Enneagrams, Knowing Self, and Sacrifice

Photo by Randy Jacob on Unsplash

Recently, I have started to get really into reading Enneagram types.

If you don’t know what Enneagram types are, they’re personality types based on characteristics and behaviors we lean towards. Similar to Myers Briggs, Enneagrams provide a different lens that, in my opinion, gives a more complex understanding of who we are, and has many interesting applications to work, relationships, and personal reflection.

If you haven’t taken it before, I highly recommend taking the Enneagram Test. (I am a type 2 wing 3)

As an Enneagram type 2, I love to help people — to care and support others as best as I can. Though a downside to caring for others as a type 2 is feeling entitled to a response because of my affection (as well as an obsessive need for affirmation), the positive is a desire to pour out all I have to others so they can know they are acknowledged and thrive in whatever they venture into.

Learning about myself as a type 2 has allowed me to better know myself, fundamentally changing how I serve and giving me a heightened awareness of my greatest strengths, as well as greatest downfalls. As I understand what fundamentally pushes me forward or causes me to shy away from situation, I’ve been able to gain insight over the interpersonal dynamic I have with others and it has helped me know how to serve others best.

Knowing myself is important if I hope to see others learn, grow, and change to become better people in their faith, vocation, giftings, expertise, and passions.

But one paradox I’ve come to realize is that as I got to know myself more, sacrifice and loving others became so much harder.

On one hand, I started to learn to invest in myself in spiritual disciplines and productivity, learning to steward as best as I can my time, treasure, and talents.

On the other hand, I started to recognize that I began to wrestle with my own selfishness. As I got to understand what made me better and what hindered me, I found myself becoming more unwilling to sacrifice on other people’s terms and attempt to live on my own terms.

It’s crazy, because initially when I was fully absorbed in serving others before I knew myself, it was easy to not care for my own needs because I didn’t know what they were. In doing so, I poured out so fully, but it caused me to get burnt out and deteriorate in my own ability to serve others.

Yet as I grew in the knowledge of myself in order to gain a greater heart, strength, and influence to serve others, I found myself hesitating to sacrifice, and felt a heavier burden to bear when I made that decision to lose something for someone.

The sacrifice beforehand was easy to let go, since not knowing what I had lost, I blindly paid the cost in the future through burn out and stress.

But now, after gaining a deeper understanding of my values, my boundaries, and my passions, the choice to make a sacrifice for others was a fight between the flesh and the Spirit.

It makes me wonder how Jesus served and cared for others as an all-knowing God.

To know himself so well and know how deeply corrupt and unworthy we all were. He was justified to judge and condemn us as sinners undeserving of anything. And yet for Him to look at us patiently and lovingly, denying himself and picking up that cross whilst giving up his life knowing that the act of grace he sacrificed may never be reciprocated but desiring to exemplify humility and forgiveness in all it’s fullness.

That’s a sacrifice drenched in deep love.

… I don’t know.

That hits hard for me personally. It challenges me to consider the sacrifices I can choose to make and relinquish whatever pride and selfish desires I have even whilst knowing myself to take on that same yoke that Jesus has taken on too.

It challenges me to consider grace…

Personal Prayer Requests

✝ ~ Type 2w3 ~ ENFP - SWE @ RetailMeNot & Substack writer ~ pointing self and others to Christ ~ "Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" ~ ericjmlee.com

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