Enneagram 1: The Imperfections of COVID-19


Enneagram 1’s Under Stress

Healthy Enneagram 1: A healthy 1 continually looks for ways to improve self and encourage others to improve. A healthy 1 takes ideas and organizes them thoroughly into actionable steps. Every 1 has the “inner critic,” but when healthy, 1s can turn the volume down on that voice. The anger that motivates the Enneagram 1 is pointed in a constructive direction where change is needed and will benefit many.

Unhealthy Enneagram 1: The “inner critic” colors their world and becomes the leading influencer of their self-perception. The unhealthy one dwells on imperfections in self and others, becoming judgmental and failing to choose battles well. An unhealthy 1 seeks control more than order.

Healthy Stress Move to 4: A healthy stress move to 4 adds shades of gray to a 1’s tendency towards the black-and-white. In stress, the healthy 1 can see where and what needs reforming, but aren’t compelled to act on imperfections outside their control. They will be creative in their solutions rather than rigid. They can turn inward without becoming self-destructive. To manage stress, a healthy 1 can seek out expressive ways as an outlet for pain.

Unhealthy Stress Move to 4: With their inner critic loud, they work overtime to be perfect and to perfect others. Like an unhealthy four, they may be overly sensitive and prone to victim-thinking. Unlike 4s, melancholy in this unhealthy 1 space is more aptly named depression and needs  gentle care. 

Enneagram 1’s and Grief: Grief is especially hard for 1’s because grief feels like a personal failure to make things better


Enneagram 1’s and Church Leadership

There are many frayed edges in a world overrun by pandemic and in a church that’s feeling its way through. There are people who could have and should have done better. Some of those people are staring back at us in the mirror. There are little imperfections everywhere we turn, and those imperfections are making our lives harder. What are we do about those? Are you feeling the need to perfect all the frayed edges of our confusion, including our church life? Which frayed edges are worth mending?

Enneagram 1’s, there are many critics in our world right now, and everyone has their own reasons to be angry about the chaos that’s happening around them. You’ve managed your anger for most of your life. You’ve turned that anger into an ability to bring order to chaos. How do we make our frustration with the world orderly instead of chaotic? How do we bring it into focus so that it’s not overwhelming? Maybe you can demonstrate healthy and helpful criticism so that we can find our way through this mess.

We believe in you. We’ve seen you at your best. We’ve seen you rooted and grounded in what’s right in front of you. All we can see is the mess around us, but you have a gut feeling about which messes need cleaning and which can be left messy. Should we feel guilty about which messes we’re choosing to deal with, and which ones we aren’t dealing with? You can teach and model healthy messiness. We could use a good dose of self-permission to be less than perfect right now.

We also need a good teacher about what needs to be done in the here and now. We could look to you to see how you’re exercising your energy in the direction of fixable problems that should be prioritized. We’re likely to expend a lot of energy creating unsustainable habits. What if you modeled the way the church is called to meet those who are right in front of us? What if you showed us how to have patience about our future, curiosity for our past, but a passion for our present?

We are a world in need of grieving, and we’re going to grieve more when the pandemic ends. You know how to mend others without requiring perfection. When this is all over, the world around us is going to feel as chaotic as it does now, and we’re going to grieve that we can’t fix everything. We can mend most everything, beginning with ourselves. We’re going to look to you to help us find our way through that grief.

You are beautifully and wonderfully made. Here are some questions that may remind you that God has made you to be beautiful, not perfect.

What is yours to do? What is out of your control?

What are you trying to perfect rather than mend? WHO are you trying to perfect rather than mend?

What is one fraying edge of your church’s circumstances that you’d like to improve? How might you invest more time there and less time on problems that are less important?

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