The Pushover, the Workaholic, and the Drama Kid

The Gospel and the Enneagram

Cali Yee / 6.15.21

There are some who 100% love the Enneagram, some who 100% hate it, some who are suspicious of it, and some who have no idea what it is. 

If I have reached my target audience – welcome (!) – this should be fun. If you are reading this and are tempted to click away, I invite you to take your coat off and stay a while (I promise it won’t be too long). If you are new to the Enneagram, buckle up and safety first. 

The purpose of this Enneagram series is to explore the way each Enneagram type experiences both Law and Gospel – while also keeping it lighthearted and not taking ourselves too seriously (although I tend to take myself too seriously). Remember, the Enneagram is a wonderful tool but it is 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 triads: the heart types, the head types, and the gut types. The first of the three is named as such because types 2, 3, and 4 are the feelers of the Enneagram. That isn’t to say that the other types do not feel. Take notes from Jane Eyre – you aren’t a machine without feelings. It is to say, though, that the heart types lean toward being the poster children for feeling your feelings. According to the Enneagram Institute, shame is the main “unconscious emotional response” that affects the core of the heart types. More on that later.

Type 2s are the empathetic and compassionate helpers who desire to be loved. My Christian lady friends out there, if you think you are a Two simply from that sentence I ask you to (please) read on. Twos’ desire to be loved is also paired with their fear that they are not worthy of love. In order to somehow prove their worthiness or earn others’ love, Twos relentlessly help and care for the needs of others. Oftentimes, their instinct to be of service can lead them to people-pleasing and pushover tendencies.

Type 2’s worst nightmare is dropping their kids off at daycare, saying goodbye, and not having them cry and sob about how much they’ll miss and need them. They can be so overcome by the needs of others that they ignore and dismiss their own.

In short, Twos really like to be needed. Twos need to be reminded that love requires no service or payment from them. Love is abundant, and not only when they are needed. Love is free, and the name of love is Jesus.

Type 3s are the achievers. They thrive on affirmation and admiration that makes them feel worthy and valuable. They fear that they are not worthy and thus strive to maintain their image by focusing on accomplishments and success. Threes may feel that their worth is rooted in what they achieve, how they are perceived, or the affirmations that they receive.Type 3s love to tell you where they went to college, what sports they played in high school, and even the Student of the Month award they received for their glowing ability to suck up to their teachers in elementary school.

In society, the conditional statements tend to be implicit, but they’re still there (“If you do/be this, then you’ll be lovable, valuable”). The schema varies in specifics but not in its underlying logic: Achievement precedes approval, behavior precedes belovedness, and so forth (Law & Gospel).

There is a never-ending pressure to be presentable and to bear an image that reflects someone who could be loved – and what they may not realize is that they already are someone who is deeply loved, valued, and worthwhile. Threes need to be reminded that their enoughness does not stem from their image, that their belovedness does not stem from what they achieve. Christ continues to affirm His love for them through His grace and mercy.

Type 4s are the individualists. They are deeply emotional and sometimes (oftentimes) dramatic. They desire to show others how special and different they are. If there’s one thing to be learned from a lowanthropology, it’s that we really aren’t special and that our human condition as broken sinners is essentially the same. (As a Four myself, it hurts to type these words).

Type 4s love listening to melancholy instruments and picturing themselves in a Focus Feature period drama in which they are the misunderstood and poetic main character. Fours’ inclination to illustrate their uniqueness arises from a falsely perceived need to compensate for that which they feel is missing from their core identity. This “missing piece” causes Fours to question their identity and belonging. An identity planted in one’s individualism or uniqueness will never grow or survive. An identity that stems from Jesus will always flourish. “Our sense of not being enough and our drive to be more than we are, are closely intertwined” (Law & Gospel). Fours need to be reminded that their “uniqueness” does not precede belovedness. They are loved, not because they are different, but because they were lovingly created by God in His image.

All three of the heart types – while they may experience it differently – deal with a core feeling of shame. Shame for feeling that they are not loved, not enough, or not special. Shame for feeling that there is something they need to do or be in order to earn love. And while shame is an understandable response to thoughts of worthlessness, it does not and will not have the final say.