Coming to terms with my number

I am a two.

To those who are familiar with the Enneagram, I basically just told you all my dirty secrets. Although the Enneagram is considered an ancient personality typing method (making a trendy comeback), I would consider it more of a rigorous soul assessment. It has forced me to confront everything lurking in my heart: hopes, dreams, fears–both what I would die for and what I would die to avoid.

And, as much as I’ve tried to run from it, I am a two.

So what does that mean? 

Well, I think we can all agree that no “number” will ever fully describe a complex, unique human being. There are things that really resonate when I read about a type two, and there are things I (and others who love me) just don’t see. There are also parts about other numbers that I resonate with, which I think is normal (I’m a middle child, which means I lean very much toward nine-ness as well). But coming to terms with the fact that I am, indeed, a two has been one of the hardest and best things of the past few months. I thought I would share a bit about that in case it’s an encouragement to anyone else out there as well.

First off, I have realized how deeply I am motivated by love.  I find I am sometimes painfully aware of the give-and-take of relationships. And I think this is the core fear of all twos–that I have to give love in order to receive it; that unless I learn how to be a perfect friend, I’m forgettable and discardable.  I didn’t even realize I thought this way until I left college, which was a time in my life with many deep and wonderful friendships, and struggled to make new friendships as an adult. Suddenly I was confronted with all these fears–what was wrong with me, that other people weren’t seeking out my friendship the way I tried to seek out theirs? The temptation for twos, when faced with this fear, is to seek love through an overload of serving and giving.

The catch is, it’s not really serving when I’m signing up to advance my own desires for relationship and meaning. I think in the church, this can be especially tricky for women. We’re exhorted to serve, to give selflessly, and to die to ourselves. Yet I think many of us start getting confused between surrendering to the needs of others and surrendering to God.

“It was this kind of submission–a fierce yieldedness to God–that prompted Mary, the young virgin who became Jesus’ mother, to reply, ‘I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants.” She would have to do some serious explaining… Accepting and submitting to God’s will for her would take strength–not weakness.

“True biblical submission…offers an opportunity to trust Christ together and acknowledge that he is in control–not us.” Brenda Waggoner

dewang-gupta-138896

The other tricky thing for me is the ever-present temptation to “leave God for God’s service.” Even though I know in my head that I could never earn God’s love, my heart still jumps ahead sometimes. It takes intentional, contemplative times of prayer, sitting before God and doing nothing but being with him, to remind me that his love is not conditional on my achievements. I can tell the difference in my heart when I make time for this, and when I get too busy serving to just be with God.

As a two, I am really bad at being self-aware and knowing where my heart is at and what I need. I find myself constantly attuned to the needs and moods of others, yet a simple question like “how are you feeling?” can cause all my defenses to come up. I hate this about myself—how hard it is to be vulnerable and to really know my own heart. That’s part of the reason I started this blog.

I’m realizing, however, that it need to go further than this. I need to learn how to own up to my needs in real time, how to pay attention to what my body is telling me, and how to receive graciously. (Raising support for my new job this year has been a HUGE, humbling lesson in learning to receive). The words of Paul “rejoicing in his weakness” are so foreign to my natural inclinations.

annie-spratt-129941

Part of my discernment process in joining Loom this year was figuring out, “Is this really what God is calling me to? Or does it just seem exciting and meaningful?” I had to make sure this wasn’t something I was just doing for me.  I really do love serving others, especially in areas where I feel I have something to offer. But this can either be my greatest joy or my greatest weakness, depending on how much I let the Holy Spirit work in my heart. Even though God can redeem all of our imperfect attempts to serve and love him, I want to be as self-aware and as healthy as possible in the way I minister to and love others. My “call to redemption” as a two is to embrace humility–to accept my limitations, own up to my flaws, and find joy in loving imperfectly.

What about you? If you’ve come to terms with a “number” or simply some deep truths about your hopes and fears, how have they helped you become a better person?

I’m thankful for many friends who have listened to me, challenged me, and mostly just loved me along the way. It’s a humbling and amazing feeling to have friends who still keep seeking me out even when I’ve done nothing to “deserve” it. So, to all of you wonderful people out there, thank you. Seeing your love has been seeing a glimpse of the unconditional love of our amazing God.

evan-kirby-101570

3 thoughts on “Coming to terms with my number

  1. Hi Jenna! Think of you and pray for you and Ben often. I know you must be excited about your upcoming mission/trip. We will keep praying. And I truly enjoy reading what you write from your heart. I feel I know you a little better each time I read your missives. Thanks for being vulnerable in Jesus–to His Glory!
    Much love, Sue

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s