I have written a few posts on the Enneagram and how I’ve found the tool helpful. Since there are others who are interested, I thought I’d share some resources and thoughts on how the Enneagram can help in the discipleship journey.
First, a disclaimer. The Enneagram can rock your world. Not because it is mystical and magical but because it reveals some of our not-so-wonderful blind spots, tendencies, attitudes, and assumptions that limit our relationships with others and God.
While finding our Enneagram type might be pretty straightforward and somewhat fun, that is only the first step. Finding our type can be interesting as we begin to understand the why behind our behaviors, habits, and beliefs but finding our type only starts the journey.
Of course, some choose only to find their type, but transformation comes as we “work our type” or use the Enneagram as a tool for transformation and discipleship. Using the Enneagram in this way will take us down difficult and troubling roads. I almost wrote, “may take us down…” but honestly, I haven’t heard anyone who has used the Enneagram as a transformation tool say it was an easy journey.
The things worth doing are usually hard, and using the Enneagram for transformation and discipleship falls into the category of “Hard but Worth It.” I’m only sharing this because when difficulty comes, and it will, it won’t be a surprise. Instead, the difficulty will be seen as part of the journey.
I’ve heard many who have used the Enneagram talk about improved relationships and more joy in life. They know their pitfalls and work to avoid them. So, yes, it is hard, and yes, it is worth it!
You have been warned (and hopefully encouraged).
Finding Your Enneagram Type
Let me say at the outset that you are not your type. The Enneagram doesn’t determine who you are. All the Enneagram does is help us see ourselves more clearly, which can be a bit jarring.
There are plenty of tests online, but the best way to discover your type is to spend time exploring all the types to discover the one with which you most identify. Richard Rohr, a priest and Enneagram expert, says you may recognize your type when you feel humiliated. In other words, when you sense you’ve been “found out.” That’s when you can begin “working your type.”
The Enneagram for Discipleship and Formation
The Enneagram can be a helpful tool for discipleship. When we allow God to use the tool to show us our blind spots, we begin to realize we can’t do this work on our own. To combat the blind spots (sin), we need to allow God to have deeper access to our lives.
As we see more clearly, having a spiritual director, pastor, spiritual friend, or someone who can encourage and help us may be helpful. I encourage you, don’t feel like you must do this work on your own. Bring someone along for the journey, or find someone already on the journey.
The final destination is becoming more like Jesus in love. The blind spots the Enneagram points out are obstacles to love. As we become more aware of obstacles to love, observe them operating in our lives, and choose to live differently, we can love more like Jesus. The sin that we put up with becomes less attractive to us. We not only let Jesus forgive us but also allow him to empower us to be more than conquers!
While the Enneagram doesn’t “make this happen” (Jesus does), the Enneagram reveals places where the grace of Jesus needs to be appropriated. As we welcome and receive the grace of Jesus, we are also able to share the grace of Jesus. As we share the grace of Jesus, we deepen our ability to love as Jesus has loved us.
So, if you want to start this journey, here are some resources. There are a lot of books, websites, videos, covering the Enneagram, but here are some that I have found helpful:
The Road Back to You – Ian Morgan Cron: This is a well-written, good introduction with type descriptions.
Integrative9 Website – An introduction with type descriptions and other information.
Abbey Howe’s YouTube Channel. She does creative and entertaining videos comparing the different types. Her videos can be helpful in recognizing your type.
Dr. Tom LaHue – Dr. LaHue has a lot of information about the Enneagram. The videos can be quite lengthy and more academic. He has a conversational/lecture style.
The Typology Podcast – Ian Morgan Cron’s podcast. He interviews guests covering their type and how they use the Enneagram for growth. He also has some episodes that explore various topics surrounding the Enneagram.