Hi, Friends! It’s Your Enneagram Coach Beth, back with some more personal growth insights. I don’t know about you, but I could explore the Enneagram all day and never get tired of it! In fact, I studied this powerful tool for 15 years before coaching was ever a thought in my mind. At the beginning, I came to it as a frustrated newlywed and exhausted new mom. Most of all, I was a child of God who desperately needed it. Looking back, I’m in awe of God’s perfect timing and kindness in giving me the gift of this tool in such a turbulent season.
When I discovered that I’m a Type 9, it gave me so much insight and understanding of my personality and the unique way I’m wired. But for many people, that’s as far as they take the Enneagram. They may hone in on their Type and enjoy talking about their hardwiring with others, but they don’t use their new knowledge and awareness for positive change and spiritual renewal. As much as I love a good Enneagram chat, it can go so far beyond entertaining dinner party conversation!
The thing that sets the Enneagram apart from other personality assessments, and the reason I love it so much, is because it provides a clear path to healthy growth. It helps us not only understand ourselves, but also the Core Motivations behind everything we think, say, and do. It leads us to compassion, empathy, and restoration as we learn to accept and extend grace and forgiveness to ourselves and others. It transforms our marriages, parenting, and walk with the Lord. Most importantly, this tool guides us to break free from limiting behaviors and destructive patterns and become the people God designed us to be.
If you’re interested in using the Enneagram for positive change, looking at your Type’s growth path is a great place to start. Each personality has specific qualities they exhibit when they are stressed, as well as specific qualities they exhibit when they are moving in the direction of wholeness. We don’t become other Types, but we do take on their qualities in times of struggle and as we move forward in health. Enjoy this free download of each Type’s direction of growth. I hope looking at your personality’s specific growth path inspires and empowers you to integrate these characteristics into every area of your life.
So now that you know where you’re going, it’s time to figure out how to get there! Here are five steps to help you use the Enneagram for lasting growth and freedom.
Many people feel resistant to their Type when they first discover it. In fact, the more convicted, exposed, and uncomfortable you feel, the greater the chances that you’ve typed yourself accurately! I know it can feel like somebody has been spying on you or that your most private thoughts and feelings are being revealed to the world, but try to keep a humble heart and open mind. There is no right or wrong personality Type. Each one displays God’s image and character in unique ways, and each one has amazing strengths as well as its own set of fears, weaknesses, and struggles. God made you on purpose and for a purpose, and he doesn’t make mistakes!
Once you’ve come to terms with your personality Type, it’s time to take an honest look at the areas of your life where you need to grow. It could be a recurring negative thought pattern, an unhealthy habit or spiritual stronghold, a turbulent relationship, or other destructive behavior or blind spot. Or maybe you just want to be better in-tune with your emotions, figure out your life purpose, or have more harmonious relationships.
As you hone in on the areas where you want improvement in your life, remember there is a right way and a wrong way to use the Enneagram. It shouldn't be used as a shield to protect ourselves from criticism or doing the hard work of change. It also shouldn't be a weapon, used to attack others and justify negative patterns. It's meant to be a GPS, a helpful tool that shows us when we get off course, and guides us back to our healthiest path.
Now that you’ve identified the aspects of your personality or your life that you want to change, it’s time to craft your growth strategy. Spoiler Alert: We can’t get to this healthier place in our own strength, but only when we know, believe, and rest in our true identity in Christ. This is why we approach the Enneagram through the lens of the Gospel. We have to know not only who we are, but also Whose we are in order to experience true growth and freedom.
When we’re not resting in the Gospel, we think, feel, and behave in particular ways that harm ourselves and others. But by the grace of God, we can ask the Holy Spirit to help us navigate our internal worlds and bring our personality Types back to their healthiest paths. God reveals to us, both in knowledge and experience, the transformative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. As the Gospel penetrates our hearts, we can find soul refreshment despite any of life’s burdens or trials.
Now it’s time for the tricky part, actually walking the walk! This is where we start using our Enneagram knowledge like a rumble strip on the highway, alerting us when we’re veering off the path of health and freedom. As long as we’re living in this fallen world, we’ll wrestle with our Core Fears and Core Weaknesses, but with God’s help, we can learn to control them, rather than letting them control us. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, “Christ's grace is sufficient for us, and his power is made perfect in weakness.”
As you grow and become more like Christ, you’ll find yourself resting in your true Identity in Him, and your struggles will have a weaker grip on you. You’ll become more aware of your thought process and behavioral tendencies, and learn to replace lies with God’s truth. As you “catch yourself” getting off track, you’ll lose your way less often. When you see the progress you’re making and all the fruit it produces in your life, give God all the glory!
As you begin applying the powerful tool of the Enneagram where you live, work, and play, don’t forget to be gentle with yourself. You aren’t perfect; none of us are. If you could grow into the optimal human, you wouldn’t need a Savior! Give yourself grace as you hit bumps in the road on your transformation journey. You’ll fall down a million times and continue to hit some walls, but keep pressing on. Always remember that you are Christ’s cherished child, and he’s not finished with you yet!
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May these steps help you as you grow personally, relationally, and spiritually, causing you to draw closer to Christ. I pray these insights light the way to empowerment, transformation, and freedom, and I’m cheering for you every step of the way.
Are YOU ready to dig deeper into the Enneagram for lasting spiritual growth and renewal? Do you want to learn how to change the patterns you’ve been stuck in and how to steer yourself in a healthier direction? A great first step is to take my new and improved, free test to hone in on your Type. My 3-step online courses are a great next step! My team also offers private coaching for individuals, families and teams.
For more Gospel-centered insights on The Enneagram, follow us on Instagram @yourenneagramcoach
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