Christian lady friends!
This one is for those of you who love the Enneagram, want to better yourselves and also find success, abundance, peace, joy and all the things! What I am going to say is probably a bit unpopular and for those of you who personally know me will be shocked to hear it, but I implore you to consider what I have to say.
I have given up my Enneagram ways along with my past views on self care. Whhhhat!? Can you believe it!? ...I promise this is not my 4 wing talking here just trying to be all different and unique, haha.
If you don't want to read all my ramblings, the main takeaway that I would love for you to get is this:
Understanding yourself better will not make yourself better. In fact, spending more time on self discovery will lead you down a path of emptiness. In addition, the popular words and sentiment of "Self-Care" is not in the Bible anywhere. I repeat.... Anywhere. The more you focus on yourself, the less you will find true joy, happiness and fulfillment. Learning more about Jesus and studying His Word is where you will find purpose.
So before I get into it, I want to preface that if you don’t know much about the Enneagram, you may get pretty confused. So if that’s the case, first listen to this podcast episode that I review later which will give you more insight. (Jump to minute 15 to skip all the fluff).
So it's funny because I have been wanting to write a blog post about the Enneagram and my own self discovery for a couple of years now however, at first I wanted to sing its praises and tell you how amazing and insightful it was for me but now I am coming from a whole new perspective and have changed my tune drastically. Back then I had this idea of how all types point to Christ. He is the true type that fulfills all 9 types. He has no shadow side and is perfect. I embarrassingly admit I even tried coaxing Ryan into doing a sermon series on the 9 types back when we were leading Anchor. Thankfully he knew better and hated that idea. While some of this thinking about Jesus being “the perfect type” is a really neat way to look at the Enneagram, it still has problems because it doesn't jive with what the Enneagram actually was created to do and to reveal, nor does it have any foundation in the Bible, so it just doesn't work. I’ll explain more later.
Let's back up... Over the last 3-ish years I have done a ton of research on the Enneagram by listening to podcasts, reading articles, and listening to books, etc. all while being under the assumption that the personality test has an ancient Christian origin story. How wrong I was. But before I knew this, a few months ago, I started feeling weird about the Enneagram and couldn't pinpoint why. In addition, I realized that studying more and more about my type was bringing me nowhere Not only that, I also started noticing some false doctrine and a ton of mysticism in a lot of the "Christians" who would talk about the Enneagram.
Around this time I also started feeling uneasy about some things that were being said in infertility podcasts I was listening to and the infertility FB groups I am a part of as well as all the entrepreneurial accounts and blogs I would follow on the daily. The central theme was/is very much about self actualizing, thinking positively, and the law of attraction, etc. It started to drive me nuts. If you don't know what I am talking about- it's mainly the whole belief that if you see yourself pregnant or you see yourself as an entrepreneur and you think enough positive thoughts, it will happen. This also runs hand in hand with a lot of prosperity gospel and word of faith movements (i.e. if you have enough faith for something, God will make it happen).
Almost a year ago Ryan and I transitioned out of our previous church and into a new one. Before this transition I had been in a constant state of burnout mode so I was determined to start practicing “self care” in hopes it would help with the sad and difficult time the transition brought as well as our infertility struggles.
Meanwhile I started really researching more about reformed theology through podcasts and books and taking it all in while also continuing to learn more about the Enneagram, as well as these so called “Christian” lifestyle, business, and infertility podcasts. Things began to look up and I wasn’t feeling burned out anymore but there was still unrest in my heart and I felt hopeless and depressed at times. The more I studied about theology, the more I started to notice how our culture is so backwards to the Gospel.
One day I was listening to a podcast called Sheologians (which is the podcast that did the Enneagram episode linked above). In one of the previous episodes, the host, Summer, said "If you're wanting to find more hope, peace and joy in your life, you aren't going to find that within yourself," and it just hit me... For the past 6 months I was dead set on being less stressed, taking more time for myself to care for my body in hopes it would help me become fertile and not depressed, etc. I had been so focused on myself, learning more about myself from things like the Enneagram to help me become a better person.
As a “type 3” who is an Achiever, (rolling my eyes, haha) I thought I needed to stop achieving all the time and just be. And at that moment, I realized I had been trying this for so long and yet I still was empty. I knew my faults, I was doing all the things or rather not doing all the things and taking steps back and focusing on self care and yet I was still coming up short lacking true hope, joy and peace.
Around this time I started to also listen to Rachel Jancovic and her podcast, "What Have You" which I also highly recommend, especially this past episode! I recently listened to her book, "You Who" which was just so stinking good and also recommend. In it, she responds to the popular Self-Care culture especially among Christian women and it really is so eye opening. You can ask Ryan, how for a long time I have always hated the phrase, "You are enough". It drives me bananas because it’s not true- at least in the surfacey way most everyone always says it. We aren't enough and never will be and that is the point! Jesus is and was enough for us so we don’t have to be. She referred to this whole concept plus the whole trope of how we are all princesses of the King. She pointed out how this self focusing culture is very unbiblical and it really hit home for me. It reminded me of the Jen Wilken quote I love that says "Women teachers, let's shift the emphasis from ‘Girl, you are a precious daughter of the King’ to 'Behold your King'." It was just such a drastic change from how I was use to thinking about my relationship with Jesus plus what the culture had been telling me in recent years as a girl boss and woman trying to make a name for myself in this world... I will admit, I was somebody who listened to “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis right when it came out and I LOVED it. She is a fellow “Type 3” telling me how great I am and all the things I need to do to better myself. But then, here I was, realizing that none of what she told me worked and in fact focusing on myself and thinking how great I am, just the way I am, and that I am enough and beloved, blah blah blah just wasn't cutting it.
And THEN Sheologians came out with an episode on the Enneagram a couple weeks ago and I was legitimately embarrassed listening to it. I highly recommend every Christian who loves the Enneagram to listen to it. I was embarrassed for the fact that I didn't ever look into the origin of the Enneagram before. I was also embarrassed when I realized how it had become a lense in which I viewed my whole life. I used it in every life situation- how and why I interacted with others plus how highly I esteemed it as a tool to help my relationships and how I could relate to others because of it. There were countless times that I would say something to Ryan like... “Oh yeah I do that because I am a 3” or “You know you do that since you're a 9”... It was scary how much I thought about it and still do.
So I'm not going to get into everything about the Sheologians episode because I REALLY want you to listen to it. But basically the origins of the personality test comes from pagan practices, divination, sacred geometry, automatic writing and a supernatural being name “Metatron” which they further discuss. But the biggest problem I have with it is how it doesn't recognize how each person has their own personal sin nature that they are born with. The podcast kind of touches on this fact but didn't mention much about the “childhood wounds” that form you into the type you are, as the Enneagram teaches. According to the Enneagram, the so-called childhood wounds are the cause of your sinful “shadow self” and once you know yourself better and deal with your childhood wounds, you will become a better you. I love this quote by Joy in the podcast, "it's the problem with needing to know your own sin in order to be sanctified of it as though we are the ones that do the sanctifying work in our lives" We don't do the sanctifying in our lives and neither does the Enneagram! Only Jesus can sanctify us!
I never realized that before. How the Enneagram is basically telling us that: A. Our sin is caused from someone else or something else that hurt us when we were a child instead of being born with sin and B. We can sanctify ourselves after having more self awareness. This is CRAP, people. It's such a lie. I honestly for a while thought that the Enneagram was a good tool to help bring me to repentance in Christ, but people, only God's Word and The Holy Spirit is what convicts us, teaches us, and brings us to the Truth. Only the Gospel can bring us to repentance. The Enneagram is not the Gospel.
But hear me out, I don't want to sound like you are foolish if you love the Enneagram. I do have one criticism of the podcast and that is that the two ladies don't know a ton of the Enneagram themselves so I felt like there was a little lack of compassion on their part towards those of us who have studied it. Like I said before, the 9 types were created through automatic writing, aka demon writing. Joy and Summer did talk about how the Enneagram is not all false but believe there is a lot of accuracy to it but even though it might be true doesn't make it right. Satan is also called the angel of light who is the Deceiver. Like I said I was embarrassed when I really started finding out about the origin and was wondering how I could have been so deceived. I was duped but by God's grace he shows us the Way, the Truth and the Life: Jesus Christ!
Now some of you are probably like... what's the big deal? Can't it just be a neutral tool for psychology? Yeah, I get that. I love personality tests like the Myers-Briggs and probably always will but the fact is (and they mention this in the podcast) that specifically the Enneagram isn't just about the psychology of personalities like other tests are, it's about finding your “essence.” It goes deeper into more spiritual stuff. I mean, look at all the teachers who teach about it. They are all "religious" teachers not scientific psychologists.
So I say all this about the Enneagram because I am noticing a pattern here. Lately I have seen how a lot of New Age thought and this “essence” crap which is super humanistic in nature has been disguised in sneaky ways that is infiltrating pop culture and sadly and especially Christian culture. It's everywhere. I see it in the self-help bestsellers, infertility podcasts, the creative entrepreneur instagram accounts, some churches that lean into mystic practices, prosperity gospel and word of faith movements and also especially in and all throughout the very popular personality test, The Enneagram.
So here it is... God didn't call us to find our essence. He already told us what we were created for and gave us purpose. If we want to look into how to become a better person and how to relate to others, we look to the Word of God to tell us how we should act and relate. You were created to love God and love your neighbor as yourself and to glorify Him in everything you do. Everyone already loves themselves enough, even if they don’t think they do. Loving yourself will not save you from your addiction, failed marriage, infertility, weight struggles, bad grades, or anything else. That's why God commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves because it's already a given that you love yourself. Even if you're a Type 2 who is incredibly giving to all those around you- you do it because you love yourself and it makes you feel better. All of us need to stop hiding behind our number type, believing that we need to love ourselves more and forgive ourselves because of some childhood wound. We are sinners who were born sinners and that's not because of anyone's fault but our own. Instead of loving ourselves, we need to repent, turn to Jesus and read and study more about Him and his character, love Him more and in turn love others. He will give us true hope, joy and peace and will continue to transform us into more of His image.
Let me be clear… I am not going to be that judgey person who thinks you’re a horrible Christian if you choose to still follow Enneagram meme accounts or whatever. (I will still love the Sleeping At Last Enneagram songs. 3 made me cry!) But I do want to challenge you to really think about what your ingesting and why. God already gave us the only book that can give us true wisdom about Him and how we relate to others. It’s all we need. In addition I am not saying things like self-care is completely wrong either. Ask anyone who knows me well, I have no problem saying no to people and taking some time for myself but we need to not make that into an idol. It’s not the end all-be all and the cure to the trials in our life. It may make us feel better for a short time but it’s not everlasting.
One last thing I want to mention because it was a cool. Before hearing this episode, Ryan preached a sermon at our church last month that you can listen to HERE about the Bible's personality test and how there are only 2 types of people in this world- the righteous and the wicked. His whole sermon is so pertinent to everything I am saying. Also it’s funny because at the end of the Enneagram episode, Summer says the exact same thing- "there are only two types of people in this world- people with stone hearts and people with hearts that are made of flesh. And if you only look to your sinful heart, you're going to be really sad. You might be able to convince yourself for a while that you're working on yourself but really the message of Scripture is look to Christ. Stop looking to yourself."
So I'm going to end with a Scripture verse that Ryan ended his sermon with.
2 Corinthians 5:21
"For our sake he (God) made him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God."
If you have repented and accepted Christ, you are the righteous type- the best type there is! But it's only because of Jesus, and you cannot be made righteous, justified or sanctified through your own acts, from loving yourself more or believing in yourself and having positive thoughts. Let's stop looking to ourselves and let's look to God, the one who created us fearfully and wonderfully and the One who knows us better than we will ever know ourselves!
Love you all,
XOXO - Kimmy