An amazing thing about people is that no two persons are ever exactly alike. Even identical twins are different on the inside at least. From a spiritual aspect, this uniqueness means that nobody can fill our particular shoes. Everybody has a special role in God’s Kingdom.
While this is great to know, sadly many people have not yet discovered their particular role or vocation in life as they are still trying to discover who they really are.
Wrong Choices in Life
One challenge many people face today is that they are involved in the wrong things or are tied up with the wrong people. Sometimes these may be minor, like joining a club they are not really interested in.
Other times it is something major, such as being in the wrong career field or moving to the wrong state. A big reason behind such “mistakes” in life is that people are not really sure about who they are because they are still learning more about themselves.
While bad decisions in life are expected since no one is perfect, it is usually better to avoid making such mistakes as the consequences may be very difficult to recover from. This is why people often seek advice from loved ones to help them make life decisions. These family members or friends, however, may not always know the person’s true self, advising them based solely on observation.
For example, if a person seems to be quite timid, a family member or friend may advise that person to become a librarian, a gardener, or an accountant rather than opting for careers in car sales, the military, or the like. Their basis is the outer self and not necessarily the inner self. This is why it is important to discover who you really are, sooner rather than later.
Discovering Oneself through the Enneagram Personality Test
A tool that some counselors, including Christian spiritual directors, are using to help people discover their true inner self is the Enneagram personality test. Though its origins can be traced back into antiquity, it is still a very useful tool in this modern day and age as people are still confused about who they are.
Everyone is born with a certain internal character or inner personality. However, as a person grows up, they learn new characteristics to adapt to their environment. Sometimes they learn how to hide their inner selves in fear of rejection or abuse.
Other times they learn to pretend to be someone else in the hope of better opportunities or to impress others. Over time, as the individual puts on these different masks needed to survive in life, they forget who they really are inside. This leads to confusion about oneself, resulting in wrong decisions.
The Nine Enneagram Types
The Enneagram has nine types which represent nine aspects of God’s nature. By discovering one’s type, a person has a better chance of figuring out what naturally drives them.
Type 1 – The Perfectionist
This type reflects God’s goodness and rightness. People with this personality type are usually concerned about what is “right” and “wrong.” They usually have high standards for themselves and others, hoping that things are done well and in the right way, all the time.
Type 2 – The Helper
This type reflects God’s love and nurture. People of this type value kindness, generosity, and self-sacrifice. They are usually concerned about the needs of others, constantly worrying if their loved ones need help. The approval of others is something they often seek.
Type 3 – The Achiever
The aspect reflected here is God’s hope and radiance. Those with this personality type aim to be the best in whatever they do. As they strive for excellence, they usually try to find ways to be efficient. This means they are usually flexible, adapting to what circumstances may require of them.
Type 4 – The Romantic
This type reflects God’s creativity and depth. People of this type wish to express their uniqueness. For them, it is important to be oneself and not just follow the crowd. They are very romantic at heart and appreciate beauty in the world and in others.
Type 5 – The Observer
This type reflects God’s wisdom and truth. Those with this personality type desire to know and understand the world around them. They often observe others and wish to delve deeper into a variety of fields and topics. They, however, also seek independence which may mean holding back resources from others (for personal needs) and keeping to themselves.
Type 6 – The Loyalist
This type reflects God’s faithfulness and courage. A person of this personality type wishes to be safe and secure. It is important that they are faithful and that others are faithful to them. It is this devotion to others or to a good cause that allows them to be courageous in the face of threats.
Type 7 – The Enthusiast
The aspect reflected here is God’s joy and abundance. People with this type want to experience life to the fullest. They are often very optimistic and value freedom. Fun is something they often seek, so they usually try different things and choose not to get stuck in routines.
Type 8 – The Challenger
The aspect reflected here is God’s power and protection. A person of this personality type chooses to be strong and does their best not to show any vulnerability. They love to prove themselves in challenges and often prefer to move forward rather than retreat. In addition, they also wish to protect others from threats and vulnerabilities by taking them under their wing.
Type 9 – The Peacemaker
This final aspect reflects God’s peace and oneness. In this type, the person wishes to be in harmony with the world. As they wish to avoid conflict, they try to be open and understanding, helping others to understand one another so that peace may be achieved.
Applying the Enneagram Personality Test with Christian Counseling
It really is a big struggle to always be in conflict with the inner self. Rather than going against one’s nature, it is best to know oneself and realign one’s goals and choices to that inner self.
While there is much material online about this, sometimes the details of it all can become quite tricky to understand. This is why it greatly helps to seek guidance about the Enneagram through Christian counseling. The Christian counselor can work with the client to not only discover their true personality type; but, more importantly, apply that knowledge to one’s career, other pursuits, and their role in God’s Kingdom.
The Enneagram personality test is also very useful in couples therapy, helping spouses to better understand themselves and each other, giving more insight into their relationship.
Life does not have to be a series of trials and errors. If you or a friend has been stumbling through life in the hope of finally finding what works, seek professional help to discover your true self so that your time and energy may be directed towards what is truly best for you.
“Cylindrical Enneagram”, Courtesy of Rob Fitzel, www.fitzel.ca, Used by Permission; “No Reason to Stop”, Courtesy of Lucas Marcomini, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Blossoms”, Courtesy of JR Korpa, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Chess”, Courtesy of Maarten van den Heuvel, Unsplash.com, CC0 License;