For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
I am an enneagram one.
The enneagram is a tool to analyze personality traits using nine personality types. When I first had an interest in discovering who I was, I didn’t know how drastically it would mess with my life. I took a test and thought it would be like all the other personality tests I’ve taken – that I would learn my type and that would end it. However this time it was different because it was so accurate.
I wanted – no I needed – to know more. I wanted to find out why I did the things I did. I read some books and caught myself not only learning about me, but learning about those I was close to. I discovered why other people that weren’t number one’s did the things they did. This tool became effective for me to see the motivation behind others. It was this tool that gave me help in explaining behavior. Those explanations have allowed me to be better at receiving and dispensing grace.
I am a rule follower and need order and fairness. I need justice and organization. I pride myself on honesty and perfection. These traits are fine when life is going well. However when life gets stressful or chaotic, these traits become unhealthy and I can no longer achieve the high standards I set for myself.
There has been no better time for me to be immersed in this process, then during quarantine. This is where the stress and chaos have come tumbling down hard and fast. As the weeks kept increasing, I thought about how terrible it is to be a number one. How hard on myself I am. How unacceptable my standards of perfection are. Who would ever want to live as a number one? I just wished I was more helpful like my number two friends…or more peaceful like my number nine husband.
Then I picked up a book called Fierce Free and Full of Fire The Guide to Being Glorious You by Jen Hatmaker. I read this on page 19:
“There is so much good handwoven into every human person. Such beauty. So many gifts to be spilled generously onto the rest of us. We must show up truthfully, because it is in the diversity of our souls this world receives all its needs. We do not need you to be like your neighbor; we already have her. We need you, not for what you do but who you are. Please be her. Please do not shrink or twist or lie or buckle. Please do not mislabel your beautiful inmost being as too weak, too strong, too little, too much. Stop apologizing. Stop shape-shifting. Do the work and show up for your life, because you are the only one who can live it, and the rest of us need you.”
This really hit me and hit me hard. I know deep in my heart that God created me. I know deep in my heart that God loves me. But in the chaos and stress of life, I wasn’t so confident in the fact that God had given me all those number one traits. The thing is though, those traits really were God given, and they were definitely okay. Sometimes in my life those traits will skew a little to the unhealthy side, and sometimes a little to the healthy side, but always they are God given. I don’t need to change and be someone else. I just need to do the work and change the way I react to stress and chaos, which will tip the scales back towards healthy again.
This isn’t easy. It takes work. It takes an endless amount of grace that you must be willing to give yourself. I am working on my reactions, so that when stress and chaos hit, I can just be me. The healthy, beautiful woman God created me to be:
- Perfection is only attained by Jesus and so it’s okay for me to make mistakes
- Not all improvements need to be made by me so it’s okay for me to step aside for someone else
- Organized lists can serve a purpose – until they don’t. It’s okay for me to take a break from the strict day to day regimen
- When my inner critic gets too loud, it’s okay for me to squash it, by reading Psalms like 139 to remind me of where I came from and who’s I am
- When rules are unknown I don’t have to panic, it’s okay for me to temporarily do what’s right for me or my family and re-evaluate later
- God knows me and doesn’t hold me to the high standards that I set for myself. It’s okay for me to be gentle with my soul and take time to breath.
The world needs us, friends. Whether you like to organize and follow rules, or like to help others, or are productive, or creative, or like to pursue knowledge, or are loyal, or high-spirited, or powerful, or peaceful. Whatever traits God gave you, wherever they fall on the Enneagram model, they are just what the world needs. Don’t change you – just change your reactions when the scales start tipping in the wrong direction.
What are your reactions when the scales of your life start tipping towards unhealthy? Today read Psalm 139. Let the words fill your heart and soul. Know that God made you and needs you.