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

Grow by learning your own Enneagram number. Be more compassionate by learning others’ numbers.

Here are the 9 Enneagram types with notes from The Road Back to You.  

What's Your Enneagram Number?

When You Don’t Understand

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

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

Our differences can complicate our relationships.

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

I want to be more patient with those 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 wake up more to each other. 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 understand each other’s personality tendencies. Knowledge is power when it leads to heart change.

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

Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile explain the purpose of the Enneagram in their 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.”


The more we understand our need for God’s grace, the easier we can receive his gift of grace.

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 typing system is perfect. 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 a 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 takeaways 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 more.

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.”

* * *

What is your number? (I’m fairly certain I’m a type 5.) Please share in the comments.

More You Can Do with the Enneagram

Here are two free tests to start identifying your Enneagram number. But don’t rely solely on test results. Keep reading descriptions to find your best match.

Watch the Enneagram Rhapsody video from Rivers Crossing. It’s fun and also enlightening to identify your number.

Enneagram Rhapsody video

post updated from previous edition

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

Book Review – Reborn Again

The Book Begins . . .

I appreciate the beginning of this book:

I challenge you to question every topic I discuss in this body of text. For without questioning and doubt, our faith is both stagnant and boring.”

And I do question things in this book. Some I agree with; some I don’t (as with any book).

Reborn Again is the story of Christopher VanHall’s faith journey from Christian conservatism, through deconstructionism, to where he is now.

Love must be louder

I’ll tell you up front: This book isn’t for everyone. VanHall uses language you don’t find in most Christian books (he warns you in the intro). But he also includes stories of radical obedience that you also don’t find in many books.

So while I won’t give it a hardy recommendation for everyone for various reasons, you can decide for yourself. If you like reading about nontraditional paths to Jesus, aren’t flustered by questioning of traditions, and can listen to alternate approaches to ministry in colorful language, you might enjoy it.

I give it three stars out of five.

The Book’s Meat

With that caveat, here are four lessons I appreciate in Reborn Again:

•  Let go of Christian traditions that are directly opposed to Jesus’s teachings.

“If the Gospel of Jesus is going to have impact in modern application, then it is time to place irrelevant traditions and tarnished systems of belief in the grave so that the historically radical directive of a Jewish, nonviolent, subversive rabbi named Jesus can be resurrected. That directive is this: The God of scripture is opposed to any system of law and order that survives by utilizing hierarchical values to elevate the status of some by lowering the societal value of many.”

“The Church has forgotten its purpose and replaced its historical mandate with ridiculous customs and beliefs that are far from biblical.”

•  Don’t be afraid of the “other.” Let love be louder than hate.

“The acute isolationism of many southern conservatives is a byproduct of fear-based propaganda. There is so much terror surrounding the concept of the ‘other’ and frightening ‘liberal ideals’ that many rural southerners often prefer seclusion.”

“Love never wields hatred, but in the face of hate love must be louder.”

•  Honestly reevaluate the morality of America’s past.

“If we are honest about our nation’s origins of genocide, theft, slavery, neglect, and abuse, it is clear that we have never been great. We have been powerful. Between these two distinctions there is an ocean of difference.”

“The restorative work of the historical Jesus beckons Christ followers to the front lines of resistance and demands that systemic racism be yanked from America’s soil root and stem. A just future is possible, but not until the Church can confess the sins of our ancestors that fashioned the foundation of the many injustices that surround us. Dr. King said it best in these famous words, “The time is always right, to do what is right.”

“Contrary to popular belief, God is not an American.”

•  Let prayer inspire you to act, not to just be passive.

“Prayer does not alter unfortunate circumstances for us. Prayer endows us with the courage and insight to change the world around us.”

“How often had my privilege blinded me to the suffering of the marginalized, when I possessed the capacity to do something about their suffering?”

And It Ends . . .

I appreciate the ending of this book because VanHall has a great “Further Reading” list of many books that I also would recommend, and many more that I want to read. In his own words, he prefaces the list with this: “If the thought, ‘Where the h*** did Christopher come up with this s***?’ entered your mind at any point in my book, then I invite you to check out these amazing literary works.”

He then gives a similar caveat for these books that I give you for his book: “I may not be totally on board with every theological position these authors have, but I have learned valuable information from each of these incredible works that inspired me at different points of my spiritual journey.”

We pass along to each other what we learn from God.

* * *

My thanks to Speakeasy
for the review copy of this book

When You Don’t Want to Show Up

But can you do this?

I’m Not Qualified

It’s Thursday afternoon again. It’s almost time for me to go.

But should I go? Do I even want to?

I volunteer as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher each Thursday with a local group of Christians who want to share the love of Jesus with others in our community in practical ways.

Teaching free English classes is one way to love the foreigner as ourselves (Leviticus 19:34).

We’ve all been a foreigner somewhere, in some way. Then, as now, we needed others to treat us with compassion, with dignity, with attention.

I’ve wanted to teach ESL for awhile, ever since three short-term mission trips over three summers to El Salvador and Guatemala. I practice my Spanish a few minutes every day at home with Duolingo. I use Spanish sporadically at Manna House when I need to translate, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But of course I speak English fluently. It’s my native tongue.

So I’m ready to teach it, right?


Just because we know something doesn’t mean we’re qualified to teach it. That’s what I hear in my head every Thursday.

That’s how I attempt to talk myself out of going each week.

The Voices Say . . .

What voices keep you from showing up?

In my own language, I clearly hear these voices say:

  • “You’re too tired.”
  • “You’re not cut out for this.”
  • “You don’t know what you’re doing.”
  • “You should let someone else do it better.”
  • “You already have too much to do.”

That’s when God reminds me of the agreement we share:

“Just show up.”

He’s been telling me this the past seven years: Just show up. When I feel too shy or too afraid or too lazy, he says if I’ll just show up, he’ll show up, too. And he will do the heavy lifting once we get there.

So I get in my car. One more time. And I go. Just this time, I’ll do it again.

I’ll just show up. But God will have to do the rest.

How God Shows Up

The women in my classroom open their workbooks.

When I feel nervous, I remember that they’re more nervous than me. I see it in their eyes, hear it in their voices. They have more to lose, and more to gain, by learning English. They have a lot riding on these lessons.

But they are also more courageous than me. They have shown up in a foreign country to create a better life for themselves and their children. Some were fleeing violence; others, poverty. Some were following a spouse. Or seeking more opportunity.

They dare to show up as humble.

  • They show up at the doctor’s office when their baby is sick, knowing they’ll struggle to understand instructions they’ll hear.
  • They show up at the store to buy food, wondering what all the labels mean and if they’re calculating the cost correctly.
  • They show up at school for the parent/teacher conference, aware of the effort it takes to comprehend the teacher’s words.
  • They show up at work for their employers, despite worries about having confusing conversations with co-workers.

And they show up at ESL class, thinking that they’ll sound foolish for not pronouncing “th” and “y” correctly or for knowing only a few English words.

And I question if *I* should show up to speak a language I’ve known since birth? As one with power and privilege? As one holding the gift of words they so desperately need?

Maybe it’s not about me at all. Maybe it’s about God. About God wanting to show up.

  • To provide knowledge to these adults seeking to know more.
  • To welcome those who often hear “you’re unwanted” here.
  • To show love just by showing up.

Maybe the Lord shows up to the foreigner (Psalm 146:9) when we show up to them.

This You Can Do

Our class is over for tonight. My five students had repeated pronunciations after me (“participate”, “about”, “talkative”). They practiced connecting sentences with “and” or “but.” They asked good questions of me, some I could answer easily (what is “laid-back”?) and many I struggled with (what’s the difference between “I wish” and “I want”?).

I still feel inadequate as their teacher.

Even when you’ve been speaking it your entire life, English is a difficult language to learn and to teach. But Jim is excited about the latest curriculum we’ve just begun. He says I can take the new book home to get familiar with it. I’m excited.

I tell myself, “Maybe next week I’ll do better.”

But improving as a teacher or not, I remind myself of the main thing: Just show up again.

I realize God can do this work without me; he can help these beautiful hermanas without my help (Esther 4:14). But he’s inviting me to participate in what he’s doing right here.

There are many things I can’t show up for. And many that I just don’t show up for, even when I can. But this, for now, I can do. 

  • I want to show up for God.
  • Show up for my new friends.
  • Show up for myself.

So for now, I will just show up. I’m always glad when I do.

* * *

Do you ever struggle to just show up? What motivates you to go? Please share in the comments.

Related reading:

5 Links, Books, and Things I Love – October 2019

Every month I share my list of favorite 5’s.

Things I Love October 2019

  • 5 interesting things online
  • 5 articles about words, books, or podcasts
  • 5 pictures of things I love
  • 5 blog posts from the month

What are you enjoying this month?

1 Second Everyday

[If you can’t see the 1 Second Everyday video, click here]

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

5 Things Around the Web

1. More Good Samaritans Than Previously Thought

Old data has said that strangers aren’t likely to step in and help someone in need. But this new study says it’s not true: Strangers step in to help 90 percent of the time. I like to believe this is true.

2. Questions to Ask Before Giving Up

You are stronger than you think. Ask yourself (or someone else) these questions when they think “Everything is awful and I’m not okay.” This is from Eponis on Tumblr. You can download a pdf. See updates here.

3. How to Turn Any Vacation into a Pilgrimage

When you can’t travel to a sacred place like the Via Dolorosa in Israel or walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain, here are eight steps to have a more divine experience wherever you travel.

4. How To Be Productive When You Are Super Tired

These are simple tips that help in the short term when you’re bone tired.

5. Should We Take a Few Long Holidays, or Lots of Short Ones?

What sort of break is best? We need daily, weekly, and yearly rest. But frequent short breaks might beat the occasional elongated vacation.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

5 Things with Words and Books

1. Do You #Bookstagram?

If you’re on Instagram you may occasionally see book-related pictures that are hashtagged #bookstagram. A monthly list I follow is Commas and Ampersands. I’m not crazy about the spooky October theme, but she invites us to interpret her prompts any way we’d like. I only do a few a month anyway.

Here are samples of her prompts:

  • Oct 1: What books are you planning on reading this month?
  • Oct 2: Unread or read, which book has been in your collection for the longest?
  • Oct 3: Which author do you always look forward to reading?

Here is my October 1 #Bookstagram.


2. Why Some People Become Lifelong Readers

Why do some people continue reading into adulthood, but others stop reading? First, define what you mean by “reading.”

3. The 7 Best Nonfiction Books of Fall 2019

I always pay attention to these hand-picked nonfiction reads of the season from the curators of the Next Big Idea Club: Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Adam Grant, and Daniel Pink. I’m reading one of these already, Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life by Nir Eyal.

4. Book Fun


5.  5 Books I Recommend

Here are short book reviews of 5 favorite books I finished reading in September, including The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead and Range by David Epstein.

5 Books I Recommend September 2019_fb

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5 Pictures of Things I Love

1.  Sunflowers

One of my favorite things about fall. These plants can be invasive and aren’t always pretty when they’re growing, but they make up for it every September/October!

~ * ~

2.  Daddy and Daughter

Our granddaughter already loves doing the things her daddy Fuller does. She’ll know how to do outdoor things by 2 years old that I never learned.

bow and arrow

~ * ~

3.  Last Days as the Only One

Our next grandbaby will be born this month. My daughter Morgan has enjoyed these final weeks with her firstborn before the next baby gets here and invades her space.


~ * ~

4.  The 4 Corners Minus 1

One of my closest friends Julie is getting ready to move (closer to us!) so Kathy and I took one last girls’ trip to her house last weekend. One of our foursome couldn’t make it but we did FaceTime with her during halftime of the Auburn game Saturday night (War Eagle, Alicia!).

4 Corners-1

~ * ~

5.  One More with the Grand

I’ve loved having so much one-on-one time with this one. When the next baby arrives, we’ll make room for everybody though. (Plus continue some “just us” time, too.)

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

5 Favorites from the Blog

1.  Can You Change My Mind? Can I Change Yours?

Is it reasonable to think we can change each other’s minds?

2.  Are Your Shoes On? Be Ready to Bring Peace

You have a word from the Lord: Peace. You’re meant to carry this message of hope to others. Are your shoes on?

3.  How Do You Settle Your Monkey Mind?

How do you counter monkey mind? To settle your thoughts, focus on an engaging truth. Memorizing scripture works for me.

4.  I Hope He Doesn’t Offend Y’all

Now he brings us water. When we weed out offense, we plant in holy ground. And grace grows there.

5.  Read Too Much? Unlikely, But Read More Mindfully

Is it possible to read too much? The bigger danger is not reading mindfully enough.

* * *

What was a highlight from your September? What do you have planned for October? Please share in the comments.

previous Links and Books

sharing with LyliDeb,
Susan, Maree, Jen,
Crystal, Debbie, Randomosity,

9 Quotes from The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr

I’m continuing to learn from the book without opening it again (yet). It took me 4 months to get through it the first time. I finished it in April.

Since then, I’ve been listening to the podcasts centered on Richard Rohr’s book, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For and Believe.

Universal Christ Richard Rohr

It’s deep.

As with the book, I know I’m not catching everything in the podcast. But as I skirt around the fringes of the message, I hope I am getting closer to the center with each passing.

And eventually, I hope to reread The Universal Christ and understand even more about the message of hope and beauty and the oneness of Christ.

For now, I’ve been rereading through the quotes I marked in the book. Here are nine quotes from the first few chapters.

“The essential function of religion is to radically connect us with everything. (Re-ligio = to re-ligament or reconnect.) It is to help us see the world and ourselves in wholeness, and not just in parts.”

~ * ~

“Contemplation is waiting patiently for the gaps to be filled in, and it does not insist on quick closure or easy answers.”

~ * ~

“Remember, light is not so much what you directly see as that by which you see everything else. This is why in John’s Gospel, Jesus Christ makes the almost boastful statement ‘I am the Light of the world’ (John 8:12).”

~ * ~

“Many are still praying and waiting for something that has already been given to us three times: first in creation; second in Jesus; and third, in the ongoing beloved community (what Christians call the Body of Christ), which is slowly evolving throughout all of human history (Romans 8:18ff.). We are still in the Flow.”

~ * ~

“Seeing and recognizing are not the same thing.”

~ * ~

“We have faith in Christ so we can have the faith of Christ.”

~ * ~

“You are a child of God, and always will be, even when you don’t believe it.”

~ * ~

“In God you do not include less and less; you always see and love more and more.”

~ * ~

“We must—yes, must—make a daily and even hourly choice to focus on the good, the true, and the beautiful.”

* * *

Listen to the podcasts here on The Universal Christ (Another Name for Every Thing) with Richard Rohr.

Do you have a favorite Richard Rohr book? Is there a book you have read that you need to reread to fully understand it? Please share in the comments.

5 Books I Recommend – September 2019

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.”
– Fran Lebowitz

Every month I share the best of the books I just finished. Here are books I recommend from September’s readings.

5 Books I Recommend

Books I Recommend

1. The Nickel Boys
by Colson Whitehead

The Nickel Boys

“Most of those who know the story of the rings in the trees are dead by now. The iron is still there. Rusty. Deep in the heartwood. Testifying to anyone who cares to listen.”

We do care to listen. Colson Whitehead tells a riveting story about a young African-American man who gets sent to a reform school in Florida. The saddest part is that it’s based on a real school. Excellent novel.

[click here if you can’t see 1-Minute Book Review]

2. Range
Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
by David Epstein


Such an interesting book! The paths we think lead to success aren’t always successful. For example, Epstein says,

  • Rarely does a “head start” end successfully, if narrowly focused.
  • It’s better to diversify than be too narrowly specialized.
  • Slow and hard learning may last longer than quick, guided learning.
  • Know when to give up; don’t have too much grit.

This book kept my attention from beginning to end.

3. The Death of Politics
How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump
by Peter Wehner

Death of Politics

This is a book to make you think. You may or may not agree with all of it, but you won’t come away unconvicted. It steps on my toes in places, and encourages me in other places to love more deeply instead of giving up in resignation.

“Our politics is deeply divided because we the people are deeply divided.

“White evangelicals got a seat at the table of power, something that in his life Jesus never did. But this ascent to power has come at a devastating cost to evangelicalism’s moral integrity and credibility, damage that might take generations to heal, if it ever does. To put the case bluntly, evangelicals and others were correct to say that religion should inform politics—but they let down their guard against politics corrupting religion.”

4. Happy Money
The Science of Smarter Spending
by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton

Happy Money

Another fascinating book. Would you rather buy a material possession or an experience? Depending on the situation, the authors in this book suggest you’d be happier in the long run if you invest in the experience. Here are five ways to spend your money that their studies show might make you happier.

  1. Buy experiences.
  2. Make it a treat.
  3. Buy time.
  4. Pay now, consume later.
  5. Invest in others.

5. The Death of Mrs. Westaway
by Ruth Ware

Death of Mrs Westaway

This mystery novel by Ruth Ware is about Hal, a poor woman in England, who receives a mysterious letter saying she’d inherited money from her recently-deceased grandmother. But Hal knows she’s the wrong recipient. The plot moves quickly as Hal meets the family anyway and uncovers secrets that had been hidden for years.



  • Gospel Allegiance
    What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ
    by Matthew W. Bates
  • Something Needs to Change
    A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need
    by David Platt
  • Indistractable
    How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life
    by Nir Eyal
  • Reborn Again
    Crucifying Christendom & Resurrecting a Radical
    by Christopher Vanhall
  • The Lying Game
    by Ruth Ware
  • A Thousand Lives
    The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown
    by Julia Scheeres

* * *

What good book are you reading this month? Please share in the comments.

My books on Goodreads
More books I recommend

sharing with Modern Mrs Darcy