Enneagram is all the craze right now. I know it’s true more than ever because the word “Enneagram” doesn’t get a red underline as a misspelled word on my computer screen anymore. Even Siri, Google, and Grammarly know that Enneagram is legit.
Oh, how I fought the Enneagram test, hard! One thing I absolutely loathe is being put in a box. I rather dislike someone thinking he or she knows everything about me because of a few letters or, heaven forbid, a single number. I can always find a way to convince people that what they think about me is not true and challenge all the lines they put me in.
But after weeks of being pegged certain numbers at work, I finally gave in and took the test (in hopes that they were all wrong and that I would score the same percentage on at least four different numbers to teach them a lesson).
All you Enneagram fans, have you guessed it yet? I’m a hardcore Enneagram Eight. Alas, I’ve been pegged.
It was like I had been bitten by a radioactive spider that (instead of giving me super awesome spidey moves) gave me a secret passion for self-discovery and growth. I couldn’t stop reading.
But at times, I was quite disappointed with my number. Anyone else ever been there when you get to the not-so-glamorous, unhealthy parts of you? I was shocked by the tendencies of an Eight and frankly embarrassed by how many times I had shown signs of unhealthy motives. My heart was exposed on a computer screen, and for a little while, I wasn’t sure I wanted anyone to know I was an Eight.
I once saw Fidel Castro listed as an example of an Enneagram Eight. I almost choked on my own tongue. How could I be in that category?
Eights desire to control, almost refusing to be controlled. They’re assertive, independent, and take-charge kind of people. Their greatest fear is being harmed or controlled by others. Eights like to take on a challenge and push others to challenge themselves, too. They can come across as abrasive, direct, and harsh.
Insert my name into those descriptions, and I fit them all (specifically prior to some good come-to-Jesus moments). The plethora of information about all my tendencies and desires sent me briefly spinning into a self-inflicted pity party. Why am I the way that I am? Why do I like to be in charge so much? Why can’t I just let things that I find unjust go? Why can’t I go with the flow like my Enneagram Nine husband (whom everyone finds enjoyable, fun, and understanding—while I get myself into trouble with abrupt outbursts)?
Believe it or not, in my quest to get myself out of the pity party and into a self-appreciation mode, I discovered that Enneagram Eights are needed, too. Did you know that other examples of Enneagram Eights are Martin Luther King Jr, Winston Churchill, and Franklin D. Roosevelt?
Okay, how could I be in that category??
The truth is if you’ve found your Enneagram number and you’re questioning what to do with it, the answer for every type can be summed up in one simple statement: “Become more like Jesus every day.”
That means tapping into the healthiest parts of you and leaving the unhealthy parts behind. If you’re an Enneagram Eight, here are a few ideas:
- Stand up for something truly unjust instead of just trying to get your way.
- Speak up for those who are scared to speak for themselves but in a way that brings change instead of frustration.
- Use your boldness to love on people who don’t get loved often.
- Humble yourself to a healthy authority figure and be accountable for your actions.
- Apologize when people misunderstand your passion for aggression (and learn to tone down your tone).
- Restrain yourself often, relying on the Holy Spirit to be your ultimate defender.
I’m sure if you’re moving toward becoming a healthier Eight, you probably have many ideas you could add to this list. But the point is that every Enneagram number and personality type has a distinct part(s) of Jesus’s character inside of it. We just have to decide to pursue those beautiful qualities daily.
My Enneagram number that could be used to label a dictator is the same one that could be used to describe great heroes of our faith, our country, and our personal lives. The difference, I truly believe, is the willingness to die to the ugly parts of us, surrender to Him, and become a new creation, the very best version of ourselves that He intended us to be.
“Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.” – Colossians 3:9-10, MSG
Be encouraged, fellow Enneagram Eights. All is not lost. We are full of courage, humility, mercy, and heroism. With Jesus, we’ll leave a great impact on our world just like all those other beautiful Enneagram numbers.
Featured Image By Miguel Bruna