My Word for 2022: Forgive

After writing my last post, it got me thinking a lot about forgiveness. It’s been a topic that has been surfacing again and again in the last few months, and I’m thinking that I need to take note of it. 

I have a hard time with forgiveness. I’m sure everyone does to some extent, but I realized recently that my personality is wired to make it extra challenging. I’m an Enneagram 1 – and Ones are described as having a “strong, innate desire for fairness, accuracy, and order. They tend be bold advocates for the rights of others and when healthy, may challenge the status quo to make push for reforms and equality.” 

The book The Road Back To You calls Enneagram 1s “Reformers.” But another word that is also accurate is “Perfectionist.” Ones don’t like mistakes. They want things to be fair. Getting taken advantage of, or seeing another person get taken advantage of, is extremely aggravating for Ones. Ones often have issues with resentment and unexpressed anger.

All of that mixed together in one personality can make it very hard to forgive. I think a lot of Enneagram 1s also find it hard to offer forgiveness to themselves, due to their constant inner critic. 

Fairness and justice are wonderful things. Being an advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves is awesome – and hooray to Ones for upholding those values. 

But it sure makes the world a hard place to live in sometimes. Life is not fair, it’s not always just. People are selfish and make mistakes. 

My personal focus for last year was “spiritual bravery.” I wanted to have more faith and courage in God. I wanted to release my desire to control everything all of the time. It was a good focus, and I’ve grown in faith and spiritual courage this past year. 

As I thought ahead to 2022, even though I was not super excited about it, all signs pointed to one word: Forgiveness. 

What were the signs, you may wonder? I had recently attended a Bible class at my church, and the teacher made the following statement:

“If you read everything that Jesus said in the Bible, and there’s not something that bothers you, you’re not paying attention.”

Randy Harris

He was specifically referencing Jesus asking us to forgive others, even those who don’t deserve it. (Matthew 18:21-22)

Then less than a week later, I found myself in a situation where I was really angry with a friend and needed to forgive her. I thought of a lot of reasons not to, and tried to rationalize with myself that she didn’t deserve for me to forgive her yet again. But then I remembered that Bible class, and I remembered what God calls me to do: forgive others. 

If I’m honest, I don’t want this to be my focus. (And that’s part of the reason why I am confident this is supposed to be my word for this year!) It’s going to be a challenge, and something that I am confident I will fail at many times.

But I know I need to be more intentional about fostering forgiveness, and I need to practice it more often so that hopefully down the road, it won’t be as difficult as it feels today. Honestly, I think the only way I’m going to make any progress at it is going to be through the grace of God, and his transforming power.

If you’ve grown up going to church or reading the Bible to any extent, you’ve probably heard many verses and sermons about forgiveness. So at this time, I won’t go into all the reasons why, from a Biblical perspective, we should forgive. (But if you’re interested, I found a site that goes into depth on 10 reasons why the Bible tells us to forgive – or you can always grab a Bible and do your own studying.)

My top reasons for wanting this to be my focus for this year do revolve around God and personal spiritual growth. But even if you don’t consider yourself a religious or spiritual person, there are still some great reasons to forgive others.

Read More »

Improving Relationships with Others through the Enneagram

This will be my final post about the Enneagram, rounding out a short three-part series. In my first post, I described how the Enneagram helped me understand myself better and fostered self-growth, after I figured out and accepted that I was a Type One. My second post shared how the Enneagram helped me appreciate my spouse more and navigate conflicts better in my marriage. 

This post will talk about how the Enneagram can improve your relationships with everyone else: coworkers, friends, family… anyone. 

After learning what another person’s Enneagram type is, I can begin to understand why they would think and act the way that they do (which is crucial if they think and act differently than me!) It’s easy to judge the actions of other people when they don’t line up with what we think we would do in a situation. We often assume the worst about others: they are simply being inconsiderate, they haven’t thought it through, they’re living in ignorance…

Instead of immediately judging others for doing things differently (I’m looking at you fellow Ones!) we can ask ourselves questions like:

What would motivate a person to do that or act like that?

Why is a particular issue so important to them?

What internal struggles could this person be facing at this moment that might be influencing their actions?

Motivation is a huge component of fully understanding the Enneagram. Two different types on the Enneagram could perform an identical action for very different reasons. This is why you aren’t supposed to identify another person’s type for them – only they will truly know their own motivation for doing or not doing something.

Read More »

Surgeries, Knee-Scooters, and a Case of the Flu

*This is one of those posts where I started writing it a few weeks ago, and I finished it today… sorry in advance for the possibly confusing timeline*

As I write this, my son is playing in his room right now, having no-so-quiet “quiet time.” He’s having a tea party with his stuffed animals, pretending to be their mother – I don’t want to forget these sweet times and memories.

It’s a Sunday afternoon, it’s been an interesting weekend that started out with my husband getting sick and potentially having the flu – so, most of our weekend has involved just staying at home.

At the initial time of writing this, I was almost 3 weeks post-surgery – I had surgery on my foot to reconstruct my fallen arch – it included 4 incisions (3 on my foot, one on my calf) and 2 bone grafts. I am not allowed to put weight on my foot for about 5-6 weeks after surgery, so needless to say it’s been a bit harder for me to do my typical activities.

Yesterday when my husband told me he was sick – initially my stomach dropped. He has been my rock while I’ve been recovering from surgery – he’s taken our son to and from daycare every day, he’s dropped me off at work (my first week back was last week), he’s done all the driving/errands… I quickly recovered from the shock and told myself that my time of rest and recovery was over – it really was a noticeable shift in my mind. I had been comparing my husband to my knight in shining armor the last few weeks, and now I was picking up my sword and shield, donning my own armor, for my family that needed me.

I had never actually gotten in and out of our car by myself yet post-surgery. My knee scooter presents a challenge, in that it’s hard for me to get it in and out of the car without help (especially when I can’t use one of my legs!) But, in the current desperate times, I decided it was time to figure it out. I did a test run – if I balanced my bad leg on the driver’s seat with the side door open, I could fold up my scooter and get it in the car without falling over. Success! I’ll admit, I was pretty proud of myself for my abilities and my level of self-sufficiency.

One of the many humbling lessons I’m learning from having surgery, is that just because you can do something by yourself, doesn’t mean you should, or that you can’t ask for help.

So, I did what any person (well, any over-achieving person struggling with pride) would do: I asked for help by not asking for help. I sent a message to a group of people from church and asked for prayers. I’m not implying that prayers were not appreciated or helpful – but secretly, what I really hoped was that someone would read between the lines of my request and say, “what can I do for you?”

And because I have some lovely and caring (and insightful) people in my life, that’s exactly what happened. And even then, it was still hard to voice what I needed. There’s vulnerability in asking – there’s a chance people will say no, and that it will hurt. Do people really want to spend their time and energy helping me? Am I worth it?

Read More »