When I first heard about the Enneagram, I was skeptical. Another personality test—a set of questions used to place me into a category I think I might not necessarily fit into. My church, however, had an upcoming one-day conference utilizing the Enneagram to gain a greater depth of knowing and relating to the congregation. Hesitantly, I took the plunge and decided to take an Enneagram online test.
The Enneagram is a typology test, separating a person into one of nine personality types, which emerge from childhood. Some say that the Enneagram number you best match up with is the way God originally made you to be, before everyone else told you who to become.
When I took the online test, I have to be honest: I was sort of disappointed. It wasn’t until I read Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile’s The Road Back to You, that I gained clarification in my typology and began to understand the complexity of the Enneagram itself. My initial disappointment quickly turned from intrigue to understanding and finally to acceptance.
In the book, Ian describes burnout from the church he was pastoring, and how he sought out spiritual direction from Br. Dave, a Benedictine monk. It was Br. Dave that introduced Ian to the Enneagram. “What we don’t know about ourselves can and will hurt us, not to mention others … As long as we stay in the dark about how we see the world and the wounds and beliefs that have shaped who we are, we’re prisoners of our history. We’ll continue going through life on autopilot doing things that hurt and confuse ourselves and everyone around us. Eventually, we become so accustomed to making the same mistakes over and over in our lives that they lull us to sleep. We need to wake up.”
I’m a 2w1 (two wing one), meaning my personality type most lines up with Type 2, The Helper (or my personal favorite title for a Type 2, The Befriender). The wing represents the number that my personality also leans toward—it’s adjacent to my typology number, and I tend to display characteristics of my wing in my personality as well. Type 1 is titled The Perfectionist. You might be able to see why I was initially disappointed when I found out I was a Helping Perfectionist. Yikes. Thankfully, The Road Back to You left my heart encouraged. I can now identify the parts of myself that are unhealthy, and the parts of myself that, when healthy, mean I can lovingly serve God’s people the best, without losing a sense of self.
The Ennegram intends to bring illumination to those who take the test, and Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile’s book beautifully describes each personality type. As I dove into my number’s chapter, I began to relate to the characteristics explained, including the deadly sin my number gravitates toward when unhealthy. Colossians 3:10 shares, “So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Learning more about myself has encouraged me to know more about God: His creativity, His love for us. As Thomas À Kempis says, “A humble self-knowledge is a surer way to God than a search after deep learning.”
The Road Back to You is a useful tool in discovering a deeper knowledge of your Enneagram personality type. Its intent is to help people rediscover who God created them to be, and allow God’s people to relate to one another on a more complex level.
Have you taken the Enneagram test? If not, here’s one we recommend. If you have taken the Enneagram test, what’s your typology? What has God been teaching you through this discovery?
Sarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globe trotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog or on Instagram.