Your Enneagram Type and Spiritual Growth
What's your personality type? Anyone who knows me knows that I'm fascinated with personality types and how to use a self-awareness of our type to grow personally and spiritually.
Since I've been a life coach, I've been searching for an assessment that I can become proficient in to help my clients understand themselves, grow in their faith, and create the life that God intends for them.
If you're a little bit of personality assessment junkie like myself, you may be familiar with the DISC, Meyers Briggs, Strength Finders and more when it comes to becoming more self aware in how God made you and how you show up in our world.
Why I'm fascinated by the Enneagram
I came across a personality assessment I've never heard of called the Enneagram. It explains nine types of personality and gives each participant a launching pad for learning more about themselves and how they can grow emotionally and spiritually.
When I first discovered this system, I was intrigued by the idea that our personality type can lead us to self discovery and spiritual growth. Armed with enough info to be dangerous, I bought these small workbooks and included it in my group coaching curriculum last fall. I thought my clients would love it. I thought wrong. Most of the participants in that coaching course walked away confused about their type and unable to use it to help them grow. Who said you couldn't grow through failure, right?
I was determined and refused to give up. Since then, I have spent time over the last year reading and listening to podcasts and even attempting to understand my own Enneagram type in my effort to help clients on their journey of self-discovery.
What is the Enneagram?
Before I get too far ahead of myself, we may need to start at the beginning. The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system that helps people understand who they are. Some trace it's origins to the 4th century, but it regained popularity with spiritual directors and retreat leaders in the early 1970s when an American-trained psychiatrist further developed and presented it to a small group of students in the U.S. Today, the Enneagram is gaining new popularity among Christians who want to know their type and are talking about the benefits of the Enneagram.
In simpler terms, the Enneagram serves as a GPS of sorts in helping you discover why you think, feel and behave in particular ways based upon your core fears and core desires.
“The power of the Enneagram is in its ability to harness and transform self-limiting behaviors into life-enhancing personal empowerment. The gift of the Enneagram is that through self-discovery, one can create and sustain meaningful and lasting relationships with others, God and themselves.”
— BETH MCCORD, YOUR ENNEAGRAM COACH
Why your Enneagram Type is important...
Personally, I've become fascinated with how I tick and how others tick. So when I stumbled across the Enneagram, I started investigating what it was about and how it could help.
But the more I learn about coaching others, the more I realize that getting to know yourself - your motivations, your fears and your desires - is the secret sauce to truly changing your life. You and I can't grow personally and spiritually unless we are more aware of what drives us away from God and what drives us toward Him. It's when we know who we are and the layers that lie underneath our actions that we can move closer to God and to others.
The Enneagram Explained...
The Enneagram has 9 personality types and each type describes the underlying desires and fears that drive us. Included in each personality type is a description of that type at it's healthiest, on it's average day, and when we are in an emotionally unhealthy place. The idea is for us to become aware of what drives us so we can work on those unhealthy places and show up as our healthiest and most authentic selves - the person God created as He knit you together in your mother's womb.
Learning about your type
People have two reactions when I talk about the Enneagram. One, their eyes start to glaze over. Or, they are intrigued about learning about their type. They can't get enough.
If you're in that second camp, learning about your type comes from some self discovery. The first thing you can do it take a self assessment. Many of those who are Enneagram coaches and writers offer free assessments on their websites. Personally, I've come across Beth McCord who is a Christian Enneagram Coach and have learned much from her information.
The assessment is just an assessment. It's important to self-evaluate and read all the descriptions to see if this is true of you and to pin point your type. The point isn't to wear your type number like a badge but to learn more about yourself and how you think so that you can be transformed from the inside out.
Hold your assessment results loosely and keeping walking on the journey of spiritual growth and self-awareness. Learn how to become the healthiest version of yourself that you can be.
The Nine Types
For a quick list of the nine types, see the image below. While these aren't perfect descriptions and you may feel like you fit into more than one, this will give you the main idea of each type.
There is no order - as in - one number is better. The idea is for you to identify and then explore how you can continue to grow as a person and in your spiritual life move towards a deeper relationship with God.
For most of us, we are now thoroughly confused as to what our type is and yet leaning in to find out more about how we think and process and what can help us continue to grow both personally and spiritually.
Not to worry, I've got you covered. Check out the book The Road Back To You by Ian Morgan Cron. This book explains the Enneagram while also giving you a deeper look at each type to help you determine more solidly which type you align with and how to start that inner work that leads to transformation.
I also recommend Beth McCord's Your Enneagram Coach website. She has a free pdf of the nine types as well as a free assessment to help you get started on narrowing down your type.
Transformation, not Obsession
The goal here is transformation. For you and I to become who God created us to be. In order for us to change our lives from the inside out, we need to know what's inside first. Anytime I learn more about personality typing and new systems, my temptation is to run around and assess calling people by their types and numbers. The Enneagram, like all the other personality type systems, is a tool. It's not the Bible. It's not the guidebook for Christian living. But it can help us understand ourselves as we bring our hearts to God and ask Him to transform us from the inside out.
The idea is that the more we learn about the way God wired us and our inner fears and motivations, the more we transform into women who are spiritually and emotionally healthy. Women who walk in truth and confidence. Women with the courage to change our lives from the inside out.