My first introduction to the enneagram was a couple years ago at a youth ministry conference I attend. The enneagram is an introspective tool designed to provide 9 different ways of relating to your self. Admittedly, I was and have been pretty suspicious of its merits beyond it being a simple personality test that assigns you a label with which you can justify your bad decision and behaviors. As incredulous as that may make me seem, I still hold there may still be an ounce of truth to that suspicion. However, I have come to see more value in this personality-typing tool after reading The Road Back To You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. BTW, not my favorite book title.
Before I became acquainted with the enneagram, I had been familiarized with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. In comparison, the Myers-Brigs is a wholly more psychological self-assessment tool while the enneagram could be said to be more emotionally and even spiritually focused. But don’t go comparing it to your horoscope sign just yet. There is some real depth and uncanny insights to the enneagram system. An example of the 9 different personality types that the enneagram identifies can be seen below.
If you’d like to find out which type you are or see descriptions of each type you can visit https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/
The Road Back To You is a great introduction to the enneagram. The stories are very helpful and the tone is friendly and open. However, if your goal is to really hash out where you fit in all of this, there is much more intensive and involved work to be done. After reading this book and taking a simple online survey I thought for sure that most of the attributes of the 7, “The Enthusiast”, fit me perfectly. However, on another day and on another online survey, I came out to be a strong 3, “The Achiever”. Is one of these a facade? To they work together? Are they in conflict with one another? As you’ll read in this book and find in other sources, each personality type can also come with their own “wing” personality type and even indicate with personality traits you tend to take on in stress and which you tend to take on in security.
I think knowing yourself is important. “Nearly all wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists in two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves,” – John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1.1.1) However, I’ve seen people become so wrapped up in analyzing themselves that it can become a drive towards a type of self-obsession. It seems to me that the goal of understanding myself better is to make me a better servant of others. This to me is intrinsic in Jesus’ words, “Love others as well as you love yourself.” – Mark 12:31 (MSG)
Next week I’ll be reviewing The Reason For God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller.