I am about to turn 30 soon and the Enneagram has kind of blown my mind.
I know it’s rather silly and worldly of me, but I’ve been feeling kind of down about my 30th birthday approaching. Can I be 29 forever? Can I be 29 in heaven? But, my looming 30th birthday has motivated me to some self-discovery. I have often struggled with thoughts that I am not doing enough to be fulfilled and not contributing enough to society and I compare my self-worth and my own successes to other people in my age group. ‘So-and-so wrote a book by age 30; she earned a full-time income blogging by the time she was 30.’ Fill in the blank with any “success” worthy of envy. That’s what I do. I know it is so sinful and that’s been bothering me. Why is this where my thoughts go? Don’t I see what God has blessed me with? I have a fantastic family, a husband I am proud to be married to and amazing children I have the privilege of staying home with and homeschooling. I am certainly not unhappy with any of that, in fact, when I really stop to think about it being a mother is hands down the thing in life I am most proud of. Yet still, I’ve always craved more.
Early on in my motherhood I was so consumed with diapers and breastfeeding and sleep and making sure our marriage survived a cross-country move (twice) along with having 2 kids under 2 that I honestly didn’t have time or even care to be intentional at investing in some other kinds of life goals or developing skills or pursuing my other passions. Whew, take a breath, that was a long sentence. But this has a been a sweet season for our family, one of stability and growth, and with that has come some much needed breathing room for me personally to remember who I am and who God created me to be.
So alas, with the approaching of my 30th birthday, I’ve been spending time reflecting on my life and thinking. Lots and lots of thinking. If your Enneagram savvy you can probably already guess which type I am, but I have a few more things to say before I tell you. What really motivated me to do The One Room Challenge 3 years ago? What motivated me to make more time for blogging? What motivated me to do the Junk Crush? Or create a Parody video? What motivates me to homeschool? Or to paint furniture? What motivates my random and spontaneous efforts to find an interesting paying job I can do while also being able to stay home with my kids? I’ve thought about VIPKID, doing retail part-time, I’ve applied to 3 different jobs over the last couple of years all of which have been a flop, I tried daycare for awhile, I’ve thought about going back for a Master’s degree, I’ve seriously considered becoming a Doula. What am I doing? I am all over the place!
Then, one day, after seeing so many social media posts (social media IS powerful at influencing) about the Enneagram I asked someone for a link to a test, and I also went to google and found a couple of different free ones too. I was curious. I was a Psychology major; personality tests interest me. My husband even likes personality tests especially the ones Jordan Peterson recommends, but he hadn’t heard of the Enneagram either, and we could take it online for free.
So, one random night I took a test. My result, was shocking at first, and here’s why: the description sounds awful. I thought, wow, that’s exactly how I sin and described my faults to a T…I didn’t think this test would scream “SEE HOW MUCH YOU SUCK” quite like this one.
Then, I completely put the Enneagram out of my mind for a few days. I wanted to forget all about it, because, well…the truth hurt a little bit! But then I kept wondering what insight I could potentially gain from facing these faults. Maybe the test was wrong, too. I proceeded to read all of the other types of personalities and could resonate with a couple of different ones a little bit. Then I guessed which one my husband was (p.s. I was totally 100% right about him; he took a test later too). Good old google found me another free Enneagram test, different than the first one I took. Shoot…same result. Well…I guess it is right about me. I began to accept the result and have since been pretty moved by the reading I’ve done. I haven’t done extensive reading, just reading social media posts and the descriptions on a couple of different websites.
Here’s what I’ve learned about myself as a Type 4: The Individualist. The Romantic.
I certainly like the word “Romantic” as a title more than “Individualist”. The individualist sounds so self-absorbed. I do not want to be self-absorbed. Yuck. I’ll summarize the biggest takeaways for me: I long to express myself creatively and crave to be authentic. It pains me to have to do ANYTHING I do not have any passion about (like dishes, or a 9-5 desk job, or budgeting, lol). What I do have passion about I must do with purity and authenticity. For example, in this blogosphere I have written posts that are deeply personal, meaningful, and raw and those are the posts that seem to have the biggest impact (which makes my soul sing). Then, I have also written posts about more random things just to keep up the habit of blogging (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) and they aren’t particularly interesting or unique and those blog posts I am sometimes embarrassed exist. I have since learned that it is better for my soul to only write about the things I am deeply passionate about, even if it means sacrificing the ideal I have of making an income online. It’s worth the sacrifice to me to remain authentic. And in case you haven’t noticed, I am not blogging as often since realizing this.
Yet, I still have a bit of a drive to make money. I know money doesn’t buy happiness but it can pay off loans and buy vacations and enables more generosity, which I want, so making money isn’t a bad thing. This is where I believe I might have a touch of a 3 wing at times (even though one test said I was a 4w5 which I also think is true). I want to be successful at what I do and most of the time people get to earn money when they are successful. However, for a moody artist it is unlikely I will ever make any significant money doing the things I love. But I think maybe this is why over the last 3 years I have attempted so many different things to achieve that type of success. So I can sometimes be a chameleon who, instead of persisting and sticking with one thing, likes to try out many different creative outlets or avenues to success (like changing my mind about doing just blogs and being more active on instagram, or youtube, or expressing myself creatively through furniture painting to sell, writing stories, poetry or blogs).
Now I am seeing how I am self-absorbed because this entire post is all about me *facepalm*. See? The truth hurts.
I felt a little relief from discovering my Enneagram type because it helped me understand why I do the things I do and it helped give me clarity when striving to overcome my faults (like moodiness, sensitivity, not finishing what I start, to name a few). It helps put words to our unique bent towards sin. We are all sinful and will struggle with sin all life-long this side of heaven, but how we sin and how we cope with sin can vary. So you could rename the Enneagram to be “In what way do you sin the most?”. And since most of us sinners usually struggle with perceiving our own sin, having it shown to us through a personality test can, indeed, be a helpful tool in our walk towards holiness.
Anyway, I do have a point in sharing all of this. I want to be more honest with myself and with all of you about what kind of content I aim to create online. I do not want to let the shrouds of envy and comparison discourage me from trying for some ‘success’ (whatever that really means). What does success mean to you? No…we won’t go there now, we’ll save that for another post. I aim to embrace my creativity, because for the first time in years, I have a bit of freedom to let that out. Yes, I’m busy homeschooling and trying to take care of our house and family etc… but I can find time to read, to invest in self care, to reflect on where God might be leading me, and to work in my various creative outlets. I just keep wondering why God would make me with such a craving for creative expression and not ever really have an opportunity to use it for His glory.
So right now, I am trying to discover what that means for me at this particular life stage. I have more to say, and more to share, but this post is long… so come back for Part 2. I have some exciting things to share, and I want you to share in my journey and keep me accountable. I believe that God has a purpose in all of this and I know that turning 30 really has very little to do with it. After all, the famous painter “Grandma Moses” began her artwork at age 80. I also want to talk about some critiques and concerns I have about the Enneagram too, and I think it is well worth the time to explore that with you too. Thank for your reading the awkward inner workings of my brain and being there for me to process. I love blogging for you and always want to be real. When we can be real, we can grow. Looking forward to sharing Part 2 with you soon.
Check out my last post, too: Why I am Taking a Social Media Break