Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Pursuit of Truth

   We took a radical departure this fall in our Ish Girls Bible Study. We left the tried, true and somewhat predictable route of an organized Bible study and wandered into the land of the Enneagram. I think every woman in our group felt safe enough (after three years together) to begin to explore the hidden aspects of our true selves in order to know how it is that we have been wondrously shaped by the hand of a Holy and Loving God. This journey required trust, vulnerability and a willingness to be exposed, yet it has proven to be an invaluable experience for each of us. I have come to understand aspects of each sister that either puzzled me or were beyond the scope of my understanding. The benefit is that it is helping me to see, love and encourage each sister in a manner that is glorifying to God .
 We did make use of a manual. Under the tutelage of two of our members who have extensive experience with the Enneagram, we each read Richard Rohr's The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective and then listened weekly to a series of recorded lectures on the different subtypes. One of the sisters also developed weekly homework that was based on a biblical study of Christ as He reflects and represents each of the subtypes.
  Since I come from a counseling background and had used the Myers-Briggs extensively as well as a variety of other instruments, I was initially somewhat skeptical. That is until I took the test and read the chapter on my type.
   Then I wondered who had been following me around during childhood, reading my private journals, and peeking into my dreams, hopes and desires. My best self was there. And so was my worst. I felt exposed. It was totally eerie. It was also embarrassing to see my glaring faults laid out in such a straightforward, no-nonsense fashion. Ever so slowly I found freedom when I discussed my struggles and found my sisters nodding their heads at me...they understood, they saw, and blessedly, they loved me in spite of myself. That's what the body of Christ is all about. Loving each other in spite of ourselves...loving each other because of what He has done and is doing in each of our lives. I found I did not have to be afraid. I did not have to pretend. I did not have to be perfect or construct a false reality to protect myself from the pain. I could relax. I could be silly. I could share deeply from my heart and not feel condemned or castigated. It was freeing in a way that I have seldom experienced.
   The quote from Pinterest at the top of the page just about sums me up as well as any one sentence could. In case you are wondering, I am a SEVEN. I am also married to a SEVEN which makes for a very interesting life.
   This may sound a bit like the crazy wanderings of a middle-aged woman, but the study of the Enneagram has proven to be very self-illuminating for me and has helped me see the Creator and the Redeemer in a whole new way. Here's to a Happy New Year of walking in the Truth. The only Truth that matters and the only One that will continually set you free!


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