I think I am only the image I present to others. I embellish the truth by putting on a polished persona for everyone, including myself, feeling I can only be loved by appearing or feeling accomplished. I avoid failure at all costs. I shape shift into any image that helps me appear successful and hide anything that doesn’t conform to this image, bragging, flaunting my accomplishments, dressing well or owning expensive items.
The good news is, I already have it all through Jesus.
I’m sitting here on furlough, discovering today that this week’s payment has been denied. Rent is due this weekend. I am freaked out. I do this to myself. I buy things that I really don’t NEED. I could sit here and just watch TV. i don’t need to crochet a blanket for my bed? I don’t need to can food. I don’t need plants on my porch. I tell myself I need these things to keep me from being bored. I want to portray an “I’m doing fine image to everyone around me. Truth is, everyone around me would completely understand if I wasn’t fine. So here I am, freaking out because I have $600 to my name and I need about $1000 to pay all my bill that are due this coming weekend.
You know what? I’ll be fine. I can pay them late. I know they will understand because of the shape our world is in.
I can learn from this moment and stop spending money. I need to eat everything in this house before I buy anything more. I have plenty to entertain myself with here.
And just like that, I am no longer freaked out! I am sure I will have a couple more moments, but God’s in control and I am not. And that’s a good thing. It gives me peace. So is this a polished persona?? UGH!!
Today I am thinking about my core desires as a Type 3 in the Enneagram. They are the things that I am always pushing towards. My positive motivations, if you will. They are what I believe deep down will satisfy all my cravings, make me feel whole and make my life complete.
Surprisingly, it’s not a man.
Here’s the list of core desires:
This is why I am always striving to reach lofty goals, so I get the attention, affirmation and respect from those around me.
I look at my life and for the most part, I do not feel like success. I don’t even make my age annually. Someone told me when I was about 32 that as a woman, I should try to have my income at least match if not supersede my age times $1000 annually. So at 32 i should have been making $32,000 a year. I don’t do that. In fact, I am just now barely making enough to be able to afford to live on my own.
I am very proud of finally making it to this point. I can give you all me excuses.
I was a single mom that had to balance 2 kids, work, hobbies, friends, other family, all on my own. My ex-husband was a dead beat and it wasn’t until my kids were well into their 20s before the state decided to track him down and make him pay the back child support he owed. THAT put a strain on me. I did my best to do it all AND to make it look easy, but it wasn’t. I’m a worn out hot mess now.
Because I was a single mom, I didn’t feel like I could climb the corporate ladder. Who was going to take care of my kids while I was on business trips? Or working later than I already was? I had the opportunity but choose not to so I could be an OK mom to my kids. They already didn’t have a dad around.
My alleged best friend, that I worked with for a while, turned into a psycho B!+@# and I couldn’t handle working with her anymore. So I left that really good job. I really enjoyed that job and wished she would have left instead. It worked out OK because I would have felt guilty leaving when…
I was an idiot and followed my 2nd ex-husband every time he decided to move. OK, it was only twice over 10 years. Me leaving him was the 3rd time and each time MY work life was disrupted. I did make some great friends from those moves. Ladies I still visit with on Facebook to this day. In fact, now that I am living back in the Midwest, closer to those gals, I am going to take a trip up to spend a long weekend with them, hopefully on a quarterly basis, after this crazy COVID-19 is gone.
When my last boyfriend, whom I lived with, dumped me out of the blue, it was just the shove I needed to look around and see what I could do to step up my game in my work life. Funny thing is, I found a job at another Council doing the exact same thing I absolutely loved doing in Phoenix for $10,000 a year more. AND the cost of living is 2/3 of what it is in Phoenix. That’s how I now have my very first place of my own – ever.
So as you can see from my life’s path, these desires are what drive me to be my best, but they also make me feel my worst.
Here’s a little secret, that I know, but mostly always forget: God has already given all my core desires through Jesus. He did it without even looking at my actions. He did it just because I exist!
He gave me such amazing skills and I want to use them to the best of my ability to shoe Him how thankful I am for these gifts. AND even if I didn’t do anything worth writing home about, He still loves me and finds me to be amazing! What a concept, huh?
As a parent, when you find a child does something they know they weren’t supposed to do, we ask them why. Why did you do that? You know that’s not allowed, don’t you? We want to know what motivates their behavior, maybe so we can prevent them from doing it again. We want to know how they justified their behavior that we think is unacceptable. Maybe something else happened and they had to take that action to avoid harm.
Right now, I am asking myself WHY? Do I do the things I do? Why do I do that this way and not that? Why is it so hard to do things differently? Why did God make me this way if it’s not always acceptable for me to be this way all the time?
My poor volunteers with the Girl Scouts. I am always explaining WHY I am asking them to do the things I am asking them to do. I explain why, because I am the type of person who wants to know why, so I can get on board with it. Too, I want to know why because I might have a more efficient way of doing it. They might too! And I want to learn that. Some of my volunteers appreciate the “why”. Some don’t.
The Enneagram helps me find the why about my behavior. And I like knowing why. If I know why, then I might be OK with it.
Because the Enneagram is about our core motivations, why we do what we do, it’s super hard to figure out what types others are. That’s why I am always asking everyone I care about to take the Enneagram test and tell me what they think they are. I can guess Jill is an 8, or Mark is a 1. But if YOU don’t agree those are your motivations, I won’t know if they are correct, and therefor won’t be able to understand the different ways we approach the same situation.
So the Enneagram looks at our core, the central, innermost, or most essential part of us. There are 4 parts:.
Core Fear: what I am always avoiding and trying to prevent from happening
Core Desire: what I’m always striving for, believing it will completely fulfill me
Core Weakness: the issue I’m always wrestling with
Core Longing: the message my heart always wants to hear
So diving right into my type, my core motivations are:
Core Fear: Being exposed as or thought incompetent, inefficient or worthless. Failing to be or appear unsuccessful.
Core Desire: Having high status and respect. Being admired, seen as successful and valuable.
Core Weakness: Deceit. Deceiving myself into believing I’m only the image I present to others. Embellishing the truth by putting on a polished persona for everyone, including myself, to see and admire.
Core Longing: I am loved for simply being me.
Boy howdy, if that ain’t the truth in a nutshell.
So all of these things aren’t necessarily bad. I mean, God made me this way, right and these things are not only my weaknesses, but my strengths as well. I can totally perform under pressure. I’m the person you send in when you want it done right the first time. I generally make an amazing first impression. I can work a crowd like no other. I’m the person you always put 4th on the line up to bring them all home because I’m always going to knock it out of the park. I am able to spin the truth to fit the present needs and you will buy it – hook, line and sinker. And all I need is a pat on the back and a “I couldn’t have done it without you!”.
These things are also the things I tell myself when I’m alone at night, crying in my bed, feeling like I have no idea who I really am, thinking I honestly have no real friends, feeling so down and just wanting someone to let it all out to, but can’t because that would mean sharing my vulnerability with them and what if they don’t love me any more? It’s what makes me feel alone and lonely in a crowd, why I struggle with depression, see a counselor and sometimes take happy pills. This is what I, and other threes like me, will always struggle with until I’m in heaven. What a wonderful reminder that I need God’s help on a daily basis. My room is filled with art work I have made, reminding me how God loves me in spite of all this.
So there’s a fine line between keeping all of those things and changing them as well. But I have to own all of it first. And that is what this time for me, with me, is all about. It’s about exposing the condition of my heart. Then loving it, even the yucky parts. Then really taking the time and doing the work to be a better me.
It’s not an easy path. If it were, we would all be on it, right? Maybe in someway we are. I just know it’s hard for me to see my flaws and be OK with having them. I see them. If I didn’t I would be on this journey. It’s the embracing them and owning them that is super difficult. There’s going to be crying, and frustration and praying and ugly. Then there can be forgiveness and mercy and grace and improvement.