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Showing posts from November, 2019

Applications from "Self to Lose - Self to Find" by Marilyn Vancil (Part 2)

I used to think the Christian life was like Pilgrim's Progress. We put our trust in the Lord, our burdens fall off, we're given new clothes, and then we start down the path to the Celestial City. I suppose the Christian life is like that in addition to being transformed from a four-legged creature to a two-legged creature along the journey.

When we first believe, we set off down the road to God's kingdom, but in the process, we're relearning how to walk and run and carry things and communicate. We're relearning what it means to be human.

Relearning how to walk is the process of living in the Spirit instead of the flesh. We're learning to recognize when we're acting animal-like and to remember that we don't have to live like that anymore.

Not a day goes by that I don't find myself crawling on my hands and knees again . . . eating grass (to continue the analogy). Marilyn Vancil's book Self to Lose - Self to Find gives practical steps on how to rec…

Enneagram 3: The Resignation of the Queen

I admit I've made no room for you in this play;
I've feverishly put down my name for every role.

I thought I could be the deep thinker and feeler,
The confidante and cheerleader,
The warrior and helper,
The teacher and student,
The servant and queen,
But mostly the queen.

Here I am as the perfect wife.
Here I am as the loving mother.
Here I am as the reliable sibling.
Here I am as the supportive friend.
But now I must confess
None of it was me.

I was pressing you merely
To find your weaknesses
So I could fix them
And be useful
And good
And valuable.

I was worming my way in merely
To discover how I might lift you up
And thus feel that rush,
That boast of pride welling within
Instead of the Holy Spirit.

I admit that in trying to be useful to you
I have pushed you offstage,
Been invasive and proud,
And not loved you
As much as the idea
Of me loving you.

Now I see you've no need of me,
And it exposes my emptiness within,
That I have not been filling up
With faith in what God s…

Thoughts from "Self to Lose - Self to Find" by Marilyn Vancil (Part 1)

I am not interested in using the Enneagram as an excuse for my deficiencies. Nor am I am interested in it, if it shows me new ways to fix my old problems. Trying to fix myself isn't going to work. The machinery is faulty and no amount of oiling is going to fix it. I need new machinery.

As I continue to examine the Enneagram, I am in constant scrutiny. Does the Bible say this is true? Is this true of me and those I know? And does this lead me into a deeper faith in Christ?

Marilyn Vancil's book, Self to Lose - Self to Find: A Biblical Approach to the 9 Enneagram Types, has done a marvelous job not only explaining the Enneagram, but how the Bible views this information. I hope to share some of her wisdom here as well as add my own thoughts to it.

Vancil uses the Enneagram in the context of Luke 9:23 (NASB): "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Similar language is found in the gospels. "For whoever wish…

Comstock Chronicles: The DVD and the Squishy

Lee, my seven-year-old, has been proudly accumulating X's on his chore chart, anticipating purchasing a Mighty Machines DVD. Today was payday, and he was several dollars short of his goal. He quickly came up with a plan that involved his little sister, Rose. With his and Rose's money combined, they'd only be seven jobs short. Rose agreed to work with Lee to earn the rest.

They tidied up the living room where they'd built an indoor slide with the couch cushions and IKEA tunnel. I also asked them to scour the sink and shake out several rugs. Then I had them write letters for their Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. We had gone to the 99 Cents store last weekend and we half-chose half-let them choose items for their boxes.

As it turned out, Rose had too many items in her box. I asked her to take out an item that we would put into my toy store instead. She took out the squishy foam unicorn in the shape of a cake.

It then dawned on Rose that she currently had enough money…

The Enneagram 1's Magnum Opus

From infancy I've been creating this magnum opus. It is a template that shows me how much, how big, how loud, how bright, how heavy, and how often everyone and everything ought to be.

My experiences add more details so that it has become not only my glorious masterpiece but my life's compass. By it I know what is good, and by it I can declare that I am. It is the safeguard against judgement—those that would declare me selfish or lazy or unfeeling or wrong. It protects me and binds me. It is my safety net and my prison walls.

That is why I am so wound up. I am exhausted keeping step to the tick-tick of this metronome. That is why I can't sit peacefully in this mess. I see it all against this measuring stick, this definition of goodness, this cage.

Yes, yes, I hear what you're saying. I know God alone defines what is good. But it's not simply a matter of letting go and relaxing. I can't just scrap my life's work, you see. It is me. This template, these rules,…

Enneagram 2 Dropping the Beggar's Cup

It's impossible to fill this little cup I'm cradling in my hands, collecting from acquaintances and total strangers, You'd think I could fill it with what I get from those closest to me—fill it with affirmation, that is. But some give so much that it all splashes out, and others don't seem capable of giving me anything but sand. Judgement: that's the sand. I can hardly stand next to sand-sprinklers anymore. It's just too painful. I put my cup away around them.

But I'll take a few drops from a facebook compliment or an interested look from a man driving by.  I can manage a bit on Sunday mornings if I dress nicely or get someone to take my advice or bump into a friend who enjoyed a recent blog post. Of course, I'll squeeze the juice out of someone who mimics my methods. Copying is the greatest compliment after all, right? But it's a tough life as a stay-at-home mom. There's just not very many opportunities to collect. And big social gatherings se…

To the Confidant of the Enneagram 8

What would you have me do?
Fall apart?
Run away?
I can't be like them.
I am a survivor.

This anger is my armor.
And I must renounce sentiment
For it is the chink.
I will make it
Because I can protect myself
From being used,
From injustice,
From what they say about me,
From needing you,
From needing anyone
Who might let me down.

This finger will be my dividing line
Between them and me,
Them and us, if you wish,
Because I will protect you too.
I should like that
Because it is lonely here.

I can teach you to ball up your fists
I can teach you to look fear in the eye,
So that nothing can rule you
As long as you rule it.

Don't tell me about the discord
Between this and my Savior,
Between strength and surrender.
I know it as well as you.
But what would you have me do?
I know no other way.
This is my life blood, my survival.
Had you been down this road,
Had you seen what I've seen,
You would do likewise.

This is my castle.
Do not tear it down
For if I admit that I can't self…

The Plea to the Enneagram 5: Staying Power

Wait! Don't go! Stay!
There's enough here for you,
For your next word,
Your next choice,
Next look.

It's not there
Where you withdraw for air
Artificially inflated for another breadth of time.

It's not in dear friends'
Kindred thoughts that extend
Your energy beyond your calculated dividend.

Nor in strategy,
That measurement of sympathy
Or well-constructed reply.

No. It's here.
The staying power is
At the end of yourself
Because there He is.
Only there
At the empty self
A hair's breadth away from tears
A blink away from shouting
A heart beat from flight.

Let the panic be Pavlov's bell.
Let the heart feel its yearning
For its Savior.

You have enough
Because every spiritual blessing is yours.
You know enough
Because He knows it all.
You are enough
Because He weighed you
Equivalent to His son's life.

Stay!
Don't withdraw
Into that place
Where the I.V. drips slowly
And never is enough.
Stay!
Find Him
And fall there.
He is.

Enneagram Intro

I have just begun to scratch the surface of the Enneagram theory, and I must put down some things I'm learning. This pertains primarily to how the Enneagram relates to spiritual transformation through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Enneagram differentiates people based on what drives them—doing things right (1), helping others (2), personal achievement (3), individuality/self-expression (4), observation/analysis (5), security through loyalty or questioning (6), seeking fun (7), maintaining control and freedom (8), and peacemaking/avoiding conflict (9). It further separates these nine types into the three ways we're most commonly disordered. We can be disordered in our thoughts, feelings, or instincts.

The feeling numbers—the 2's, 3's, and 4's—are most often tripped up by their feelings. The 2's overly feel for others. The 4's are imploding with their own feelings. And the 3's are clueless about their feelings. The 5's, 6's, and 7's ar…