I’m gonna throw out a question and I want to challenge you to note the name of the person that pops into your mind. Everybody has at least one.
Who is a “Hard to love person” in your life?
For me, one of my relatives immediately comes to mind– I love this person but it’s so hard to talk to them. I have always felt criticized any time we’ve been in the same room. For years, I’ve been repeatedly hurt. I’ve done a poor job dealing with this HTLP. Basically, I’ve avoided them like the flu… Till now.
I’m happy to report that as a direct result of studying the Enneagram system this summer, I’m finding I have more-oodles more-compassion on this person than I have in decades. (Can it be????)
I’d been hearing so much lately about the Enneagram. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure the same is true for you. For the past few years, it comes up in every conversation no matter who I’m with, no matter where I am…
So I finally broke down and started pursuing some info online around that and praying, “Lord, is there something you want us to know here? Something that would help us live more repentant, holy, abundant lives? That we can glorify you and be unified and have compassion on HTLP’s in our lives? That you would use to drive your character deeper still into our beings in the context of our relationships?”
As I was exploring and pondering some things I found online, they were interesting but it was hard to find the clear Gospel perspective I was searching for. Then I was led to a site called “Your Enneagram University.” Something really resonated with me as I perused through their offerings….Didn’t have a lot of time to spend there but remember thinking- these people MUST know my Jesus. There was a course on how to become an Enneagram Coach and there was one that laid out the basics of the Enneagram. I could see clearly that this particular program was indeed tied to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So I bookmarked it. then forgot about it… a few days later – that very weekend, I was sitting in Q Conference w/ about 400 other women from all over the area and at one point the speaker said “Introduce your self to the person sitting right next to you.” They built time in for this exercise so none of us could get out of it. 🙂
I turned to this kind person sitting on my right and introduced myself. She told me her name was Beth.
And what do you do Beth?
I’m an Enneagram Coach.
Oh, I’ve been reading a bit about Enneagram, thinking about offering a study. Do you have a website?
Yes, it’s called “Your Enneagram University.
The very same site I was just on!!! Found out she does one on one coaching and group classes along with her online courses. And her husband is a pastor in town. I had no idea this company was based in Nashville; I figured they were in Montana or somewhere…..
THEN 3 days after that, the women’s director at my church asks me if I’m willing to lead a summer study. I share with her my desire to take some women through the Enneagram. Didn’t know if she’d go for it; having the church sponsor something so left of center….. but she lit up and said “I wish I could remember the name of the woman who led us through it- the staff had just done an enneagram team building type training… and now the youth ministry leaders are going through it. The ones teaching it – they were a married couple. She’s the coach and he’s a pastor.”
I said, “You mean Beth?” We cracked up. What are the chances that we would both be talking about the very same person?
My Enneagram coach, Beth McCord oozes kindness. She has a long list of accreditations and certifications… she’s poured hundreds of hours over the last 15 years into this program. And her bio says it best, “Beth is now leading the industry in simplifying the deep truths of the Enneagram from a Biblical perspective. You’re gonna want to go visit her page; yourenneagramuniversity.com
You’ll see that my Beth’s approach is gentle and kind. She explains each Enneagram type in detail. The best part is this- In each module of her online course, (which is absolutely WORTH EVERY PENNY!!!) there’s an invitation from God’s perspective which is so laden with grace and mercy, it’s nearly impossible to resist the urge to pay forward a measure of what’s been given to you.
I learned as we studied a recent module looking into TYPE 1, that the volume of criticisms I’ve heard from my hard to love person is nothing compared to what they hear through the “megaphone in their own ears.” That broke my heart.
My HTLP must be so miserable.
Right away, I wanted to pop over and give them a big squeeze. But I wouldn’t want to shock them!
When I do talk to my HTLP next, I won’t bring up the Enneagram, lest they feel “labeled, pegged or figured out.” Beth encourages to not use the system as a “sword” to cut people down but as a tool to draw us toward others and Christ.
The Ennneagram has changed my relationships- even the impossible ones with HTLP’s.