Towards the end of my faith shift, I spent about a year meeting with a spiritual director. One of the things that she helped me to understand was how I was wired and why it mattered.
Sure, I mean, I knew a lot about myself. I knew that I’m a melancholy personality (i.e. Beaver); I’m an INFJ; My strengths are Learner, Input, Developer, Intellection, and Achiever; and Belle is my Disney Princess. What I didn’t understand was how all of this affected how I related to God.
My spiritual director walked me through the Enneagram, an ancient sort of personality tool, and it was life-changing. She helped me to understand how I was wired (by God!) and how that wiring might help or hinder my relationship with God in various ways. I’m a 1, which means that I struggle with perfectionism. I desire the world and people to be a certain way, and when they don’t live up to it, I feel angry, disappointed, or sad. More than anything, I desire perfection for myself.
And I wanted to fully understand God because if I could fully understand God, then I could be sure to live exactly as He wanted me to. If I lived exactly as He wanted me to, I was sure to be loved by Him, right?
All of my faith shift questions and doubts set my inner self on high alert. Something is VERY WRONG. Here I am, asking questions that spiritually mature Christians would never ask, wondering things that I knew should have been settled in my heart years ago. So many questions and so much uncertainly seemed a long way from perfect, a long way from where I hoped to be.
I’m finally coming around to being comfortable with uncertainty and realizing the goal of my relationship with God is not knowing Him perfectly, but knowing Him and loving Him wholeheartedly, with authenticity and without pretention. I must admit that my inner life feels a bit more relaxed. I’m working on not taking myself so seriously, and I have a lot more fun this way too.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Enneagram, you could check out the following resources (although it’s best explained in person with a trained Enneagram specialist).
- Her.menuetics did an article about it back in 2014 called What Kind of Sinful Are You?; it’s a good read.
- The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr
- Leigh Kramer is a blogger who loves the Enneagram and has written quite a bit about it.
- The Enneagram Made Easy by Elizabeth Waegle is supposed to be a really fun way to learn about the Enneagram.
- If you’re really interested in learning more, Richard Rohr also wrote a book called Enneagram II that offers a little more depth on how each number relates to others, themselves, and God, as well as some fun stories of each of the numbers.