Mirror for the Soul: A Christian Guide to the Enneagram - eBook
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The Enneagram is like a mirror, reflecting dimensions of ourselves that are sometimes hard to see. In this helpful guide, spiritual director and Enneagram teacher Alice Fryling helps us understand each number of the Enneagram and then takes us deeper into the spiritual journey. Scripture meditations and questions for reflection and discussion lead us to a new perspective on our unique temperament so that we might know and extend God's grace more fully. Along the way we will discover both gifts and blind spots. Knowledge of the Enneagram leads us into more authentic self-awareness, richer relationships, and deeper places in the soul where we can worship God in truth and grace.
|Format: DRM Free ePub|
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
|Publication Date: 2017|
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Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Who in the World Am I? (Dating the Enneagram)November 27, 2017Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Following the writings of the prophet Jeremiah has been a challenge this year. So far, its been seventeen chapters of lament tempered by steadfast faith along with words of judgment interspersed with glorious promises of restoration. It shouldnt have surprised me then when Jeremiah 17 took a sharp curve in the road at verse nine: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
Who indeed, for we are many things in addition to being deceitful, and our inability to know ourselves fully becomes readily apparent when we take it upon ourselves to know someone else in a meaningful way. Alice Fryling offers insights on how knowledge of the Enneagram can help us in sifting the motives of our hearts by understanding our own unique temperament and maybe that of our loved ones as well.
Mirror for the Soul invites believers to connect the dots between self knowledge and the grace of God, for as we embrace our Enneagram number, we learn that we are more than just a package of gifts and failures. Alice shares her own self-discovery in this way:
I am a person created by God, loved by God, and uniquely gifted to love others with Gods merciful and gracious love.
Often what we lack in our efforts to change and grow is a language of transformation. Alice found this in her study of the Enneagram and holds it up to readers as a mirror to provide a clear view of ourselves, and as a corrective to the puzzling reflection we have of our own lives.
The Enneagram has hazy historical origins, but, then, so does the wheel. In the 1970s, Richard Rohr brought its teaching to laypeople, and since then, numerous authors have made it accessible as an aid to the Christians spiritual journey.
In my reading about the Enneagram, Ive been eager to find a parking space that fits me so I could begin to understand my gifts and the reasons I get sidetracked. Mirror for the Soul has given me a different goal for this personality inventory. Why not slow down and live in a space, trying it on to see if it describes me? Then look at another one that might be a closer fit? Alice calls this dating the Enneagram, and recommends a meandering process of self-discovery, noticing what happens when you are under stress, and using the process to learn about yourself.
Nine Spaces and Nine Unique Perspectives
The diagram shows that each of the nine spaces has three components:
A main attribute
A compulsion of the false self whose agenda is to look good and to pretend
A grace given to that person as an invitation to return to the true self.
Ill clarify this using the Three as an example, because I think thats my space: The main attribute of the Three is Effectiveness: I like to get things done. Ugly Deceit rears its head when I need to hide behind success in order not to be known as a failure. However, the path back to health is Truth: truth about myself, and Truth from God (in large doses, everyday).
The gift of the Enneagram is that there is no right space. The Two with their gift for loving is no more beloved than the Eight with their gift for power. Each space is vulnerable to hiding, but in different ways, and God invites each of the nine types to receive grace in order to become their true self.
Trying On the Triads
Alice Frylings approach to self-discovery within the Enneagram focuses first on the Triads or groupings of the nine spaces:
The heart triad (2,3,4) lives life based on feeling.
The head triad (5,6,7) lives life based on thinking.
The gut triad (8,9,1) responds to life with their gut instinct.
It was this recommendation that sent me into dating mode with the Ennegram, because, although many of the traits of Three-ness line up with my tendencies, I typically function from the head rather than the heart. My love of books and knowledge lead me to wonder if Im a five. Im taking the authors advice and looking at my motivations, life perspective, and instinctive responses to get closer to the bottom of this mystery.
Looking in the Mirror
For those who are on a quest for the transformation that comes with self-knowledge, Mirror for the Soul offers a number of practical principles and cautions:
Look to your weaknesses and motivations rather than behavior. Beware of your blind spots.
Since the Enneagram is not in the business of giving out compliments, (49) it is helpful to ponder the problems that come along with our gifts rather than focusing only on our gifting.
Spend some time attempting to understand the Wings and the Arrows.
Referring to the chart above, our Wings are the spaces on either side of us and influence each of us differently and to different degrees. For example, my bent toward quirky has led me to think that whether Im a 3 or a 5, my wing is likely a 4.
Referring again to the chart, the Arrows pointing away from a number indicate where we tend to go in stress. Those pointing toward the number describe how we are living when we are in a healthy place in our lives. (109) With this in mind, it becomes clear that spaces in the Enneagram are not rigid boxes, which accounts for the uniqueness we see even among people who may share the same type. Alice speaks of being at home (107) in a space, and the more we understand ourselves and the Enneagram, the more likely this is to occur.
The So-What Factor
For the believer, greater self-awareness is not a narcissistic rabbit trail, but, rather, it leads to a greater capacity for loving relationships with others and deeper worship of God. The Enneagram invites us to wonder about addictive behaviors that keep sending us back to the same broken cisterns for satisfaction. It reveals suffering as a means to growth and transformation.
As we look into the mirror of Gods Word, and then ponder what we find in the mirror of the Enneagram, it would be tempting to despair, for we all have work to do. However, the truth is that God is always waiting to be gracious to us and always ready to extend mercy. This is good news as we boldly persevere in asking, Who in the world am I? and then live our way into our own unique journey of discovery in which we confront our sadness and frustration alongside our unique gifting and strengths and learn that the reflection gazing back at us belongs to a face that is deeply loved.
This book was provided by IVP Books, an imprint of InterVarsity Press, in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Curt S.5 Stars Out Of 5An Approachable, Life-Impacting New Book on the EnnegramAugust 30, 2017Curt S.Quality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Alice Fryling has produced a very approachable text on the Enneagram that reflects her Christian perspective. Having attended several workshops and done some reading on this topic, I found Alice's book to be the clearest and most enjoyable explanation of the Enneagram I have encountered. Her often anecdotal approach helped clarify for me the various "spaces" of the Enneagram, making them personal and individual, not just theoretical. But the author is not satisfied with simply helping the reader to understand the intricacies of the Enneagram. She also applies to the text her years of experience as a spiritual director, integrating the truths of the Enneagram with those of Scripture, to the benefit of each reader's spiritual and emotional health.
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