I’ve noticed that most church members never venture into the church office. For those that have, they know that we have a large community table in the back where you’ll often find our entire staff doing our work together. Papers, laptops, and tangled charging cords cover the surface of the table. We barely have enough room to do our work, but being together is worth the mess.
A frequent topic of conversation at our giant worktable is the Enneagram Personality test. The Enneagram classifies humans into 9 different personalities. I think I can classify it by two… either you’re a person who loves personality tests, or you think they’re stupid, too broad, and inaccurate. Tara, our new Children’s Pastor, is the first type of person. She’s crazy about this test, and she’ll be the first one to tell you all about it!
In an effort to get to know Tara and to have a better understanding of what she was constantly talking about during our group work sessions, I took the test. I also roped my good friend Natasha into doing it as well. I had a rough notion of what it was all about. I’ve heard people say, “I’m a 4.” “She’s totally a 7!” or “You’re acting like an 8 right now.” I’m no expert by any means. I have no idea what type of research went into creating this system of classifying personalities. All I know is that Enneagram says I’m a 1.
So is Tara by the way. And Cassie. Type One unite!
(Side question – is it a very “Type 1” thing to do to pay $12 for the official test? I had no idea this thing could have been a free learning experience. I guess, if you’re going to do something, might as well do it right. Enneagram experts… feel free to chime in and analyze me.)
Let me give you a breakdown of what “Type 1 – The Reformer” means. Here is a direct quote from my Enneagram results.
- “Generally, ones are conscientious, sensible, responsible, idealistic, ethical, serious, self-disciplined, orderly, and feel personally obligated to improve themselves and the world.
- Ones get into conflicts by being opinionated, impatient, irritable, rigid, perfectionistic, critical (and self-critical), sarcastic, and judgmental.
- At their best, ones are tolerant, accepting, discerning, wise, humane, prudent, principled, fair, and able to delay rewards for a higher good.”
When I took this test, there was a long paragraph at the bottom, reminding me of my inner thoughts that I rarely acknowledge. It was an entire segment dedicated to explaining that Type Ones are put together on the outside, but on the inside frequently tearing themselves down.
Since taking this test, I have realized God wants to deal with this inner dialogue. He used the test to bring it up. When I flip back through my prayer journals, I mostly find huge apologies to God where I am putting myself down for not living up to certain standards. I am constantly promising God that I’ll change, that I won’t live this up and down, roller coaster life with him anymore… “Today’s a new day, Lord! I’ll be better!”
While it is a Biblical practice to repent before the Lord, and to look at yourself with honesty and humility before God, I find that often I have taken it too far. I berate myself for my inconsistencies in prayer or Bible reading. It’s constantly a negative experience to go before the Lord because I rarely celebrate his Grace, Love, Salvation or Peace. Instead, I focus on my own shortcomings.
I have a feeling that this describes more Enneagram numbers than just mine.
How many of us are doing well with our daily devotions and personal prayer times with the Lord? How many of us are satisfied with the amount of time we spend sitting in God’s presence? My guess is that we all wish we were more consistent or more open, or more devoted throughout our days.
I want to share one thing that has been anchoring my life in the past month. It’s the idea of daily scripture meditation. For some reason, this method of spending time with God has been filling me like I haven’t experienced in my life before. It has transformed not only my mind and life, but also Anthony’s. It impacted Anthony so much that he created a podcast for anyone to follow if they want to meditate on scripture. (To find this podcast and follow along with us, search “Strong Hearts” in your Podcast app and subscribe)
Here’s how this method of scripture meditation has been working for us.
- Pick a scripture to meditate on. It doesn’t have to be “the one” scripture that you need, it just has to stand out to you. An easy way to pick a verse is to go with whatever the verse of the day is on your Bible app.
- Break down the verse into phrases, or chunks.
- Take each phrase and repeat it out loud in rhythm eight times.
- Repeat phrase 2 out loud eight times.
- Add phrase 1 and 2, repeating them together eight times.
- Continue this pattern until you’ve finished the verse.
- Take a few minutes to pray through the verse and anything God has spoken to you through out the meditation time.
I believe that this type of scripture meditation is working for me because of the different aspects of my personality. I want structure, and meaning. I need help focusing on God’s word rather than my feelings about myself. I desperately want to base my life on the Truth of God, and meditation with the Lord in this way has been so helpful to overcoming my habit of apology letters to God.
We are all created with certain traits that we have to allow the Lord to work through, and your traits are probably different than mine. I know that I am definitely a work in progress. I’m sure you are too. I hope this tool helps you connect with God on a deeper, more consistent basis, no matter what your enneagram number is.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Laura McLeod
I have been married to my husband, Anthony, since 2013. We have one child, born in 2018! I graduated from Northwest University with a BA in General Ministries. I worked in church administration for 2 years prior to being hired at Valley Christian, where I worked in Admissions, HR, and Youth Ministry before my current position.
At VCC since 2014