The Goodie-Goodie, the Alpha, and the Hippie

The Gospel and the Enneagram

Cali Yee / 7.13.21

It’s here — the final part of the Enneagram Series. Check out the previous entries here and here. No more rants about the Enneagram and personality types from me (although I can’t pinky promise). Thanks for taking your coat off and staying a while. And don’t worry, this won’t be a Midwest goodbye that takes about thirty more minutes before you can actually leave. 

The purpose of this series is to discover how each Enneagram type experiences both Law and Gospel — you may feel @’ed at moments, but we’re still keeping it playful. What’s an Enneagram post without some hard truth? And remember, the Enneagram is a tool, not Gospel!

The Enneagram has nine different types. Each type has a basic desire and a basic fear that strikes to the core of that person. The nine types are also grouped into three triads: the heart types, the head types, and the gut types. The last of the three are named the gut types because anger is their “unconscious emotional response to the loss of contact with the core of the self.” In other words, types 1, 8, and 9 deal (mostly) with anger when it comes to issues that expose their basic fears.

Type 1s are perfectionists. They have harsh inner critics that accuse them of being wrong and not enough. Ones are stuck in a never-ending battle with their inner critic for self-justification. They repress their emotions, especially anger, because they feel this self-control will prove that they are morally good. Thus, anger is manifested as resentment — how can a person be perfect and good unless they make sure not to show their bad emotions in public?

Telling a One they are wrong is like giving a mouse a cookie. If you give a One a critique, they’re going to have a thousand more personal critiques to go along with it. When they think of a thousand more critiques, their inner critic will probably create more. Type 1s’ inner critic is like Jiminy Cricket — if Jiminy Cricket was a suburban white mom named Karen who made it a point to criticize the way you bagged her groceries at Target.

Ones need to be reminded that perfection is not a currency that buys them grace. Grace is free and requires nothing of them. The price of justification was bought by the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Type 8s are known as the challengers. They are confident and assertive, especially when it comes to controlling their own environment. Control is what they believe gives them power over themselves and their own situation. Eights don’t like to be vulnerable, so when they fear that they are being controlled or betrayed they lash out in anger.

Eights are the dads of the world that have to be in control of the family road trip. Don’t try to help pack the trunk — leave your suitcase by the car and triple check that you have everything. You can help navigate, but if he thinks he has a better and more efficient route he is going to take it. And don’t you dare comment if the trip takes more than the 4.5 hours the GPS said it would. He is driving, and he is in control (jerky brakes and all).

Type 8s need to be reminded that Jesus will never betray them. They are set free from their armor and protected in His love. Their strength is in Christ.

Type 9s are the peacemakers. They desire to create harmony and avoid conflict at all costs. They desire tranquility within their environment and within themselves. In order to blend into the background and not be seen as assertive (which could bring conflict), Nines overlook their own aspirations. They overlook not only their desires but also their anger. Denying their anger, Nines believe, is a good way of keeping the peace.

Nines are allergic to making decisions and dealing with conflict. And their allergy medication is to binge Netflix, pet their dog, and stay at home with their Grateful Dead albums. They are the friend that says “I’m sorry” after you told them to stop apologizing. Expect that, in the midst of their struggle with “adulting,” they’ll be looking for a new apartment on Zillow — one that is in the European countryside (but remember, they’re just looking). 

Type 9s need to be reminded that Jesus gives them a peace that surpasses all understanding. They can live knowing they are never overlooked by Christ but rather are loved and cherished. 

Each type in the final part of the triad (1, 8, and 9) handles their anger differently. And whether they repress, express, or deny their emotions, God can handle their anger. There is mercy in the messy struggle for control and grace in the futile search of justification.

For more resources that were used in writing this post, check out The Road Back to You.