I’ve had the distinct privilege of working with our staff this summer, helping them better understand themselves, their gifting and how they show up in life. Assessments are remarkable tools that give folks a feel for the depth of who they are.
One of those assessments I’ve begun to use was actually my thorn in the side for quite a while.
It’s the current buzz word. People talk about themselves and self-identify as a number, expecting that to explain everything about them.
Which is why I didn’t like it.
It’s been around for hundreds of years. Many today question its beginnings, some saying it has sacred roots, others questioning the origin and seeing it as more secular or possibly profane. It’s unclear how it began.
There is truth in it. And as a follower of Christ, I believe all truth is God’s truth, so it was worth investigating.
What bothered me was the self-limiting that went on with people trying to figure out their number, which became an excuse to do what they chose or not do what was expected.
No assessment is an excuse. They’re springboards to better understanding ourselves, our growth patterns, and shining a light on the darkness we all have within us. The Enneagram helps identify behaviors, attitudes, defenses, and motivations that each of the nine types tends to express.
We are so much more than a number.
Who we are is defined by many things. Our stories provide a huge piece of the puzzle that is us. Family of origin, where we grew up, how we were disciplined, the values that were put forth in the family dynamic. Who was–and wasn’t–present for us in life. These factors cause us to create a storyline that works for us in the greater scope of life.
We are also created in the image of God, whether we acknowledge Him or not. He has made every person who has ever lived with a sense of who He is, with an intellect, emotion and will that reflect the very character of God. Some will accept Him and see that He is their hope, their enough, giving them a purpose and energy to do this life well. Others will reject Him as being unnecessary and not Someone they want to bother with.
He has, however, invested Himself in each of us. Gifting every person with a skill set that actually makes them thrive in a world that values power, money, and position. Those who thrive love what they do, enjoy who they are, and live out an inner purpose that gives them lift and life.
The Enneagram can be seen as our journey here on earth. We’re each born with a predisposition toward a personality type, and we move forward in growth as we mature. Or, we move toward more personal disintegration when life feels like a constant battle with the world.
But God walks with us on our journey if we choose Him. Points us to growth and hope. gives grace when we fall apart.
We are so much more than a number. We’re intentionally created, specifically delighted in, and designed to be more than we can imagine.
That’s real hope.
By the way, I’m a 2.