In September, we will be featuring blogs and podcasts centered around the Enneagram. The Enneagram is simply a tool for self-discovery and personal growth based on 9 basic personality types.

When I took the enneagram test, I remember doing so because I was surrounded by a group of my peers who were raving about another personality test that they loved. I played along, took the test, regurgitated what I could in the moment and moved on, not thinking twice about it. I frankly wanted nothing to do with it, if I’m being honest. For years everyone tried to put each other in boxes with Myers Briggs and your astrological sign, and initially, the Enneagram felt no different to me.

Fast forward one year later.

I had just moved to Nashville and the topic of the Enneagram came up again… and again… AND AGAIN. Somehow it went from being this personality test to a phenomenon that seemed to be taking every Middle Tennessee Christian captive. Hesitantly, I jumped onboard (more like carefully walked onboard, looking for every escape possible, but that’s not important). After 4 or 5 different tests telling me I was an Enneagram 5, I decided to dig deeper into what that meant. It didn’t take long before I had fully researched all I could about the Enneagram and discovered that all of my quirks and unknown motivations are actually common traits of a Type 5. I was suckered in and although still somewhat hesitant to embrace it, I could tell I was learning about myself.

And that’s what I love about the Enneagram. It allows me to be more hyper aware of my desires and motivations as well as my unhealthy mindsets and habits. Instead of using these “traits” as excuses, I have learned that everything I learn about myself through the Enneagram is an opportunity for me to grow into the healthiest and most fulfilled version of myself. And is that not what Jesus wants for us?

I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

John 10:9-10

A lot of things in life, including personality tests, tell us things about ourselves that are limiting, that steal our joy :

  • Before understanding that I am someone who desires knowledge, others made me feel like I was a know-it-all.
  • Before understanding that I desperately want to be capable and competent, I thought I was being too much of a perfectionist, especially with my work.
  • Before understanding that I am someone who values my energy and time, I thought I was being selfish when I needed to be alone.

Because the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy, I was and am quick to believe the worst about my natural inclinations, but Jesus has come to teach me more about the beauty and abundance my personality traits bring :

  • I am someone who values the beauty of every detail. When I travel, I think deeply about every small detail that had to have been specifically orchestrated by a caring Creator.
  • I am someone who thinks a lot about something before I act, making me someone who sticks to what I say because I am digging deeper into everything I hear and see.
  • I am someone who trusts whole-heartedly once I know fully that I can… not just in relationships, but in my faith.

All in all, the Enneagram has been integral to my life, spiritually, relationally, and emotionally, teaching me to grow. I better understand how my natural inclinations affect my relationship with Christ, my relationship to others, and even my own mind. The Enneagram has taught me to better seek first the Kingdom of God by using my strengths and abandoning the unhealthy traits I often fall into.

If you’re skeptical of the Enneagram and are afraid of being “put in a box” like I was, let me be the first to say to you that this is a TOOL and just like all tools it’s made to help you, to assist you in what you do. Take the plunge, I know that if you do so with the intent to draw nearer to Christ, He WILL draw near to you and help you find a more abundant life.

Want to learn more about the Enneagram? Listen to our MercyTalk Podcast with Beth McCord. Join the conversation on social media! Follow us @MercyMultiplied and let us know your thoughts.