I figured I knew enough about books and the Enneagram to write this blog post and have people take it somewhat seriously.
Type 1: The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness
A big thing about Enneagram 1s is their inner critic. We all have it, no matter what number we are, but for 1s, it is a constant voice in their head telling them they could have done better. My theory is that because they are so hard on themselves, they expect perfection from others. Tim Keller’s book, The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness, is a short and sweet book about exactly what the title suggests. It speaks to dying to ourselves daily and focusing on Jesus instead of what we are doing right or wrong.
Type 2: Boundaries
This one was obvious for Type 2s. From what I understand, 2s need to be needed. They are always there to help and/or offer advice. Healthy 2s do this in a way that is not intruding and is respectful of others lives. However, unhealthy 2s can tend to give unsolicited advice and offer help that isn’t asked for or wanted and typically expect to be appreciated in return. Boundaries by John Townsend and Henry Cloud can help shed light on what types of burdens are the responsibility of the individual and what types require the encouragement and support of others. For example, paying bills, grocery shopping, house cleaning, etc (except for extreme situations) are the responsibility of each individual, able bodied adult. On the other hand, the loss of a loved one, serious illness, loss of a job, etc are examples of times in life when we need to lean on others for help with the day to day responsibilities. This book will help 2s differentiate so they are less likely to become bitter towards those they are helping.
Type 3: Present over Perfect
This book is about finding rest and connection in a world that is constantly demanding we be responsible, productive and busy. Enneagram 3s struggle with trying to be everything to everybody and fear failure. Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist will be a breath of fresh air for 3s as they learn to slow down and be in the moment as their true self. “Present over perfect is real over image, connecting over comparing, meaning over mania, depth over artifice.”
Type 4: Ordinary
Enneagram 4s long to be unique and have a hard time with the ordinary parts of life that we all have to navigate. Ordinary by Michael Horton encourages readers that God uses even the most ordinary moments of life: Cleaning house, changing diapers, working an 8-5 job, or doing homework. These things may seem mundane, but they aren’t. They are an important part of a functioning society and/or family household. It can teach 4s to embrace and find joy in the ordinary.
Type 5: Intimate Moments with the Savior
Enneagram 5s are the logical thinkers, theologians, they’ll learn everything about anything and they tend to value intellect over emotion. At least, that has been my experience with the best Enneagram 5 I know, my husband. The bible, like 5s, gives us the facts of what happened during Jesus’ ministry. We are given dialogue, but no real insight into the emotions of the people who walked most closely to Jesus. Ken Gire paints a picture in his book Intimate Moments with the Savior of the emotions of Jesus’ early followers when interacting with him. For a type that typically doesn’t show a lot of their heart, this book is a good reminder of how the gospel penetrates not only our minds, but our hearts.
Type 6: The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook
If I wasn’t an Enneagram 9, I’d be a 6. Sometimes, I think I am a 6. I can go through some crazy what ifs in my mind. Also, it helps me to have a plan. For all you 6s out there who can relate, check out Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht’s book, The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook. While it may not cover every possible crazy scenario, you will learn what to do if attacked by a shark, stuck in quicksand, suffer from frostbite and many other life threatening situations.
Type 7: A Steadfast Heart
A couple of my close friends are Enneagram 7s and they are some of the most fun friends to have. They will be your ride or die and will encourage you to get out of our comfort zone. However, 7s have a tendency to avoid negative emotions and reframe life situations into something more positive rather than working through their grief. Elyse Fitzpatrick shows us that we can lean into and grow through our suffering. Everyone suffers loss and if we avoid it, we may be missing out on developing some deep and heartfelt friendships, not to mention, a deeper relationship with Christ.
Type 8: Strong and Weak
I think Enneagram 8s struggle to believe that showing vulnerability is a sign of strength instead of weakness. They are the protectors, and I can imagine, would want to always be strong for others. As a result they don’t typically let their guard down. In Strong and Weak, Andy Crouch talks about what it means to truly flourish in life. To do this, we need both vulnerability and authority together.
Type 9: Just Do Something
There are always a million reasons not to do something, right? When you are an Enneagram 9, you come up with even more excuses.* I don’t have enough energy. My voice doesn’t matter. I won’t be good enough. What if other people think it’s silly? It’s out of my comfort zone*. The list goes on. Kevin DeYoung’s book Just Do Something addresses the issue of analysis paralysis from a more spiritual perspective and answers the question: What is God’s will? “Live for God. Obey the scriptures. Think of others before yourself. Be holy. Love Jesus. And as you do these things, do whatever else you like, with whomever you like, wherever you like and you will be walking in the will of God.”