The Gospel According to an Enneagram Seven

In the deepest motivations of my heart, I am struck by how similar I am to the disciple Peter. I’m quick to come to the fight and chop somebody’s ear off all for a good cause (John 18:10). I am so energized by an exciting moment and eager to work that I miss the point (Matthew 17:1-8). I’m so fickle that I turn on my promises when I am confronted by fear (Matthew 26:70).

One of the more familiar stories of the gospels is the time that Jesus walked on water. Jesus had just finished an all-day teaching marathon, fed 5,000 men and their families with five loaves and two fish, and was wrapping up the day. He put the disciples on a boat and sent them on their way. In need of a quiet place to pray, Jesus went up the mountainside. As he was praying into the night, the wind picked up. The boat was at a halt in the middle of the sea, fighting against the wind. Then the disciples spotted something out on the water.

In the Matthew 14 account of the story, we get a glimpse into the heart of Peter. As he recognizes that it was Jesus on the water, and not a ghost, Peter called out to him. Peter asked, “Jesus, if it is you, ask me to come out on the water with you” (28). Jesus answers him with an invitation to come. Peter, with all the passion and impulsiveness that I am so familiar with in my own life, jumps out of the boat and makes his way towards Jesus. He longs to be with the Savior. Of course this was a good decision. Who cares that there’s a storm out there, I need to get to him this way, and quickly!

As Peter continues towards Jesus, the wind picks up and fear begins to take root. Just as quickly as Peter had decided to crawl out of the boat and run towards Jesus in the middle of the storm, he loses focus and begins to cry out for salvation. Jesus reaches out to him and pulls him back up. They get into the boat and the storm calms. All the disciples are in awe of who Jesus is, and they worship him together.

That’s my Enneagram Seven heart. I am so passionate. If it’s a good thing, run towards it. Pursue it quickly! Might there be another way? I don’t know. I didn’t think about it. Now that I’m here, I’m scared. I didn’t want to miss out so I jumped, and now I’m wondering if maybe there was something better. Should I withdraw and try again?

I’m not claiming to know that Peter is a Seven on the Enneagram. I just know that so many times I find myself in him. Sevens are eager, quick to learn, and busy. They thrive under good leadership and flounder when suffering from the loss of leadership. (Again I am reminded of Peter, who in the midst of Jesus’ arrest and trial began to deny him out of fear of pain and loss.) Sevens are thinking of the next step, often before finishing where they are.

Sevens are consumed with so many different directions. Because everything is exciting, it makes it hard to commit to anything. Sometimes commitment is hard because focus is hard. Other times, commitment is hard because of fear. The perceived inability to make difficult decisions may result in anxiety or a desire to stay busy.

When Peter began to sink, when his fear overcame him, Jesus pulled him back. Peter was in desperate need of an anchor. My floundering Seven self is the same: constantly in need of an anchor. The beauty of the gospel for a Seven is that Jesus is steady when we are so quick.

When Peter asked for permission to come to Jesus, Jesus didn’t say to him, “No Peter, that’s ridiculous. I know you. You’re going to get half way out here and then change your mind. Stop trying to be a superhero and just wait a second.”

Why not? Jesus knew something that Peter did not know. Jesus knew that allowing Peter to come out of the boat would increase the depth of their relationship. Sevens have the incredible ability to be especially appreciative of the beautiful and spiritual nature of the world around us. They can be lively, cheerful, and vivacious.

Jesus knew a secret about this fisherman. His name at birth wasn’t Peter. Peter’s name was Simon, but when Jesus met him, as recorded in John 1:42, Jesus said, “You will be called Cephas (Peter).” The name Peter had special meaning. It meant “rock.”

In Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah . . . I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”

Jesus knew. He knew Peter was capable of great things despite his impulsive nature. He knew that Peter would be the foundation of the church, an unstoppable force that would impact the rest of humankind forever.

And fellow Seven, let me just tell you, Jesus knows you. He knows you have a hard time finding the one thing that fulfills you. He knows you make decisions too quickly sometimes. He knows you have a tendency to feel a need to distract yourself from your own thoughts. He knows that you want things done yesterday instead of tomorrow.

Oh, but he knows a secret about you too. He knows that you have a gift for excitement. He knows that you are a motivator. He knows that you are full of joy. He knows that you are resilient.

Action Point #1: Push yourself into the anchor, for he will hold you steady when you waiver. How? Second Peter 1 gives us a guide.

Action Point #2: Slow down. Don’t let your impulses make decisions for you; you are smart enough to be calculating. Listen to others and take your time. Jesus isn’t going to leave you in the storm if you take a second to figure out the best way to get to him.

Emily Hamilton resides in Rainbow City, AL with her husband, Andrew, and their beautiful daughter. She earned a Master of Arts in Christian Education with a specialization in College Ministry from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She writes for various blogs and Sunday school curriculums. She also speaks in the area of youth and college ministry training.

Find other posts in this series here.

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