I laid on the bed reading snippets out loud from “The Road Back to You” by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile.
“I think you are probably a four, or maybe a one,” I said to my husband J as I laid the open book down on the covers. He related to some of what I was reading, but he didn’t want to be typed or boxed in (classic four). “Nope. Get that Pagan Pentagram personality test away from me” he said jokingly.
I admit the bazar star diagram does look like sorcery and the fact that enneagram sounds like pentagram doesn’t help, but in its modern application, this personality profile is actually for Christians.
I just laughed and left it at that. I never want to be pushy about it (classic nine) but every once in awhile in conversations I would still mention the enneagram because it really helped me navigate different relationships or my own thoughts!
Months later while on a long road trip to see family in Texas. J was wanting podcasts to listen to to pass the time. I played a podcast for him of one of his favorite musicians talking about what it’s like to be a four on the enneagram. J’s jaw dropped and he said, “I was skeptical but he just described everything I have felt most of my life”. The podcast was “Typology”
and because it is faith based they have several worship leaders and Christian musicians on the podcast. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that my worship leader/musician husband would have the same enneagram number as so many of his favorite artists. One podcast after the other J was engrossed and completely sold on the idea that he is a four and he has a deadly sin that he can work on as well as beautiful facets to his personality.
When we made it to J’s parents’ house and had spent time with everyone J brought up the enneagram and wanted to type each of his family members. One by one they took the test and we discussed what the results would mean. For the record, most enneagram experts will tell you it isn’t as simple as taking a test, the results are often inaccurate. You are better off researching what the enneagram is and what all the numbers are. It takes some digging and sometimes painful observation to discover what your core motivation is.
I’m a nine which is the peacemaker. That sounds all flowery and world changing, but in actuality, nines struggle with procrastination; they can be passive aggressive, slothful, and lacking in self awareness. Don’t feel bad for me though, all the numbers have major weaknesses and to me that’s what is unique about this personality assessment. The enneagram focuses more on what you use as a mask and what the root cause of that is so that you can discover your true identity. I stole this little expert from Bayside church blog because I like how it explains it:
Self-awareness (looking at the man in the mirror) opens the door to self-knowledge (oh, crap, I am angry and bitter). Self-knowledge paves the way to insight (this is why I’m angry and bitter). And insight is the gateway to spiritual transformation (letting go of the behaviors that cause your anger and bitterness). Depending on your number, you might replace anger with codependency or judgementalism or materialism.
So for me, finding out my enneagram number has really allowed me to realize what I am doing and why I am doing it so that I can try to steer my behavior in a healthy direction. For example, as a nine I worry A LOT about what other people are thinking or feeling, often to a fault. This was brought to my attention again recently after my car wreck. I was reluctant to share the reality of what happened in the wreck or what my needs were because I was worried that it would be a trigger to people who had painful experiences involving car accidents. When I went to publish the blog post about the car wreck I had to stop because I was worried about making someone else feel anxious or sad. The truth is I needed to share what happened. First off because it’s the way that I cope and also because people care and want to be updated so that they can support or pray. So I channeled that worry into this sentence when I posted about the wreck on Facebook:
“This is the first time I am sharing the story and I wanted to include a trigger warning because I know that car wrecks and graphic photos or details can be overwhelming. This wreck could have been so much worse, but if you don’t feel like you want to read the whole story just know that I am doing okay.”
It took me a long time to figure out my number and it’s not that I relate to everything about nines, but the parts that resonate have been beneficial. That’s how I feel about most personality related trends.
I remember reading “The Introvert Advantage” by Marti Olsen when I was first married.
That book taught me the differences between people with a more introverted personality and those who are extraverted. This has been absolutely critical for me because I am an extrovert who attracts introverts like flies to a lamp! I also like “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.
I thrive on Words of Affirmation while my husband is an Acts of Service kind of guy. This realization has been huge for us!
When I read books about personality and psychology it’s not just to learn about my temperament or makeup, it’s to give me a better understanding of those around me too. It allows me to be a better friend and to have more empathy. Enneagram is just another tool to add to my belt when it comes to relationships and self-awareness and if they are useful I’ll take all the tools I can get!