Recently, a single number has radically informed my self-awareness, my spiritual growth, and my relationships. The Enneagram is a personality system based on 9 core archetypes and used as a tool for reflection and growth into your truest self.
I posted a status that said, “I estimate 24% of my conversations these days include the Enneagram.” Multiple comments affirmed the sentiment, or shared that they probably discussed it at an even higher percentage. Why is this ancient personality system suddenly dominating our conversations? Why is your friend asking you to take another online test?
I suspect part of this can be explained by the publication of a new book (The Road Back to You) by Intervarsity Press, a publishing house with popularity and credibility among evangelical Christians. This has introduced the Enneagram into many Christian communities for the first time (though many of our Catholic friends have been using it for decades).
But my experience has shown that once you sense the power of the Enneagram, you want to share it. You want to learn more, you want to be in conversation, and you want to understand how someone else functions within this system.
This has become a powerful tool for our community, helping us to understand our own motivations and actions, as well as develop compassion for others. I’m able to speak with a shared language, such as “As as Seven, I want to say yes to this opportunity but I want to discern whether that’s the right choice this time.” It also offers us a lens, so that I don’t see a resident as disengaged during group discussion, because I know that as someone dominant in Type 5, he is going to take a longer time to process the information, and I can ask him his opinion in a smaller group later. Furthermore, we are all growing together and learning how to live more and more Christlike.
If you want to learn about the Enneagram, here are some helpful resources. Many online tests are a more recent development (this is a helpful one), so while they can be a helpful starting tool, continue to read and learn more so that you can make a confident self identification of your dominant type. Once you identify your type, continue to read and grow so you can become your most integrated, truest self.
Five Enneagram Resources:
The Road Back to You (This book is a good primer, an introduction to each type and how the overall system functions.)
Typology (This podcast by one of the author’s of The Road Back To You explores types through interviews.)
The Sacred Enneagram (Recently released, this book focuses on the Enneagram as a tool for self-discovery and spiritual growth.)
Enneagram Institute (This website has pretty comprehensive information, including a helpful scale for each number showing healthy to unhealthy levels, and great descriptions of the types in relationships.)
Enneagram: The Christian Perspective (This classic by Richard Rohr helped introduce the Enneagram to Christian circles a few decades ago, focusing using the Enneagram to uncover your true self in Christ.)