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