How the Enneagram Can Help You Become A Better Person - A Pastor’s Perspective
"If you have had a desire to learn more about yourself this is the most important message you will ever read!"
"There is a technique you can implement right now! Start with the enneagram test and you will see high results. I can almost guarantee it!"
I have written this post in an effort to offer some practical advice to any Christian aiming to become a better person. Although my ‘day-job’ is exactly that – offering advice to Christians on how to have a better relationship with God, I often get questions on more practical approaches to improve on one’s faults.
My instinctive answer on these questions would always be “Pray and read God’s word”, but today I would like to stay a bit from my traditional advice. The reason for this deviation is the Enneagram Personality test.
I recently investigated this personality typing system after one member of my congregation wanted my professional opinion on it.
So, first I did a little bit of research on the Enneagram system and I found out the following:
- This personality typing system is the oldest typing system in the world, with records of it dating as far back as Pythagoras.
- It works by quizzing you on situations that determine your innate response to traumatic or stressful situations.
- The results from your test will automatically type you as one of nine different personality types, with strong positive and negative affiliations to two other. The nine types in short are:
1. The Reformer - is conscientious, responsible, improvement-oriented, and self-controlled, but can be critical, resentful, and self-judging.
2. The Helper - is caring, helpful, supportive, and relationship-oriented, but can be prideful, overly intrusive, and demanding.
3. The Achiever - is industrious, fast-paced, goal-focused, and efficiency-oriented, but can be inattentive to feelings, impatient, and image-driven.
4. The Artist - is idealistic, deeply feeling, empathetic, authentic to self, but can be dramatic, moody, and sometimes self-absorbed.
5. The Thinker - is self-sufficiency-seeking, non-demanding, analytic/thoughtful, and unobtrusive, but can be withholding, detached, and overly private.
6. The Loyalist - is themselves trustworthy, inquisitive, good friends, and questioning, but can be overly doubtful, accusatory and fearful.
7. The Enthusiast - is optimistic, upbeat, pleasure and possibility seeking, and adventurous, but can be pain-avoidant, uncommitted, and self-serving.
8. The Challenger - is justice-seeking, direct, strong, and action-oriented, but can be overly impactful, excessive, and impulsive.
9. The Mediator - is harmony-seeking, comfortable, and steady, but can be self-forgetting, conflict-avoidant, and stubborn.
It is considered a very accurate personality test when it comes to determining your type, more so than other popular test such as the Meyers-Briggs personality typing system.
Next, I wandered over to the Enneagram Test Queen, the most extensive and elaborate Enneagram test site I could find, and took their detailed quiz in under 30 minutes. The questions were easy to answer, relating most to how I would react and choose in certain scenarios.
What happened next is something I did not expect….
My results came in and I was defined as a Reformer, or Type 1. People who fall into this type tend to be conscientious, responsible, improvement-oriented, and self-controlled, which were all traits and characteristics that I, as a pastor and leader proudly identified with. Now, I am aware that I have faults, no-one is perfect after all, but the parts of my personality I can only describe as “less-impressive”, were identified so spot-on that I actually got a bit of a fright!
You see, Type 1’s tend to be critical, resentful, and self-judging a lot of the time, and even though I am aware that I can be critical and judgmental about my ‘performance’ as a pastor, I never realized that I can be secretly judgmental to other as well. This revelation required my to do a lot of introspection and praying, and the truth was revealed to me in a very convincing and authoritative manner.
Without a doubt, God had used a member of my congregation and a personality test to reveal to me something in my personality that I need to pay attention to!
This surprised and shocked me to my core, and I realized that God truly does work in mysterious ways, and that if you feel that there are aspects of your personality that you need to work on, this test can certainly help you define and narrow it down. I can also, from a professional perspective advice you that if you, as a Christian, do not feel that there is something you need to work on, then you definitely need to take this test, and possibly come and see me!
Once you know what exactly the problem is, it is so much easier to fix it.
Not only does this test highlight this and offer you guidance on how to approach and improve your negative personality tendencies, but it helps you highlight and focus on your more positive tendencies, and this is a positive approach I can surely get behind.
The beauty of this system is that is comes with counseling that can help you work on your weak points form a more psychological perspective, which is something I have really enjoyed and welcomed in my life. Along with dedicated scripture reading and prayer, feel that the Enneagram system has helped me, though the guidance of God, to become a less judgmental and critical person, which ultimately allows me to serve my congregation so much better.
The Enneagram Shows Us How To Be More Human
In conclusion, the Enneagram system offers practical and specific paths to spiritual re-formation that is unique to each personality type. In combination with dedicated prayer and bible study, this test can be used to help you reform and improve on several personal levels. Essentially, the Enneagram shows us where we are more human, and where we need to do some work with the help of God and some good old-fashioned Psychological guidance.
I would definitely recommend each and every Christian reading this post, to take a bit of quiet time and pray on your faults. Then take the test and see what is revealed. God has never failed us, and if He needs to use the Enneagram Personality test to help you become better yourself, then he will do so.
Trust in Him, and take the first step.