How to use the Enneagram to Invest in You

Since I’ve starting using the Enneagram + the Gospel as a tool for spiritual faith coaching and alignment for my clients, I get asked a lot of questions. One of the primary questions people ask is “What do I do now that I know my number?”


If you’re asking this question, you’re not alone. While it’s fun to take personality tests and compare your type with those of your friends, it’s important to know that personality assessments are a great way for us to invest in ourselves.

One of my favorite books on growing in faith through the Enneagram is Self to Lose, Self to Find by Marilyn Vancil. Marilyn does a great job of explaining the Enneagram as a tool for spiritual and emotional growth in light of what the Scripture teaches. She also helps break it down for us when it comes to what each type can lean into to grow as a disciple of Jesus.

One of the tools she uses is a system she created and I love to teach it to my clients because I think it can help each of us on the journey to self-discovery, emotional wholeness, and spiritual maturity. So just how do you and I leverage the Enneagram as we follow Jesus? I’ve got you covered with Marilyn’s OWN UP model.

Step # 1: Observe

True confession time? I’m not so great at this part. It basically instructs us to press pause and observe our behavior. When you’re feeling stressed or the behavior you’re noticing doesn’t really serve you, Marilyn suggests we stop and take note or how we’re acting, our thoughts, and our feelings. And for those of us who just want to speed through this part, it might help to write it out in a journal of some sort. Slow down and observe what’s happening and to combine a little life coach training here - identify the story you are telling yourself about this situation.

Step # 2: Welcome


This is the part we all tend to skip over. So listen up. Welcome your behavior, thoughts, observations, and feelings without judgment. Ouch! I don’t know about you, but I like to jump right to judging and letting myself know that behavior or thought was wrong or not good or you fill in the blank. To welcome without judgment includes two things. First, stay curious about your observations and action. Why are you doing what you are doing and allow you actions to remain neutral for a time. Second, acknowledge that God gets you and loves you. Open yourself up to God’s presence and love in the middle of your observation.

Step # 3 : Name

Once you’ve welcomed your observation + actions, name them by identifying your underlying motivations. What drove you to those thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? Check in with your Enneagram type’s core desires, motivations, and fears? Consider your type’s focus of attention and even your superpower. Lean into how you may be trying to express the gift of your type through this current behavior.

Step # 4: Untangle


Here’s where we do the inner work that pays off. Identify what has a hold on you from your underlying motivations. How are these things serving you? What is getting in your way and what does the Bible have to say about what you’re focusing on? For instance, as a type 3 I can tend to focus on my image and finding value through what others think about my performance. If I can apply God’s Word, I know that my value doesn’t come from what I do or what others think about me, but from God and who He created me to be. Applying the Gospel message and verses that I am who God created me to be and my value comes from Him can help me untangle why I’m doing what I’m doing.

Step # 5: Possess

Take some time to notice what comes to the surface as you let go of what no longer serves you and embrace or possess your true identity as God’s loved child. Spend some time in thanksgiving and prayer for who God made you to be.

So what’s the point of all this? Whether you know your Enneagram type or not, you can practice this 5 step process to increase your own self-awareness and allow God to transform you from the inside out. As one of my fave Enneagram teachers has said, “You personality is what shows up when you don’t” The point of owning up is for you to shed your type, or what you’ve adapted to find love and value so that you can become your true and authentic self - the beautiful person that God created you to be.

Not sure what your Enneagram Type is?

I’ve got you covered with my free typing guide.

Hey friend! I know that growing personally, spiritually, and emotionally is hard work. If you’ve got something that has helped you grow and want to share, we’d love to hear. And also, i”d love to pray for you on your journey. Drop a comment here and I’ll add you to my prayer list.