By Will Raybon
The Enneagram is all the rage right now. Which is ironic, because it was first practiced centuries ago by the desert mothers and fathers.
I took a personal interest in the Enneagram approximately a year and a half ago and have spent a considerable amount of time studying it since then. For those of you who have not explored the Enneagram, it is well worth your time. The Enneagram is a dynamic personality inventory that allows oneself to embark on a journey of self-discovery.
When I first began the journey, I thought it would be a simple enough process. Everyone else seemed to be able to identify their number almost immediately. However, it took me nearly ten months to discover what a lot of my friends and family already knew.
Stress easily brings out the worst and best in a person. Over the past few months, I have moved to a new state, began a new job, and gotten married. All while continuing to pursue my M.Div at Gardner-Webb University’s School of Divinity.
To be clear, I have loved all these life changes (just in case my wife or coworkers are reading this).
Moving to a new state requires apartment hunting, careful budgeting, physically moving, updating information at the DMV, and a whole host of other matters. Taking on a full-time job at a large church while continuing an education takes up a lot of time and energy. Getting married on top of all that, while wonderful, adds a whole new level to the meaning of “stressed out.”
It has been during these past few months that I have truly discovered who I am. I am a Type Six on the Enneagram.
The Type Six’s primary motivation is, “to have security.” If you know any Type Sixes, you know very well that we are a pretty anxious lot. We like to arrive at places obnoxiously early, feel secure in everything we take part in and have “councils” of friends and family that we go to before we make any sort of decision. It kind of sounds like being a Type Six is a lousy number to wind up as, but once you dive into to the Enneagram, you will quickly discover that we have all got our problems.
At our best, Type Sixes are also as loyal as they come. For those interested, Pottermore says I belong in Gryffindor House (if you have not been introduced to Harry Potter, then you have a whole other type of problem that needs to be dealt with). We also become self-reliant, and courageous champions of ourselves and others. Over the past few months, it has been my healthy attributes that I have relied upon to overcome my stress.
I do not need my “council” of advisors as much as I used to (y’all know who you are and you are welcome). I have become a better advocate for myself as well as a better husband and minister.
Life will always happen and stress will always exist. It is how we rise to meet life’s challenges and react to our stress that determines what happens next.
Will Raybon serves as the Associate Youth Minister at First Baptist Greenville, S.C. He is a third-year M.Div student at Gardner-Webb University’s School of Divinity in Boiling Springs, N.C.