I have a love/hate relationship with the enneagram.
If you aren’t familiar with this particular personality assessment, it’s time to get edumacated. At my most basic understanding of it, the enneagram analyzes your basic fears, desires, and motivations. What drives you? What are you like at your worst or best? It is both enlightening and disturbing.
When I took the test for the first time, it informed that I am most likely a type 3 on a 1-9 scale of types. No, that doesn’t mean that being a type 1 makes you the world’s most perfect person. It just gives you the right to belt Nelly’s painfully poor-written lyrics, “I am number 1…2 is not a winner and 3 nobody remembers.”
But back to me. To 3. In all of my tres glory, I am motivated by the desire to feel valuable and worthwhile. I want attention, to be adored, to impress people, to be–oh my gosh, I am a narcissist.
No really. Discovering this was excruciatingly embarrassing. Granted, I have those tendencies when I am at my worst. At my best, I have a desire to achieve, to be successful, can be charming, blah blah blah whatever. All I heard was, “Dear Laura. You’re full of yourself, and it’s time to stop worrying about what people think of you.”
I was especially aware of my three-ness recently when I boldly decided to press pause on my grad school endeavors. That’s right. I am no longer a student at DenSem. I am a stay-at-home wife with a part-time job who has to make a conscious daily choice not to waste all my newfound free time watching Scandal (HOW HAVE I JUST DISCOVERED THIS SHOW). Life is full of hard disciplines, amiright?
Now that the emotional dust has settled and I have entered into my new routine(ish), I feel confident in my decision. My reasons aren’t important right now, and I may discuss some other time. For now, I am focusing on the fact that I made the choice despite the overwhelming pressure I put on myself to do what others would perceive as respectable. Will people see my as a failure? Am I being irresponsible? Will I be perceived as a quitter?
Notice how most of those questions I asked myself were incredibly “3” in their nature. So concerned with others’ opinion, pleasing others, keeping people’s perceptions of me positive. When it came to finalizing my decision, those questions had to be silenced. Not only are they deafening, they’re also defeating.
Dear world of opinionated haters, I’m not here to please you.
That’s not to say I haven’t sought the wisdom of others in this process. In fact, it was through a teary conversation with señor and late-night chats with wise best friends that I felt the freedom to step back from grad school. But to those who have an opinion on how someone should live their life or how a particular person’s success should be measured, I say hush. And to those voices in my head that paralyze and deceive, I say stop talking.
So, yes. I will enter this season with confidence though everything ahead is not as clearly defined as I previously thought. I will make this season worthwhile, intentional, and filled with life-giving pursuits.
Ultimately, I am not what I do. I am not what I achieve. My identity is rooted in a much richer source. And He loves 3’s even when they’re a little unhinged.