The Enneagram is taking over our church.

Sneak up to join a conversation, pass a small group in the hallway, text with our Women’s Ministry director…it’s gonna hit you in the face.

The intense chatter made my FOMO (fear of missing out) flare up, so I decided to participate in the Enneagram by actually taking the test, instead of just guessing my type based on which number sent me into the darkest shame spiral. (It was the 3. No need to even look up the famous people who are 3’s—just list every actress you’ve ever heard of pitching a fit on set and you’re there. Plus Oprah.)

My first Enneagram exposure came about a year ago as four of us friends were in a car on the way down to the Women’s beach retreat. The two in the front were discussing their numbers and my backseat friend, Beka, and I were utterly confused.

“So you like, fly on this wing?”

“What if I’m normally motivated by fear AND shame AND anger?”

Fast forward to Beka and me pulling up some Enneagram sites on our phones, reading a little about the types and INCREASE ROTATIONAL RATE OF SHAME SPIRAL: Beka and my supposed types were codependent.

C’mon, it’s called friendship. Why do you have to go getting all negative? We just thought we complemented each other’s strengths and weaknesses really well. And also maybe depended on each other to get one another out of the occasional Netflix “play next episode” situation.

Fast forward to today, and a few friends’ diagnosis of me as a more likely 8, which was confirmed by the $12 test. This time I knew what to expect looking at the results. Yes, I see you on that 8 list, Donald Trump and Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein, and here’s what I have to say about it:

Enneagram—you don’t know me.

You don’t know that when I look back, I see a totally different woman than I was 5 years, and 10 years, and most certainly definitely 15 years ago. You don’t know that while I may look decently similar to those high school pictures, the insides have been fully turned over, undone, reconfigured, and rewired, and they are continually being so. They are undergoing a process that your test may try to define with type compatibilities or levels of development…but nah, it just can’t.

Because it’s sanctification, and its way bigger than any number, and it’s being enacted upon me by the God of the universe, and I get to participate.

Type 1, Type 4, Type 6, Type Oprah Winfrey—believer in Jesus, it makes no ultimate difference for us, for all of our types are being conformed to one image: the Christ Type. To walk with Jesus means to actively be conformed to this Christ Type over time, through all circumstances, in the good days and the hard days. It means we can embrace Romans 12 and “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” It means a call to the holiness of Christ and to 1 Peter 1 and “not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.

And guess what: I CAN’T DO THAT. Because that call is a call to the exact opposite of what my flesh wants to do all. day. long. But it’s a call from the mouth of the One who loves me so tremendous that I can’t help but want to love Him back—I can’t help but want to be transformed to look more and more like the one who loved Him so perfectly that he died a gruesome death on a cross, out of submission to “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

 That’s the Christ Type. And that’s the type I want recognized in me.

So go ahead, Enneagram, remind me how intense and direct I can be. (Duh.) Remind me how icky it feels when I get “controlling, self-important, confrontational, and highly territorial.” (It’s real icky.) You can even try to redeem yourself by telling me I’m “measured, insightful, decisive, and willing to be emotionally available to others.” (Why, thank you.) But you can’t ultimately define me. That job has already been taken by the Creator of all the types—the God who decided who we are and what we will become, and then put us in community with one another and called a great many of us into community with His own community, His Trinity.

But go ahead—you know you want to—go ahead and email me your comments on just how “so Type 8” this essay is! Double bonus to the best joke. I am an 8 wing 7, after all.

Holly Mackle