there one that sounded most like you? Is there something about that type that delights you? Or makes you feel uncomfortable?
Feel free to share in the comments, and let’s make this space a place of grace and encouragement! What stuck out to you from these first two chapters? What questions do you have that we need to talk about as we go through the next few weeks?
Here’s the plan for the rest of the month:
January 15- Chapters 3-5
January 22- Chapters 6-8
January 29- Chapters 9-12