Hi, Friends. It’s Your Enneagram Coach Beth, back to talk to you about something that seems to hit close to home for all of us in one way or another, STRESS! We are broken people living in a fallen world, and unfortunately, that means there will always be situations that bring stress. Whether it’s work pressures, relationship struggles, parenting battles, or just that dreaded rush hour traffic, we all face stressful situations throughout our day.
Though we can’t stop trouble from knocking on our door while we’re this side of Heaven, we can find hope and rest in Christ. I love Jesus’ words in John 16:33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Knowing who we are, and most importantly, Whose we are, is the best way to guard our minds, bodies, and hearts against stress. That’s why I’m such a big fan of the Gospel-centered Enneagram. When we truly understand the intricacies of our personalities and the way God uniquely created us, we can learn to “catch” ourselves as we begin to head down an unhealthy path in times of stress.
I like to think of the Enneagram as a rumble strip on the highway, there to wake us up when we’re veering off course. It helps us quickly recognize when we’re straying from our best path and falling back into common pitfalls that lead to negative outcomes, strained relationships, and feelings of shame and condemnation. When we know how we were designed by our Creator, we learn to apply the truth of the Gospel in the moment, so we veer off the path less often. This is what real growth and empowerment looks like, and it’s possible for all of us!
As a Type 9, I dislike conflict or tension. We Peaceful Mediators want inner stability, peace of mind, and harmony with everyone. Of all the personalities, Type 9s often know themselves the least. That’s why it’s crucial that I know how I tend to react when under stress, as well as what it looks like for my personality to move toward growth.
Though we don’t become the Type we move toward in stress, we do take on some of their key attributes. When a Type 9 is under stress, we move to the average to unhealthy behaviors of a Type 6. This is when I become testy, irritable, defensive, and my mind will start racing with increased anxiety.
To learn your Type’s stress path, check out this free download.
The good news is that we don’t have to stay stuck in unhealthy patterns and keep hitting the same personal, relational, and spiritual walls over and over again! There is true victory and lasting freedom in Christ, and the Enneagram is a powerful tool to help us on this journey.
I’ll share a recent example from my own life. Last year, my family was flying to Philadelphia so I could do an Enneagram presentation, but I overslept that morning. As if getting from Franklin, Tennessee to the airport isn’t already tricky enough at morning rush hour, now we were running late. I wasn’t driving, but I was irritated with every red light, every slow car, and anything that was causing more of a delay. I was thinking of all the reasons and ways we could be slowed down even more, which would truly jeopardize our ability to catch our flight.
As you can imagine, this was not an enjoyable experience for the rest of my family! Luckily, at some point during the car ride, I began to feel the rumble strip inside me. I recognized the negative and unproductive behavior I was exhibiting. I realized that I was under stress, and even though it was for good reason, my reactions weren’t pleasant or helpful to those around me.
By being aware of how I’m wired and my tendencies during times of stress, I was able to fully own up and apologize to my family for how I was acting. Even though I knew I couldn’t fully relax until we arrived to our plane on time, I submitted trust and control to the Lord in that moment. This brought such a sense of relief to my heart and kept the peace with my family during a situation that could have escalated and led to relational conflict as it had in situations in the past.
You see, by knowing we are created, loved, and forgiven by Christ, we can own our shortcomings and submit to the Lord, even in the midst of stressful situations. We can rest in the truth that He is working in us, refining us to look more like Him. Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Another thing I love about the Enneagram is how we can use it to change how we view and interact with one another. Since my whole family is now well-versed in this powerful tool, we know what we’re all like when we’re under stress. Instead of taking it personally or overreacting, we can have compassion and grace for one another in hard circumstances. Instead of committing “assumicide, we’ve learned to ask clarifying questions to better understand and support one another. We know when to affirm and encourage one another when we see growth. This is exactly what Christ desires and commands for us to do, to spur one another to be more like Him.
This kind of awareness changes everything and has the power to impact our family legacies for generations to come. It allows for real forgiveness and supernatural love to penetrate during times of pain, frustration, and conflict. But remember, transformation doesn’t happen instantly. It takes work, dedication, and a lot of trust and patience.
The real power comes when we surrender to the Holy Spirit to do this transformative work inside us. By knowing how we struggle and grow, we learn to walk with the Spirit and trust Him in new and dynamic ways. God is faithful to take us from our current location to our best destination, being more like Christ.
Are you new to the Enneagram? If so, welcome! A great first step in your journey is to discover your Type with our new, free test. We also offer 3-step online courses to help you dig deeper into the Enneagram for lasting spiritual growth and renewal. Our 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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