The past few weeks, we have explored the Enneagram and the pastor and the church. This week we want to step back and explore how the enneagram can be a tool to help you move toward emotional health. As a pastor, the lack of emotional health is really easy to see in other pastors and our congregations. This election, pandemic, and the racial tensions we processed in 2020 revealed so much about each of us. I am included. 2020 took a toll on my emotional health. The enneagram has been a resource for checking my emotional health and having more empathy for others and their voices, choices, and stances.
Emotional health is something that we are not good at self-diagnosing. We allow comparison to others to convince ourselves we are more healthy than we are. We imitate other people because we believe they have life figured out. We ignore what the Scriptures tell us God wants for our lives to chase our own dreams and plans and wonder what happened when things fall apart and attain more emotional scars. All of that to say, we need help when it comes to evaluating our emotional health.
The Enneagram is a tool that can give you a framework to explore your personality and emotions and evaluate what’s healthy and what needs work. Emotionally, we all need work. Emotionally, we always walk a fine line of spiritual awareness and self-obsession. Our emotional health and spiritual health are linked in that when our emotions are left unchecked; they can lead us away from the ways of Jesus and toward many forms of pain from sin that we excuse as normal. The Enneagram can help expose what emotions we tend to allow to drive our lives in healthy and unhealthy directions. Here are a few things the Enneagram can help give you as you work on your emotional health…
- The Enneagram can give us a common language to process in community. // I discovered the Enneagram relationally with my ministry coach. I found more emotional growth when I had better words to describe my inner problems. I needed a vocabulary to help me process my inner life with my wife, coach, and mentors so that I could do hard work with purpose. The Enneagram can provide a common language so you can process with others who know you the best.
- The Enneagram helps to expose unhealthy tendencies in our life. // I am a follower of Jesus, so I process the Enneagram from a Christian perspective. The enneagram can expose the sin patterns our emotions lead us toward. We call this the unredeemed parts of our lives, and the Scriptures call it our flesh. Why do you and I run back to sin habitually? The Enneagram can help expose why you chose to sin with the people closest to you and secretly when alone.
- The Enneagram helps us stop imitating and live out of self-awareness. // God made one version of you. You are not a mistake. Why do we all habitually try to become people we are not meant to be? I believe we chase other versions of ourselves because we are not aware of and thankful for how God made us! The Enneagram can help you know more about how you are wired and find freedom in your own personality and health in saying no to the parts of you that lead you away from Jesus.
- The Enneagram pushes us to be more empathetic with others and learn from others. // Life would be perfect if it weren’t for other people! This may be the most important aspect of the Enneagram in our current cultural moment. We need more empathy. We need to listen to others more. We need more patience with people when they are in unhealthy places.
The Enneagram is just one tool that I think can help you learn more about the state of your inner life. I’m a pastor, so I give this warning in that nothing takes the place of the inner work of the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures for the follower of Jesus. This is just a tool, and I hope you can use it to grow personally.