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How the Enneagram Numbers Handle Icky Feelings

One: the Reformer"Ekk! I'm not supposed to be feeling this way. It's not right! I can't let these feelings out. I'll stuff them in a box and sit on them. There. Done. Those yucky feelings will just have to stay in there. Right? And I'm never going to do this again. This is what produced those icky feelings in the first place. Don't scoff! This is the best way I know how to maintain my idea of goodness."Two: the Helper"Golly, I don't know what to do with all these feelings. I certainly can't tell anyone about them. Then I'd look desperate and needy. I'll focusing on your icky emotions instead. It's much easier to feel your emotions than to feel mine. So tell me. What do you feel? How can I help you process through what you’re feeling? And maybe, once you've realize how much I've felt for you, you'll give me back everything I gave to you. Don't scoff. This is the best way I know how to get love."Three: the A…
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The Right Kind of Fear

Fear the fire; God made it to burn. Fear the wind; God made it to lash. Fear the quake; God made it to crash. But this fear won't empower you For God is not them.
Fear the storms; they know not their masters. Fear disease; it ravages indiscriminately. Fear wars; they are inevitable. But this fear won't protect you From these instruments in his hands.
Fear other's intentions; they might misuse you.Fear other's grasping; they may rob you.Fear other's passions; they may unravel you.But this fear won't produce a strategyTo keep what's your.
Fear sin's enticement; it seizes every chance.Fear the evil one; he hungers for you.Fear displeasing God; he demands much.But this fear won't save youBecause it never stops striving.
Fear the Lord; his holiness is dangerous.Fear the Creator; he gave you your life.Fear the Master; he has authority here.Fear the Author; he can rewrite you.But unless this fear compels you to yield,You shall never stop fearing.
*I use fear in…

How Much I Need from God

I think I need God for very little because I seem to be able to do most things on my own—eat, sleep, shop, meal plan, settle arguments, keep up relationships, google questions, go to the dentist, etc. I actually need God's help for nearly everything I do. In fact, that little white portion at the bottom of the graph probably doesn't exist at all. Sure, I can physically do a lot on my own, but I can't do anything with a pure heart nor out of love for everyone else on planet earth. Hence, I need God's wisdom in everything. I don't know how my purchases will hurt the environment. I don't know how my splurges will affect the poor. I don't know how my voting will alter the course of history. I don't know how the words I choose will affect another's heart. There is just so much that I don't know. 

If God offers me everything I need—all wisdom, power, and love—through a relationship with him (this is not an instantaneous acquisition but a daily communion…

Why the Enneagram Numbers Won't Give

One: the Reformer "I know how much time, energy, and money it's going to take to do this well, and I just can't do that right now. I'm running too many other things. Sure, we could do it another way, but I just can't stand half-baked ideas, and I'd rather not give at all than see it done poorly."Two: the Helper"You have no idea how much I've already given. I practically destroyed myself giving, and no one seemed to appreciate me at all. So I'm done. Unless they start acknowledging how much I've sacrificed, I won't be giving anymore."Three: the Achiever"I just don't think it's going to succeed. I mean, I've given before and the project was an embarrassing flop. It looked terrible. Of course, if I'd been leading it, it would've been different. How about I do it next time, then I'll give it my all."Four: the Individualist"It just doesn't feel right. Everyone gives. It's so mundane, so or…

The Trouble With Comparing Troubles

Hearing about other's troubles is inevitable. And more often than not, when I hear about them, I compare them to my own. Actually, I think it's a natural tendency: to be in competition with others. Either my problems are harder than yours or your problems are harder than mine. We certainly can't both have hard lives. So I hear about a friend who has more kids than me and whose husband is a firefighter, and I decide she has it harder than me. I deduce that my troubles are smaller than hers, not as difficult, easier. In fact, I decide that I shouldn't be troubled by my troubles at all. They're nothing compared to hers. So I shame myself."You ought to be grateful, you pathetic thing! You don't have it that bad! Your troubles aren't troubles at all! You're just a wimp!" On the other hand, if a single friend complains to me about his responsibilities at work, I'm tempted to patronize him with things like, "But is your office quiet? Do you h…

Why the Enneagram Numbers Didn't Listen to You

One: the Reformer"I just had to interrupt because half of what you said wasn't right. And the reason that happened to you is because you should've done it differently. Let me explain the best way."Two: the Helper"I know you didn't finish explaining the problem, but I already know what your problem is and what you could do to make it better. In fact, I'll fix it for you."Three: the Achiever"But if you get all the airtime, I won't have a chance to impress upon you what a great friend I am, how I've accomplished so much, and how you have so many reasons to be proud of me."Four: the Individualist"After you mentioned having a weekend of solitude, I just couldn't listen anymore because it brought back this memory I had two years ago when I was on this hike by myself and even though I was totally alone, I felt in the presence of something marvelous. Oh my gosh!"Five: the Observer"What did you say? Sorry, you weren't…

I Deserve Something!

If after a day of stopping my intended activity to settle arguments, a day of spraying on mosquito spray and rubbing on cortisone, a day of planned activities that didn't go as planned, a day of being treated like I'm unreasonable, ridiculous, despicable, unfair, yes, even a tyrant! A day of picking up letter magnets and scraps of paper and couch cushions and books and play-kitchen fries and string tied around door knobs and scotch tape that comes apart in shreds and socks balled up and tossed behind the furniture rather than be taken to the dirty clothes,After a day like that, I deserve something!I'm thinking a tray of cookies sounds nice . . . and a chaise lounge. A movie, a back rub, a cup of tea and some silence.It is nearly impossible NOT to feel entitled to some luxury after working so hard. That's how life works. Right? Those who work hard earn something? The harder I work, the more I earn? And I have worked very hard. Perhaps the expectation of payment is what …

Put on the Fancy Smancy Clothes!

Literature seems to be full of people who were given a single command or task or warning, and failed. Pandora was supposed to guard that box filled with sickness and death. Orpheus wasn't to look at his wife until after they'd emerged from the underworld. Lot and his family were supposed to flee Sodom and Gomorrah without looking back. Blue Beard's wife was allowed to open all the doors in her husband's house but one. Adam and Eve weren't supposed to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The wedding guests taken from the streets in Jesus' parable were supposed to dress properly. I've always been terribly peeved at these characters. How can it be that hard? Don't open the stupid door! Don't eat the dang fruit! Put on the fancy smancy clothes!But then again I've been given one major responsibility, and I much prefer to neglect that than do it. Some days I'd rather write blogs or check facebook or read a fun novel or do the dishe…

Rewriting the Messages

When we said, “Look at me!”
They said “You ought to be looking at others.”

When we said, “I did it well,”
They said, “But do you see how it could be better?”

When we said, “I need help,”
They said, “In the real world, you have to go without.”

When we said, “I’m afraid,”
They said, “Well, you shouldn't be.”

When we said, “You’ve hurt me,”
They said, “You’ve only yourself to blame.”

When we said, “You’re doing it wrong!”
They said, “Who are you to say?”
And because we knew not where to go for the cure,
Grown from the womb without His spirit woven in,
Over time we learned to limp on in disguise. Instead of Look at me! it was condescension on others.
Instead of I did it well, it was perfectionisms whip.
Instead of I need help, it was service with expectations.
Instead of I’m afraid, it was withdrawal into isolation.
Instead of You’ve hurt me, it was subversive messages.
Instead of You’re doing it wrong! it was public proclamations. Years of disguises built up walls of callousness,
And ancient longings were…

Sand is Normal

I remember learning about nursing. I'd just had my first baby, and things were way harder than I thought they should be.  You mean I'm supposed to wake up every two hours all night long? You mean I'm only supposed to sleep one hour at a time because I'm spending that other hour trying to figure out how to do this stupid thing? You mean I'm supposed to wake the sleeping baby to basically torture myself? How long is this supposed to last?I was not ready for this commitment. In fact, I was sure the lactation people had it wrong, so I lengthened the breaks between feedings until I gave myself an infection, twice. I wasn't ready for what it would take, and only later did I learn that nursing would be harder for me than most women. By my third child, I knew what I had to do and I was ready to make that sacrifice. This time I didn't back down from the task. This time I had my expectations set correctly. This time I had my support group in place. I had the same sort…