It has been so fun this past week to hear so many of you talking about your ‘type’! Since we began our Wednesday night class on the Enneagram last week, I’ve heard you say everything from “I’m such a 4!,” to “So THAT’S why I do that!,” to “There are 9 types, but I think I represent 10! How in the world could I choose?” You are engaging with this material at a deep and meaningful level, and it’s thrilling to watch such self-discovery emerge!
In last night’s class, Dr. Chris Copeland (our facilitator for the Enneagram class) led us in a ‘typing interview’ with brave Meredith Smith, where a series of questions he asked helped to identify the type with which she likely leads. The questions were deeply personal:
What words would you use to describe yourself? How would others describe you?
What does success look like to you? What happens when you fail?
Do you care how people perceive you? Do you like to be recognized?
Does routine bore you or comfort you? How important is planning to you?
How do you respond in conflict? What happens when your needs aren’t met?
Do you enjoy being right? What happens when you make a mistake?
Are you in touch with feelings — your own and others?
Do you value authenticity? Is it easy for you to say no to things?
Do you like to take charge? Is self-sufficiency important to you?
Do you like to have options? Does commitment come easy to you?
As Dr. Copeland was interviewing Meredith, I couldn’t help but recall that old story attributed to Michaelangelo when facing a slab of marble. “The sculpture of David is already complete within that marble block before I start my work,” the famous artist once said. “It’s already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.”
Carving and filing away within one’s inner life is hard work, and often it is painful or tedious or uncomfortable. In my life, however, the Enneagram has functioned like the chisel that allows the deepest, truest self to emerge. It has enabled me — an admitted 3 (the ‘performer’ or ‘achiever’) — to look my need to succeed, to be well-regarded, to find identity in what I do rather than who I am, beloved by God simply for being me. The Enneagram gives me helpful language to assign to frustrations or motivations, allowing me to recognize patterns in my behavior so as to adjust for transformation and wholeness. It has strengthened many of my most important relationships, facilitating deeper awareness of loved ones, of needs they have, and of my capacity to respond.
Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment — the core, the essence, the ‘why’ of the Christian faith — is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am so grateful for the chisel of the Enneagram that gives me a tool to do this kind of loving, revealing the God-given beauty underneath it all.
Together in the work of Love,
Ps- If you’re intrigued by the Enneagram, it’s not too late to join us on Wednesday! You can also check out http://enneagramworldwide.com to learn more.