Posts Tagged ‘enneagram’

But it’s not very effective, this promise about the desire of the heart if you don’t know what it is. So many people suffer from this basic malaise. What do I want? What does God want me to want? What should I want? And on and on and on.

desire of the heartTake delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart. [Psalm 37:4; NIV]

The desire of the heart is serious business. This is core belief and core longing. This is essential to the day and the tomorrow. This desire keeps us going. No cliches will do. We can’t say, “oh, I desire Jesus” and all that. In this context, that is a given. With the Christ IN our hearts, what do we desire?

I have been writing a lot lately and I was sliced at the knees at one of the comments I received from a knowledgeable critic: what does your character really want (whether she knows it or not, you, the author, must know). And there it was, back again. For this issue has been tiptoeing around my soul for years.

The first time I took the enneagram, I was shocked at my results for my “number” indicated I was a bit shallow. How could that be? I always believed myself a thinker, a smart cookie who sought out the deeper things of God, living, and loving. But I had to face some difficult truth, I am really a scattered soul. I have dabbled in so many arenas from acting to photography to writing to library maven to arts management to exercise queen to organizational specialist to prophetess to prayer warrior to church matriarch . . . well, the list goes on. But where is the real desire?

When I did identify a strong desire, one that has done a lot of the driving, it made my blood run cold. It’s a self-serving desire, one that is not compatible with a life in Christ, yet rooted deeply.

My current manuscript, The Saving of Phoebe Clay, will test the depth of this desire and what it can do or not do. It’s time to unmask. For it is only in the unmasking that change can begin.

And in the meantime, as I pull the anchor from this old desire, I may flounder but I will keep this thought as near as I can:

God is our [my] refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we [I] will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam

    and the mountains quake with their surging. [Psalm 47:1-3, NIV]


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At work, we have a lost and found box. It is usually brimming with “stuff” that people have left behind, some small but some of value. But most items languish, either the person doesn’t realize the thing is missing or more likely, where it went missing. They don’t even ask.

Luke 19:10
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

There’s a lost and found grid:

  1. We know something is lost and we know what it will look like to find it.
  2. We know something is lost but we don’t know what it will look like to find it.
  3. We don’t know something is lost but we will know it when we find it. . . maybe.
  4. We don’t know something is lost and we don’t know what it would look like anyway.

Where do you land on this grid? Where do I?

I have always been afraid of the last one: what if I am so clueless that I don’t realize I’m missing out on something important, something life-changing, something critical. That would be bad. This situation is the most difficult to reverse since no amount of talking or reasoning will bring revelation. Blown by the wind, anything might seem right in the moment. Some examples might be the mundane like church hopping or more serious, marriage hopping and affairs.

The third one is a state of mind and heart I know well. It manifests initially as a feeling, a gut feeling perhaps and a sense of discomfort in the present. I have no idea what is missing, if anything, I might just be imagining it, and yet, I sense that I will know when authentic thing, experience, person, situation breaks through. This situation is, unfortunately, unstable and bad choices are easily made here. (Reminds me of the old game show, Let’s Make a Deal, when the contestants often had the choice of keeping what they had in hand to something unknown behind “door number one, two, or three.)

The second scenario makes for a lot of experimentation. That is not always bad, but at the same time, when I’m in this mode, I tend to flit a bit, not giving myself or others a chance to really mature. I’ve always enjoyed personality assessment tests like the Meyers=-Briggs etc. But my favorite one is the Enneagram because the potential for change is inherent in the test unlike the others. Each type is given a number and the first time I discovered I was “7,” I was a little embarrassed. Although fun-loving and entertaining, sevens are also known for being a little shallow. Eek! Shallow? Perish the thought. And yet, I can see it in my past. To fight this tendency is to set aside times of deeper study and thought, literally forcing oneself to slow down and take time. This is how to pursue that elusive lost item. This is why I write.

And lastly, number one on the grid is the most aware person, the one who knows about loss and confidence that, once found, the hole will be filled in the heart, the ache will be soothed, the pain will be healed. What’s interesting to me is that even the enlightened experience loss. We all do. The difference is in the seeking.

So, where does Jesus fit into this equation? In real time, Jesus was the kind of person who could break through all four types. He brought an answer to the ones who sought and would recognize him immediately; he brought revelation to those were seeking but didn’t recognize the truth at first; he showed the ones who who didn’t realize they were lost a reality that could not be mistaken; and finally, he even broke through the ones who were blind and gave them sight.

Each miracle was a type for healing the heart. This will be my next study.

For today, I just thank you Lord for your revelation knowledge.

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Oh sure, be holy. That directive is right up there with “be skinny” or “be successful.” These states of being take a lot of work and commitment. I’m pretty sure holiness is no cakewalk either.

I Peter 1:15-16
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy. [Leviticus 11:44]”

I understand there’s a lot of grace involved in holiness (certainly a lot more than I have ever found in exercise or dieting). And yet, there are disciplines that must be part of the equation. If we just model holiness after Christ, there are keys to follow: sacrificial living, prayer, purity, authenticity, transparency, study, relationships with God and others, and paradoxical behaviors (as I’ve mentioned many times before).

We don’t come to these things naturally. Practice.

If I could just pick any one of these processes and focus on it, I’m pretty sure I would make more progress. But, unfortunately, I bounce around from one big idea to another, one practice to another. It’s an A.D.D. kind of thing. It’s a “Jill of all trades” kind of thing. For those of you familiar with the enneagram, it’s a “seven” kind of thing.

On the refrigerator, a well meaning friend posted a magnetic plaque that reads: “From your lips right to your hips.” Would it help me to put a little reminder on my computer: “Holiness begins with mindfulness and is watered with grace.”

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