Seeing Ourselves Clearly to Love, Lead, and Serve Better (Part 2)

Casey McCollum returns with the second half of his intro to the Enneagram. You can visit his website at

So you know your number. Now what?

Knowing your number can bring up a number of different emotions. It can make you feel a little uncomfortable, vulnerable, and exposed. But for many, it can also bring hope and even excitement.  We get excited because it can help us finally understand things about ourselves and others that have always baffled us. Why do I do the very things I don’t want to do, and why don’t I do the things I know I should, paraphrasing Paul of course in Romans 7.

Now, some people get so excited about it that they have to tell others. This is of course not a bad thing at all, until it is. As I said in part 1, the Enneagram is the best tool I’ve seen for self-awareness but it can also hurt your relationships if you are not careful. If the first thing you do after discovering your number is start typing everyone around you, you are not only misusing the Enneagram but you can potentially damage your relationships.

Even if you are pretty sure, don’t tell other people their type. I suggest this for a few different reasons. First, the quickest way to turn someone off of the Enneagram is to talk about it all the time! It’s just annoying. Second, you will probably be wrong. This is because the Enneagram is all about motivation and not behavior, and you are not in their head and heart. And third, the Enneagram really is about a process not simply descriptions of people. It’s a process of self-awareness and liberation from what keeps us trapped.

And this process has to be experienced on a personal level, and as much as we might want to, we can take the journey for someone else. And we shouldn’t rob or truncate that journey by telling people their type. It’s going to be VERY tempting, but please, please don’t tell other people their type.

Once you figure out your number, focus on yourself and the specific issues and challenges of your type. Someone asked me recently to sum up what the Enneagram is all about in a sentence and I said, “The Enneagram shows us what to let go of.” It’s not just about labeling and describing us but rather showing us where we need liberation.  It sets us free from habitual patterns of behaviors and thoughts that hold us back from growing into the person God has called us to be.

A final word of caution, don’t make the Enneagram out to be more than it is. It’s a tool, it’s not a new belief system or a new doctrine.  You don’t believe in it, you use it.  It’s a tool, and just like any tool you can use it to destroy things around you or you can use it to build something beautiful.



Casey was first introduced to the Enneagram in 2006 and has trained with Master Enneagram Teacher Suzanne Stabile aswell as with The Narrative Enneagram. He leads workshops all over the country for churches, businesses, nonprofits, therapists, schools, and universities.  Casey has 15 years of experience as a pastor, as well as experience in the nonprofit sector and as a university instructor. His engaging teaching style uses real life examples from his own experience, marriage, and parenting, and his love and passion for teaching the Enneagram are evident in his workshops. He is married to Kasey (yep!) who is a hospital chaplain. They have two kids, Clare (2009) and Micah (2012) and live in Denton, TX.

You can visit his website at

Recent Posts

Pruning An Overgrown Tree

Eleven28's policy is that every four years, full-time employees take a forty day sabbatical.  On July 1, I will have been full-time with eleven28 for four years.  It's time for a short rest.  Here are my thoughts about where God and I will intersect during this rest....

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Needing treatment to restore mental health isn’t shameful, nor is it exceptional.  I share my mental health journey in hopes that it will lead other church leaders to do what I’ve done – admit I need help and get it. --TreyI thought it was déjà vu. Helping our student...

Mothers’ Day Justice

The first iteration of this article was written the day after Mother’s Day 2020.  Ahmaud Arbery’s death was the first in a string of police involved shootings of black men that became the grounds for national and international outrage.  It was also an election year as...