My Tribe

Hello, my name is Sara, and I’m an Enneagram Two.

Now if you aren’t sure what that means, let me explain. The Enneagram is a personality test of sorts that’s basically taking over the world. Well, at least the Christian world. You see, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Christians over the last few years (other than that we love Jesus and a good potluck dinner of course) is that they love a personality test. 

Now of course this could be true of all people, but in my experience, there’s nobody that loves looking at a personality breakdown like a Christian. They love to know their gifts, their makeup, their strengths, their temperaments, and more. In the years I’ve worked with churches and ministries, I’ve taken just about a million and one different tests designed to tell me all of the above in a different way.  

I’m a blue. I’m an achiever. I’m high in responsibility. I’m an extrovert. I’m an encourager.

The list goes on and on and on. 

Now here’s the deal. Typically, tests like these get on my nerves. It’s not that I think there isn’t truth or value in them. It’s just that I think they tend to put us in a box. We take the test, get the results, and suddenly, that’s who we are. We’re defined by it. We’re that thing and only that thing.

And I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m a lot of things—sometimes one at a time and sometimes all at once. I don’t want to be boxed in. 

So while others tend to embrace the personality test phenomenon, I’ve typically shied away. But I have several very close friends right now who are all up in the Enneagram. They are reading about it, learning more about who they are, and straight up loving it. 

Last week, I found myself sitting in my living room with four of my closest friends. These are the people who have lived a lotof life beside me. They’re the people I’d call in a crisis, the people I’d choose to hang out with first, the people I think are the funniest in the world, and the people who would help me bury the body without question (yes, we’ve talked about that!). In short, they’re the people who know me best. 

And several of those people also happen to be my Enneagram-loving friends. So as the night was winding down, somehow we ended up scrolling through an Instagram account designed specifically to explain the ins and outs of each and every personality type on the test. 

Now of course, I’ve taken this test before (hello writing for Christian ministries… they loveit!). So when it came to me, I told the room my results. 

“I usually test between two types, but it’s more a Two than anything else. I don’t know what’s right.” 

The Enneagram ringleader in the room quickly took to Instagram to read aloud to me the qualities that make up life for an Enneagram Two.

You’re a helper by nature.

You’re everyone’s emergency contact. 

You’re highly empathetic

You want people to know that you love them.

You sacrifice for people.

You’re thoughtful and warm.

All of those are qualities I can get down with, you know? If that’s what it means to be a Two, then I’ll take it!

But then, the list went on. And there were those other qualities…

You’re controlling when you feel out of control.

You deflect attention from your own issues.

You get moody or irritable.

You’re deeply afraid of rejection.

Your motives aren’t always pure. 

Ugh, these things? Not so awesome.  

I was sitting on my sofa while that list—both good and bad—was being read aloud. And the people who know me so well were responding to each and every quality—both good and bad. They were nodding. They were telling me about the ways they’ve seen those things play out in my life. They were encouraging the good things they saw in me and helping me see where the not so good things showed up. 

If this sounds like a weird thing to reminiscence about on my blog, it’s because it is! I mean, who sits around on a Saturday night drinking wine and typing their friends on the Enneagram? Who FaceTimes one of those friend’s husbands to tell him that you’ve collectively figured out his type, too? (He’s a courageous Six, ya’ll). Who does all this soul-searching and sharing in front of one of those friend’s new boyfriends? (Side notes, he’s a strong Eight.)

Well, as it turns out, my weird friends and I do. You have to remember that I was sitting in a room full of personality test lovers. That’s how it all started!

But what you also need to know is that I was sitting in a room full of people who want what’s best for their friends. 

Here’s my takeaway from the evening. It’s not so much that I’m officially a Two (though ya’ll, I can’t deny the truth any longer!). No, above and beyond any possible personality test breakthroughs, what I thought about that evening as I went to bed was just how important it is to surround yourself with people who know you.

And I mean, really, really, really know you. 

The further along I go in this world, the more I realize how much I need to open my life up to people who can speak into it. It’s so important to have people in your life who love you, and it’s even more important to let those people speak truth to you. I need the people in my life who call out the qualities they love in me and the things they think really make me who I am. But it’s equally important to let those people draw attention to the ways those unhealthy parts of you show up. Not because they want to beat you down, but because ultimately, they want to build you up. 

I don’t know how I got so lucky to have these (and so many other!) girlfriends who will do that for me in a way that’s safe, and loving, and nurturing, and ultimately, empowering. But I did.

And since I’m a Two, I love it, because I love my people!

My encouragement to you would be to find those people for yourself. They aren’t always “yes” people. They aren’t going to tell you every decision is good, or every emotion is justified, or every part of you is healthy, or even that every outfit looks good on you (we all need that friend, right?). They’re going to give it to you straight.

But they’re going to do it out of love. 

I don’t know about you, but those are the people I want in my tribe.

(And yes, they really will help me hide the body, too. So don’t mess with us!).

Sara Shelton