What’s Your Number? The Enneagram and The Road Back to You

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“Once you know your type you owe it to yourself and the people you love (or don’t love, for that matter) to become a kinder, more compassionate presence in the world.

May a pox fall on anyone who reads this book and walks away with no more than something ‘interesting’ to prattle on about at a dinner party.”
– Ian Morgan Cron, The Road Back to You

Some people are hard to understand. They get on our nerves. Why can’t they be like us?

Other people make us jealous. They seem to do everything better. Why can’t we be like them?

We notice differences.

  • Why am I compulsive about scheduling my day while Jeff prefers spontaneity?
  • How can my friend care nothing about the debates yet I watch them with rapt attention?
  • Why could I care less about window treatments and room decor while my sister’s house is perfectly styled?

I want to be more patient with people who are different from me, to love them like Jesus would, but it’s hard when I can’t understand them.

What’s the Solution?

One answer is to become more conscious. When we see others as unique gifts from God—each different—we can love them better.

The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system that helps us recognize each other’s type. Knowledge is power when it leads to heart change.

While other systems like Myers-Brigg are also good in classifying, the Enneagram differs in that it doesn’t just explain how you are, but it also shows you how you can move forward.

Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile explain the purpose of the Enneagram in their brand new book, The Road Back to You.

“The purpose of the Enneagram is to show us how we can release the paralyzing arthritic grip we’ve kept on old, self-defeating ways of living so we can open ourselves to experiencing more interior freedom and become our best selves.”

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Once we understand our need for God’s grace, the more we can accept it and be transformed by it.

The Nine Types

Below are the basic nine personality types from The Road Back to You. Keep in mind: no personality type is better or worse. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Take a short quiz to begin identifying your type.

  • Type One: The Perfectionist
    Ethical, dedicated, and reliable, ones are motivated by a desire to live the right way, improve the world, and avoid fault or blame.
  • Type Two: The Helper
    Warm, caring, and giving, twos are motivated by a need to be loved and needed, and to avoid acknowledging their own needs.
  • Type Three: The Performer
    Success-oriented, image-conscious, and wired for productivity, threes are motivated by a need to be (or appear to be) successful and to avoid failure.
  • Type Four: The Romantic
    Creative, sensitive, and moody, fours are motivated by a need to be understood, experience their oversized feelings, and avoid being ordinary.
  • Type Five: The Investigator
    Analytical, detached, and private, fives are motivated by a need to gain knowledge, conserve energy, and avoid relying on others.
  • Type Six: The Loyalist
    Committed, practical, and witty, sixes are worst-case-scenario thinkers who are motivated by fear and the need for security.
  • Type Seven: The Enthusiast
    Fun, spontaneous, and adventurous, sevens are motivated by a need to be happy, to plan stimulating experiences, and to avoid pain.
  • Type Eight: The Challenger
    Commanding, intense, and confrontational, eights are motivated by a need to be strong and avoid feeling weak or vulnerable.
  • Type Nine: The Peacemaker
    Pleasant, laid back, and accommodating, nines are motivated by a need to keep the peace, merge with others, and avoid conflict.

Rewards of Knowing

Ian Cron gives us two important take-aways from this book.

  1. More compassion for ourselves and others

“The Enneagram shows us that we can’t change the way other people see, but we can try to experience the world through their eyes and help them change what they do with what they see.”

  1. More appreciation for God who made us

“Inside each number is a hidden gift that reveals something about God’s heart. So when you are tempted to prosecute yourself for the flaws in your own character, remember that each type is at its core a signpost pointing us to travel toward and embrace an aspect of God’s character that we need.”

As we better understand ourselves and others, we more fully live out who God designed us to be. Which means, we love God more and increase our love for each other.

The Enneagram isn’t a perfect model. But if it can move us in the right direction, I’m in.

“The goal of understanding your Enneagram “number” is not to replace your personality with a new one. Not only is this not possible, it would be a bad idea. You need a personality or you won’t get asked to prom.

The purpose of the Enneagram is to develop self-knowledge and learn how to recognize and dis-identify with the parts of our personalities that limit us so we can be reunited with our truest and best selves.”

* * *

Which do you think is your number? Please share in the comments.

Learn more about the Enneagram from Ian and Suzanne’s podcast, The Road Back to You.

I’m excited to attend their conference this weekend. I’ll share more later.

My thanks to InterVarsity Press
for the review copy of this book

18 thoughts on “What’s Your Number? The Enneagram and The Road Back to You

  1. bethany

    Interesting! Good to know there is a book addressing this practically! I’m a two with many one qualities as well : ) Thanks for sharing!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I have a lot of people in my life who are Twos with One qualities. I wonder if that’s a popular type! I think I’m a One with Two qualities. :) Thanks for sharing, Bethany.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Cool to know. I was surprised I didn’t test higher on the 5 type because I relate to a lot of those qualities too. Maybe it’s the CoC background in us? ha. It’s such an intellectual brand of Christianity.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh, it’s lovely to see others who know their number. A 3 doesn’t surprise me for you, Jean. I see you as a very together and accomplished woman. I’d still like to read Richard Rohr’s book on the Enneagram also. I’m looking forward to learning more this weekend at the conference about the Enneagram.

  2. Trudy

    Very interesting, Lisa. I took the second test, and 6 is highest, then 9 and 2. I love what Ian says – “Inside each number is a hidden gift that reveals something about God’s heart.” Something good to remember when dealing with others. My heart’s desire is to always see each person through the eyes of Jesus. Blessings and hugs to you!
    Trudy recently posted…God and His Angel Armies Are Always With UsMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Interesting how the results come out. I’ve had to keep reading more to see if my type is really mine. ha. I’m fairly settled now that I am a One, but another test gave me different results. Oh well. It’s likely that we all vary a little from day to day anyway! :)

      My older sister also tested as a 6 like you. Some of the descriptions are spot-on for her; some not so much. But overall, I think it’s accurate for her. And yes, I do pray that the information will be helpful in loving others better, seeing them as Jesus does! Blessings to you, Trudy.
      LisaNotes recently posted…E – Keep Some Empty Spaces {26 Surprising Ways to Encounter God, A-Z}My Profile

  3. Barbara H.

    So the test results said, “It is not clear from these test results which Enneagram type and wing you are.” Ha! I was thinking before I took it that I could see some of myself in several of them. It says I scored 7s in 5, 6, and 1 (with 5 being the highest at 7.7).

    Some years ago a former pastor preached on spiritual gifts, and though I had heard much of it before, he was the first person I ever heard bring up the idea that there might be conflicts among people with different gifts, but they balance a church out. For instance, someone with the gift of discernment and someone with the gift of mercy would look at a given situation totally differently. A church filled with mercy-gifted people would likely go bankrupt due to constantly giving out, so the discerners and administrators help keep that in balance, but the people more leaning toward mercy would help the others reach out more than they might otherwise.
    Barbara H. recently posted…Book Review: The Prayer BoxMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Perhaps that means that you’re very well-rounded. :) I totally agree that we do need all the gifts to balance out our churches and communities and families. God sure knows what he’s doing when he puts us together, both individually and collectively. It continues to make me realize that our uniqueness is something to value, not contest.

  4. floyd

    (Gulp!) I would be a three with a solid dose of the worst parts of a four. Those are pretty direct descriptions and pretty hard to deny.

    I’m gonna get this book. Cron is awesome. One of my top twenty books for me in the last ten years is his book, “My Dad, The CIA, and Me… a Memoir Of Sorts”.
    floyd recently posted…BURNOUTMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I loved that book, too, Floyd! I’ve put it on Jeff’s one shelf of books because I think he would like it also. But he hasn’t bitten yet. :) I also liked Cron’s novel, Chasing Francis, when you’re in the market for some fiction with a spiritual edge.

  5. June

    Interesting test, Lisa! My results were either 1or5 but then it said, “It is not clear from these test results which Enneagram type and wing you are.” Ha!

    After reading what 1 and 5 are, I would have to agree with those results. Oh, and my “wing” was 2 so that makes sense also :)

    The quotes from the book that you shared are interesting and encourage further investigation. Have a blessed day!
    June recently posted…Inspired by . . . sans #write31daysMy Profile

  6. Rebecca

    I am a two, through and through. The creativity of the four is helping me to get out of my neediness a bit. The enneagram has help my husband and I, who appear to be opposites, really find some common ground. I have been sharing the Road Back to You podcast with everyone; such an accessible entry point to learning about how the enneagram works, I can’t wait to read the book!
    Rebecca recently posted…Day 5 Silence as The Roses BloomMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Exciting that the Enneagram is helping your relationship! I hope I’ll be able to use it wisely in that way, too. I’m a One and my husband is a two, and just knowing it has opened up some new insights into our relationship. I’ve enjoyed listening to the podcast, too. I’m going to download the podcast about the Ones on my husband’s phone to give him some insight into me. :) And I’ll relisten to the episode on Twos now that we’ve identified that as his number.


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