The Loner, the Worry Wart, and the Class Clown

The Gospel and the Enneagram

Cali Yee / 7.1.21

Welcome (!) to part two of the Enneagram series. If you haven’t yet read part one of the series, you can go to it here. The purpose of this series is to illustrate how each Enneagram type experiences both Law and Gospel — while still keeping it lighthearted and maybe even fun (?). And remember, the Enneagram is just 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 second of the three are called the head types because the core emotion of types 5, 6, and 7 is that of fear. It isn’t that they are afraid of everything and anything (like the character of Fear in Pixar’s Inside Out). For each type, their fear stems from a different part of themselves or the world.

Type 5s are the investigators. The official definition highlights their curious nature, which leads them to gather knowledge of the world around them. This thirst for knowledge stems from Fives’ desire to fully understand their environment and thus avoid potential threats. They fiercely want to be independent — withdrawing from the world and from others so that their energy is not depleted.

Type 5s aren’t simply the loners who have a hard shell to crack. Their shell is six feet thick, made of steel, and has its own booby trap that even the Goonies can’t weasel their way through. Let’s just say that Type 4s wish they were as enigmatic and brooding as Type 5s (it’s even worse that Fives aren’t even trying to be mysterious). Don’t expect them to make nice small talk in the grocery store, even if they are from the Midwest. But ask them a question about quantum physics? They’ll research it for hours on end, get back to you, and never stop talking about it.

Type 5s need to be reminded that they are fully known by Christ. He renews them. In Jesus, they are not depleted. In Jesus, they are replenished

Type 6s are loyal and trustworthy. They deeply desire to live in an environment in which others are, too. However, Sixes have immense trust issues. They struggle to trust their own abilities (out of insecurity) and often look to pre-existing structures for security. Many Sixes experience anxiety from the “what-ifs” and fear that something may dismantle the safe environment they have sought to create for themselves. 

Sixes are the Piglets of the world. If you ever ask, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Sixes can come up with hundreds of worst-case scenarios within seconds and plan for them all — fully equipped with a helmet, knee pads, pepper spray, and dinosaur band-aids. If you ever run into a Six while they are stressed — which is a lot of the time — be prepared (perhaps with popcorn) for the soap box show of a lifetime. Once the show is over, that is where you come in, because they’re going to ask for multiple reassurances that they made the right decision.

Type 6s need to be reminded that they are safe and secure in Christ’s love. They can trust in Jesus. God is in the midst of their anxious thoughts, self-doubts, and “what-ifs.”

Type 7s are enthusiastic, extroverted, and spontaneous. Such traits lead Sevens in search of fun experiences or perhaps material things that will bring them satisfaction. These experiences allow Type 7s to avoid their emotions and their pain. In fact, they avoid pain as if it were the plague (too soon?).

Type 7s are the people who, upon being told that they need to “feel their feelings,” hightail it to the Bahamas to sip Piña Coladas on the beach. They will then create a full itinerary of snorkeling, swimming with sharks, and meeting new friends. However, itinerary is a strong word when it comes to Sevens. A better word would be spontaneous chaos — ideas for experiences that are flexible to change and never set in stone. Don’t expect them to return until the world has moved on from such a thing as feelings.

Type 7s need to be reminded that God provides for them, that they can be satisfied and find true joy in Christ. Grace sets them free to be fully present in the moment and with those around them.

All three types (5, 6, and 7) experience and respond to fear in different ways. Fear of being depleted, insecure, or unsatisfied. A fear that leads to isolation, anxiety, or avoidance. But grace follows them into these places of fear. And love heals their pain and renews their spirit, for Christ’s love casts out all fear.

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