The Why

Why?  Question Mark Quiz Maze Icon Logo  - mohamed_hassan / Pixabay

Kids are curious creatures. Ever spent any time with a 3 year old? They are always asking questions. One of the most often asked question is WHY?

Why? Why? Why?

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?

Always sharing the WHY - Girl Scouts Girl Woman Female  - Clker-Free-Vector-Images / Pixabay

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:.

The WHY at our core - Dandelion Core White Wind Seeds  - lueleng / Pixabay
  • 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.

Why I get it all done always - Superhero Super Hero Girl Costume  - comicvector / Pixabay

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!”.

Why I am sad - Melting Heart Red Melted Love  - LIAN30 / Pixabay

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.

Buckle up buttercup, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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!