Your Personality Is the Gift, Not the Box {Enneagram Series Coming}

Is Your Personality Limiting?

It’s not that I don’t want to.

It’s just that I can’t.

Do you ever feel that way?

We all have limitations. Some physical, some emotional, some mental. We can strength train and practice free throws and scrimmage with the best basketball players, but it’s highly unlikely any of us will ever play in the NBA, for instance.

Our personalities can feel like a limitation at times, too. As an introvert, I periodically need a break from people. I need to recharge in solitude, in time alone with God, if I want to function in optimal ways.

But does my personality lock me into a box?

Step Out of the Box

We’re different from each other. Every one of us. No two are exactly alike.

Some of our friends are homebodies. Some are constantly on the go. Some want their outsides to look perfect. Some want to go deeper instead.

There’s no perfect system for categorizing our circle of friends or ourselves. Nor would we want one.

But there are healthy ways to examine behaviors, motives, and spiritual paths. Specifically our own.

When we know ourselves better, we are more open to God at work in our lives. And we interact with more grace toward those around us.

Anne Bogel puts it this way in Reading People:

“Understanding our personalities makes it significantly easier to change the things within our grasp. . . . I’ve found that understanding my personality helps me step out of the box I’m trapped in. When I understand myself, I can get out of my own way.”

Learning to understand myself and others is one reason I like the Enneagram.

The Enneagram (pronounced ANY-a-gram) is one tool among many to open previously-closed windows to our souls. It allows space for the Holy Spirit to breathe fresh air into our relationships with God, with our loved ones, and with ourselves.

It unlocks the box and lets our personalities come home.

Daily Series on the Enneagram

Enneagram soon

If you want to learn more about yourself through the Enneagram, too, join me daily in February. We’ll examine twenty ways to practice the Enneagram for spiritual growth. (I’m participating with Anita Ojeda’s blogging challenge, #Write28Days.)

Whether you’re already familiar with the Enneagram or if this is your first time hearing about it, we’ll walk step-by-step through nine basic personality types, honing our understanding of ourselves, and preparing room for God to continue transforming us into his image of love and goodness.

I’m not a professional, but I will share what I’ve learned from the professionals and what I’ve seen and experienced. God can fill in the gaps. He designed each of us uniquely, so he knows best how to guide us.

The series will include:

  • How to identify your type
  • Spiritual practices for each type
  • Online resources
  • Subtypes and wings
  • Relationships between types
  • Heart, head, and gut triads
  • Stress and health directions
  • and much more

Our personality type doesn’t have to be a binding limitation. We can learn to work with it, not against it. It can be a gift, if we use it as God designed it for us.

“Learning to see ourselves for who we truly are is a gift of grace. The Enneagram helps us do just that.”
– Christopher Heuertz, The Sacred Enneagram

Practice the Enneagram Together

Here are four ways to follow the Enneagram series. I hope you’ll add your comments, questions, and experiences along the way.

1. Sign up here to get the Enneagram series via email.
Each post comes to your inbox. (If you already subscribe to the blog, do nothing. It’ll come to you.)

2. Bookmark the index page(not active until Saturday, February 1)
This link will take you to the index page for the series, beginning February 1.

3. Subscribe in your favorite news reader.
Feedly is my favorite. I do all my blog reading there.

4. Join me on Facebook.
I’ll link the daily post on my LisaNotes FB page.

* * *

What’s your Enneagram type? Do you have a favorite personality system—Myers-Briggs, five love languages, Keirsey Temperaments, DISC, etc.?  Please share in the comments.

36 thoughts on “Your Personality Is the Gift, Not the Box {Enneagram Series Coming}

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I hear you, Rebecca. I got different results with every test I took. So I quit taking the tests. 🙂 I haven’t found them to be accurate. They may rule out some types, but they don’t necessarily pick the correct one.

      I think the best way to decide our type is by reading the descriptions and seeing which one fits. Often it’s the one that makes us cringe. 🙂

  1. blankMartha J Orlando

    Although I’ve heard the Enneagram mentioned by others, I’ve never taken an actual test, nor do I understand exactly how the results can be used to better ourselves. I’m really looking forward to this journey of discovery with you, Lisa!
    Blessings!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I love your openness, Martha. What I’ve appreciated the most about the Enneagram is the fruit that I’ve seen from it. Not because it’s a magical system, but because it helps people better understand how God wired them. It produces more compassion and contentment, not only for ourselves, but for other people, and can draw them closer to God if they’re willing. There are lots of ways to go about this without any kind of system, Enneagram or otherwise, (such as really listening to each other!), but the Enneagram can help make it clearer, quicker.

  2. blankBarbara Harper

    Way back a long time ago when people wrote about four spiritual temperaments, I classified myself as melancholic. I always hated that the label sounded like I was mildly depressed, when that’s not what it meant. 🙂 I think these were loosely related to the Meyers-Brigg somehow, except I think MB has more categories (it’s been a long time since I read about them).

    I haven’t been much into the Enneagram because I kept reading posts and reviews where people had to read three or four books before they figured out their type. I did not want to invest that much time, ha! Plus I am totally confused by the aspect of wings. Maybe your posts and Mary’s will break it down for me.

    As you replied to Rebecca, I tend to focus more on the individual personality traits than trying to figure out which type they fit into. I know I am an introvert, task-oriented, and detail-oriented, and I’ve learned (and am still learning) the good points of those traits, bad points, ways of coping, and ways of stepping out of my comfort zone. I’m looking forward to your series to pick up on some of those kinds of things. And who knows, maybe I’ll get hooked into doing more reading about it. 🙂

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I remember the Four Animals phase; I think back then I was classified as a lion. I probably wouldn’t be now. ha. I envied those who tested as Golden Retrievers. 🙂

      There are lots of confusing things about the Enneagram, I agree. But the basic nine numbers are fairly straightforward, when stripped of everything else. But as with most things in life, the deeper you want to go with it, the more you can gain. It kind of gives you a spiritual path forward instead of just a static point like some of the systems. If we’re a withdrawing type, for instance, it can help us reach out more in ways that work best for us, etc.

      Here’s a quick primer on wings. 🙂 They are simply the two numbers before and after your central number. I identify mostly as a 5 (the Investigator). So my wings (a secondary tendency) are 4 (the Individualist, creative, emotional) and/or 6 (the Loyalist, more fear-based). I see all these in myself.

      Usually you relate to one of the two wings (or possibly neither). Some say that people lean toward one wing in the first half of life, and the other wing in the second half of life. ? But I don’t know. ha.

      But ultimately, everyone has a little of every number in them since we’re all created in the image of God who is the perfect Being. We just lean more toward one number than the rest.

  3. blankLois Flowers

    This is so interesting, Lisa. I admit that all the numbers and secondary categories have confused me in the past, so I will be looking forward to reading how you break it all down in the coming weeks. 🙂

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I hope I can make it more understandable and not more confusing! ha. The Enneagram has been a fascinating topic to me. I went to a conference a few years ago with a friend and we learned so much. It hooked me then.

  4. blankTrudy

    This is intriguing, Lisa. I especially love how you will relate it to spiritual growth. I know it will benefit me to understand more and appreciate more how God wired me. I’m looking forward to your posts! Love and blessings to you!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Trudy. It’s been fun doing more research as I get ready for the series. I didn’t realize how many books on the Enneagram that I’ve read the past few years. lol. I’m glad to see more books lately focusing on the spiritual growth side of it.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      It’s so interesting to me how we can experience the same situations so differently just because of the way we’re wired. God is definitely very creative! 🙂 Thanks, Laurie.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I hope it will be helpful in sorting out numbers and other miscellaneous things that go along with the Enneagram. 2s are the Helpers which is a trait we all strive to be. What I find interesting from my Christian women friends who take the tests is the disproportionate number who score as 2s, when 2s aren’t the most prolific number of people on the Enneagram. ha. I think the tests aren’t very accurate. However, you may really be a 2 yourself, Barbie! 🙂 It will be interesting to see!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Amy. I’ve had so much fun gathering info for the Enneagram series. I feel like I’m doing a research paper for school again, except this time I’m enjoying it and am doing it because I want to, not because I have to. ha.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Best comment ever, Floyd. 🙂 I had to read that one aloud to Jeff. Not sure if the younger crowd would get it but we oldies remember Sybil (and how scared it made me).

  5. blankMichele Morin

    I could talk and think about the Enneagram all day long!
    It’s so fascinating, and I’m looking forward to the conversation here and at Mary’s place! (And it will be fun to see the different ways a 5 and a 2 share thoughts on the same topic. That’s a study in itself, right?)

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I’ve thought the same thing, Michele! The approach taken by a 5 and 2 should be very different. lol. I already see how driven I’ve been to gather facts and put things in a spreadsheet, etc., whereas Mary is encouraging us to tell our stories. I’m glad that God makes room for all the different personality types because all are needed.

  6. blankTheresa Boedeker

    Anxious to follow your posts. I found out about the Enneagram about a year ago and think it is another helpful tool to understanding our self. It can make you feel less alone, because you know others are out there with the same tendencies and need to work on the same thing. Because that is one thing for sure, it will magnify your problem areas. 🙂 (And I say that in a good way.)

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I feel the same way, Theresa. It’s nice to discover that others have the same shadow selves as we do. 🙂 I don’t want to be the only one with the quirks I have. lol. I remember reading about Fives and feeling like I’d found my people (in some ways anyway).

  7. blankLesley

    Sounds like an interesting series. I think I’m a 6 but I feel like I haven’t really got my head round the enneagram so it will be interesting to learn more from your series and Mary’s. I think understanding ourselves and others can really help – I found Myers Briggs very helpful for understanding myself and being able to explain it to someone who was the complete opposite.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Yes, Myers Briggs is another really helpful tool. It has helped so many people. Unlike the Enneagram tests, I get consistent results with the Myers Briggs test. 🙂 Every time I test as an ISFJ-A.

  8. blankMary Geisen

    I’m so glad you’re Enneagram series begins tomorrow. It will be interesting to read your posts as well as the upcoming guests such as yourself over at my place. Thanks for the suggestion of the new Enneagram book in your previous post.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I’m so enjoying your series already and love that we’re dovetailing with each other, giving different perspectives and angles of the Enneagram. It’s such a broad topic that it seems bottomless. I think you’d appreciate the new Enneagram book too. I heard the author on a podcast and I was convinced then that I needed to get the book.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Susan. Yes, I’m always leary to recommend a test because I don’t think the results are consistent, but I guess it at least gives people a headstart in ruling out certain numbers, even if it doesn’t necessarily narrow it down to the one correct number. It’s really an inside job to determine our type instead of a test telling us. 🙂

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