The Enneagram and My Faith

As I am pondering who I am during this time in my life, I am reminded by the author of the book, The Enneagram Type Three, Beth McCord, who’s I am. On my Facebook page I list all the different roles I play in life, the first one being Child of God. It’s what I came into existence as first, and plan to leave with it someday. So when I look at all my flaws, I have to remember that those flaws, along with all my strengths, are exactly what God intended me to have. Sometimes my flaws are a strength. Sometimes my strengths are my greatest downfalls too. I believe the Enneagram is going to help me leverage my self improvement.

When I say I want to become a better version of me, it’s not that I am saying I’m a bad person or not good enough, as I am right now. I’m not saying somehow God made me “less than”. But rather, I’m saying I’d like to hone the gifts I’ve been given by God. I want to use what I have been given to the best of my abilities.

Learning to use all my gifts through the Enneagram

If you look around my room, you can see that I have many pieces of art that I have made myself, and they are all based on scripture. They are there to remind me constantly that God is always present in my life, even when I don’t acknowledge His presence, and that He always has my best interest in mind. One more piece I need to make and hang, maybe above my TV, is something to remind me that God cares, not just about my physical actions or words, but that He is always looking at my heart, seeing what my motives and intentions are. Maybe I can incorporate my Enneagram type into the art. hhhmmm…

1 Samuel 16:7 RSV

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

When I first was presented with the concept of the Enneagram, I was in a secular group. And I’m not going to lie, I questioned if it was something I should be dabbling in. It seemed a little on the “woo-woo” side. I was really interested in the information! I love learning about my natural self and why I do what I do – and why others do what they do. And I love learning things like this so I can change my behavior to get YOU to do what I want you to do. Pretty selfish, huh? Well, but is it? Because it’s MY behavior I am initially changing.

For example, with my volunteers I work with, if I better understand what motivates them, I can change how I approach them so they feel more appreciated and cared about… and therefore are willing to a better support system our movement. I was very much in love with my boyfriend, Mark, and I fully know that I am super selfish and well, I didn’t want to lose him. I wanted to change anything in my behavior that might push him away. So this was super interesting to me.

As I do with anything I am super interested in, I dove in head first and ordered two more books about the Enneagram, and the workbooks that went with them, and started reading/listening to them on Audible. What a relief when I found that the Enneagram is actually a tool to help a person understand who they are in Christ and give some insights and direction on dealing with our physical self. One of my favorite ministers, Dr. Larry Hostetler, often said “We are spiritual beings having a physical experience. This tool helps me understand “me” and how God made me and maybe even WHY He made me this way.

Genesis 1:27 RSV

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them.

When I understand me, I can then better understand you. I can understand where you are coming from. I can empathise with you and your perspective. I can feel comfortable in accepting our differences. I think it’s a great benefit to be able to do these things. I believe it will cut down on the amount of conflict between people or ideas. I believe it will open the doors to efficient productivity. I believe it will make the difficult conversations a little easier.

Something with myself that I have really wanted to change in general is how annoyed I get when I have to interact with someone that clearly doesn’t know what they are doing. Know what I mean? For example, when I applied for unemployment due to being furloughed thanks to this whole COVID-19 thing, I was initially denied benefits. Boy howdy, was I ever angry about that. I mean, seeing red and feeling my blood pressure up, mad. I contacted my HR department, asked what they suggest I do, and searched the internet for options. HR came through for me and told me how to file differently to get approved. I did. And I got approved. It took about five days to get things squared away. During those five days, I was angry. The anger I felt was a complete waste of emotion and energy.

I HATE it when I over react. I want to learn how to stop myself from getting “wasted angry” like that. My friend Jill is very good at not responding as such to similar things. She knows it doesn’t do any good and she simply moves into “how do I fix this” mode. She bypasses the anger. I want to do that. I may never get as good at it as she is, but I sure want to try. I think I’d be a better self if I did.

Philippians 4:13 (RSV)

I can do all things in him who strengthens me.

Another thing I would like to do differently is to learn how to relax. I mean REALLY relax. I have such I hard time not being productive. And it really is hard for me to unwind and go to sleep at night. I have tried and tried to teach myself how to meditate to help me unwind. It’s still a challenge. My mind wanders into 15 million directions, thinking about all the things I need to get done. And like a little cloud, I let the thought float on by… and right behind it is the next little cloud, and the next and soon there’s a full on storm rolling though.

I’d also like to be content, no, not just content, but HAPPY being single. I wish I didn’t desire to have another half to my life. You know, a boyfriend or husband. I am more than capable, now, of living on my own. So WHY do I want someone to share my life with? …anyway…

Life is a better journey with the Enneagram

I also wish I was better at saving money. If I’ve got it, I’m going to spend it.

It’s a journey, right?

I did start seeing a counselor about 6 months ago to try to look at these things and, well, Mark dumped me and so our sessions got side-railed by that and then I moved and we are in lock down so finding a counselor here has been put on hold. Which is kinda why I started this blog. It’s a place for me to sort things out and see what sense I can make of these things. It’s also a place to open myself up for feedback and perspective from others. So be sure to leave me comments so I can continue to grow.

The great news is, I know I can enjoy this journey because I have God on my side. He’s given me great friends and family to love and support me. I have always felt loved. Best of all, I have Jesus always walking by my side.

If you would like to find out what type you are in the Enneagram, you can take a free test on the Energy and the Enneagram website. I recommend the shorter one. Be sure to comment with your Enneagram Type so I can learn to better interact with you too!

3 sx 3-6-1

Remember back in March when I said I was a 3 in the Enneagram? I want to come back to that.

The Enneagram is a way of looking at personalities that we all have and a tool to use to better understand, first, ourselves and then, those around us.

I flew through my books. I love learning more about myself and how I can be a better version of me. I don’t know why. I just do. We all have room for improvement, and I can’t expect you to be a better version of you if I’m not the better version of me.

AND

If I am my best self, I can present to you, whether it’s in a social setting or work setting, my best attributes. I can show up ready to be the best me. And, well, that’s just a win-win for everyone.

So each number represents a main personality type. This type is what drives us, motivates us, what we naturally bring to the table overall. It doesn’t change over time. The theory is, things happen in our very early years and we become our self based on these early experiences. We can become a more healthy version of ourselves and we can creep into an unhealthy version of ourselves as well. Some days we do both over and over!

The purpose of knowing your type is to be able to see what triggers us and moves us into the unhealthy, so we can catch it and move ourselves back into our average self or healthy self.

I am a Type 3. The Performer. I am success-oriented, image-conscious and wired for productivity. I am motivated by a need to be (or appear to be) successful and I avoid failure when ever I can. [The Road Back to You by Cron and Stable] If you know me, you may or may not see me that way. Threes are chameleons. We change to fit the need at hand (to be successful). Did you see the Seinfeld episode about Worlds Colliding? That is a real thing for Threes. We are one way with this group and another way with that group, because that is what each group needs from us. We see meeting your needs as success.

Each personality has a center of intelligence. Mine is the Heart. I view the world through my emotions. I am learning that is why I am a cryer. I cry about sad things, happy things, frustrating things. I just cry. Men hate that, but it’s how I am. I’ll even cry because you are crying, which is ironic, because most of the time I don’t understand what emotion you are showing me, or expecting from me.

Each personality type has one of three survival behaviors. Mine is One-on-One, Intimate, Attraction or Sexual behavior, noted as “sx”. Depends on what book or website you are looking at as to what this is reference. They are all the same thing. What it means is, I really value connections and relationships. Which explains why I always want to have an other half in my life.

Each personality type has a Wing. It’s another personality type that strongly influences you. Most people lean into one or the other. I teeter between the two fairly evenly. I’m weird. It’s ok. I own it. Because I’m a 3, my wings are 2, The Helper, and 4, The Romantic. Some days I am projecting an image to please the group and other days I can really turn on the charm and even give you a helping hand. Truly I am Chameleon at its best. But it can be exhausting.

Each Enneagram Type type predicts how one will operate under stress and when feeling the most secure in one’s self. When I’m stressed I become an unhealthy 9. I retreat and do meaningless tasks to distract myself. When I am secure in myself, I become more like a positive 6, and know I am loved for just being me so I don’t feel I have to show that I am “the best”.

Last, but not least is my Harmony Triad. We all have them. Mine is 3-6-1, also known as The Taskmaster. Now I don’t understand what to do with this information quite yet. But I’m going to figure it out. I’ll let you know what I find.

So this is my launch pad for my “get to know me” journey I am on right now. I want to learn to embrace the ME God made me to be. He made me just this way for a reason, and rather than fighting with what I perceive as not so great self, I want to be able to say, “Thank you Lord, for making me this way. It’s a challenge at times, but I sure do come in handy at times too!”

Here’s a few more sources for me to share about the Enneagram:

My next step is to listen to each of the days work from The Enneagram Type 3: The Successful Achiever and really do the work to digging into myself deeper. Hopefully it’s not as painful as it sounds. I guess we will see, won’t we?

forgiveness

What does forgiveness mean? Here’s what the online dictionary says:


for·give·ness/ˌfərˈɡivnəs/Learn to pronounce noun: forgiveness; plural noun: forgivenesses

  1. the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven.”she is quick to ask forgiveness when she has overstepped the line”

Origin

Use of the word FORGIVENESS over time


I hate it when a definition uses itself or a form of itself in the definition… Not helpful. So I looked up forgive and here’s what I found:


for·give/fərˈɡiv/Learn to pronounce verb: forgive; 3rd person present: forgives; past tense: forgave; gerund or present participle: forgiving; past participle: forgiven

  1. stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.”I don’t think I’ll ever forgive David for the way he treated her”
  2. stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for (an offense, flaw, or mistake).”he was not a man who found it easy to forgive and forget
  3. cancel (a debt).”he proposed that their debts should be forgiven”
  4. used in polite expressions as a request to excuse or regard indulgently one’s foibles, ignorance, or impoliteness.”you will have to forgive my suspicious mind”

Phrasesone could be forgiven — it would be understandable (if one mistakenly did a particular thing).”the arrangements are so complex that you could be forgiven for feeling confused”Origin


Spending this time by myself, I am purposefully looking inward and discovering who I am as an individual. Now, at 50 years old, you would think I would know who I am. I do not. I have always, happily, been a part of someone else my entire life.

I was my parent’s daughter. I was born and lived with my parent until I became…

My friend’s roommate. I went off to college and we had the best of times sharing a dorm room until I became…

My husband’s wife. I, after all, went to college to get my MRS. And I did. I just didn’t pick a very good mate. I’m thankful I picked who I did, as because of that relationship I learned empathy for abused and battered women. I also became…

My children’s mother. I found myself, after divorcing that abusive man, a single mom and doing the best I could. Comparatively, I did really well. Though most days I didn’t feel like it. My children have grown up and become amazing humans that I am so proud to call my children. They are married and have beautiful lives. That gave me the freedom to go and find a new love of my life and I became…

Someone’s girlfriend. And I loved every second of that. I truly thought I had finally met my match. We were so happy. We have such similar likes and dislikes. We rarely argued, let alone had a fight. It was bliss. But then one day he decided to tell me he had been lying and pretending all that time. And in the blink of an eye, I became…

Just me. For the first time in my life, living all alone. After a few months of grieving the loss of that wonderful image of a life, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I still have my mom and my children and their families in my life. I am just not living with any of them. For the first time in my life, I can be selfish and do exactly what I want to do when I want to do it, exactly how I want to do it. Within reason. And it’s so strange. And I like it.

Given this time to look at my behavior over the span of 50 years gives me good memories and bad memories. Some of the bad memories I created myself. No, let me rephrase that, nearly all of the bad memories I have created myself. I only have myself to blame. I’m not ready to share all the details. I can share that I have some forgiving to do. To myself.

Forgiving is hard. Period. But it’s the right thing to do. Always. It says so in the Bible.


Proverbs 17:9 (RSV)
He who forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter alienates a friend.

Matthew 6:12 (RSV)
And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors;

Matthew 6:1415 RSV)
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.


I need to forgive others. God forgives me. All anyone has to do is just ask, right?

Then why is it so hard to forgive myself? I mean, for the most part, I am pretty quick to forgive others. And with my memory as terrible as it is these days, it’s super easy to forget what someone did to begin with.

I always remember what I did.

So that should make it easy for me to forgive myself. Right? Not so much.

One of the things I am going to forgive myself for is picking bad husbands. Each time, yes there were 2, they were completely different. One a little better than the other in some ways. Even my last boyfriend was a huge improvement from my husbands. Thus thinking he was “the one” that I would spend “the rest of my life” with. Well, had he been honest about who he was, he would have been. Now, good for me for making better decisions. Good for me for not repeating the same mistake more than once. I cannot control the bad character on my last boyfriend. However, I would like to figure out how to see that coming next time so I don’t repeat that same mistake again.

Another thing I am going to forgive myself for is hurting other people’s feelings. Now, when I realize I have done this, I usually try to say I’m sorry to the person I have wronged. You know, kinda like one of those 12 step things. It makes sense that I should admit that I have done wrong. Sometimes it takes a while for me to realize what I did was wrong. Which means sometimes I can’t find the person to say I’m sorry. Sometimes I can.

Once I spent a good bit of time hunting down an old boyfriend to tell him I was sorry I broke up with him and that I hoped he could forgive me. I was in a really weird and bad place and it’s a super long story but honestly, I look back and don’t even feel like I was living my actual life at the time. I feel like I was possessed for something. I was completely out of character and not just for a day or a week it was for months. My behavior at that time completely altered my life. My ego wants to think that everything was supposed to happen that way so I could be on the path I am on now. Truth of the matter is, I don’t know what I was doing. And I really hurt him in the process. So a number of years later, the internet became a thing and I was able to find him and send him a letter apologizing for what I did. He actually called me and basically told me he forgave me. It made me feel really good that he accepted my apology.

There was another time that a friend, who is, let’s just say, on the codependent side and super long story short, I had to end the friendship because she was causing way too much stress in my life and all of my subtle hints just weren’t working. I ended up writing her a letter letting her know how neurotic and selfish she was being and how it was interfering with my life. Of course that friendship ended. Truth be told, I don’t remember the details of the original letter I sent her. I just remember I told her my opinion of her overall behavior and not in a sugar coated way. Years later, I ran across her old number and text messaging was a thing now. I sent her a long text apologizing for my behavior and asked if she could forgive me. She ended up calling me and saying she could. We started a friendship up again. However, she holds that letter over my head all the time. My ego thinks the letter is still on the forefront of her mind because she knows what I said are things she knows she does but doesn’t like about herself and isn’t willing to work on on her own. But that’s her issue, not mine. The fact that she would even bring that old letter up once makes me question our friendships authenticity. To me, saying you forgive someone, but you really don’t, is worse than not actually forgiving someone at all.

And that’s what I find myself doing to myself. Often.

Over all, I think I can forgive myself for those bad choices. I am going to write down in my goal list, “I have forgiven myself for the bad choices in men I have made in the past.” and remind myself of this daily. Some day I will feel it. Even if I don’t feel it right now. I’m not saying that I shouldn’t continue to own the behavior. I should. And when I do, I work on making decisions that will help me not to do that same behavior again. I am also going to remind myself, when I doubt my worthiness of forgiving myself, that I made those choices in that moment because I am human, and my human side was showing. I can’t go back and do any of it over, I can only move forward with better choices today.

In case anyone else is struggling with this issue as well, here are some sources I found on the web that you might enjoy reading as well: