Assessments are a very helpful tool in discovering more about who we are. They reveal patterns, blind spots, and even “superhero” powers – things we do which are beyond the ordinary.
Consider this thought from Thomas Merton:
“Sooner or later we must distinguish between what we are not and what we are….We must find our real self….created to be the child of God.”
Typically, I point people towards the MBTI, Gallup’s Strengths Finder, and the Enneagram.
I find these to be more accurate than spiritual gifts assessments. In fact, I recommend to discover your spiritual gifts, start serving and let others tell you the gifts they say in you.
Remember: Our identity is who we are in Christ!
These assessments can give us insights into our gifts, strengths, and weaknesses,
but our results are not how we should define ourselves!
On the enneagram, Ian Cron explains:
“Each of the 9 Enneagram styles has a self-limiting story that it tells themselves and others about who they are and what the world is like…. We create a real or perceived story that whether you know it or not is the driving force of your life…. That’s what makes great movies or novels so great, we can see the story that character has appropriated or taken on as their own, and we can see that it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s not true. That story that person is living is not true…. Are they going to wake up and find their true self or continue to live in this fiction forever? Enneagram is meant to do deep inner work…. The story we tell ourselves is the native soil out of which we grow. The Enneagram gives us clues. As a Jesus follower, every single one of these stories are direct opposition to the story of grace. You don’t have to be successful to be loved….”
Strengths Finder Resources
Below are resources to consider, including the Enneagram Paragraph Test for those who have never taken this assessment which is based on the 7 Deadly Sins.
Enneagram Paragraph Test**
Which paragraph do you *BEST* identify with? If you cannot decide which paragraph bets fits you in one of the groups, you may make two choices, but only in ONE group. The Key is at the Bottom of this Email.
A. I have tended to be fairly independent and assertive: I’ve felt that life works best when you meet it head-on. I set my own goals, get involved, and want to make things happen. I don’t like sitting around – I want to achieve something big and have an impact. I don’t necessarily seek confrontations, but I don’t let people push me around, either. Most of the time I know what I want, and I go for it. I tend to work hard and play hard.
B. I have tended to be quiet and am used to being on my own. I usually don’t draw much attention to myself socially, and it’s generally unusual for me to assert myself all that forcefully. I don’t feel comfortable taking the lead or being as competitive as others. Many would probably say that I’m something of a dreamer – a lot of my excitement goes on in my imagination. I can be quite content without feeling I have to be active all the time.
C. I have tended to be extremely responsible and dedicated. I feel terrible if I don’t keep my commitments and do what’s expected of me. I want people to know that I’m there for them and that I’ll do what I believe is best for them. I’ve often made great personal sacrifices for the sake of others, whether they know it or not. I often don’t take adequate care of myself—I do the work that needs to be done and relax (and do what I really want) if there’s time left.
X. I am a person who usually maintains a positive outlook and feels that things will work out for the best. I can usually find something to be enthusiastic about and different ways to occupy myself. I like being around people and helping others to be happy – I enjoy sharing my own well-being with them. (I don’t always feel great, but I try not to show it to anyone!) However, staying positive has sometimes meant that I’ve put off dealing with my own problems for too long.
Y. I am a person who has strong feelings about things—most people can tell when I’m unhappy about something. I can be guarded with people but I’m more sensitive than I let on. I want to know where I stand with others and who and what I can count on—it’s pretty clear to most people where they stand with me. When I’m upset about something, I want others to respond and to get as worked up as I am. I know the rules, but I don’t want people telling me what to do. I want to decide for myself.
Z. I tend to be self-controlled and logical – I am uncomfortable dealing with feelings. I am efficient – even perfectionistic – and prefer working on my own. When there are problems or personal conflicts, I try not to bring my feelings into the situation. Some say I’m too cool and detached, but I don’t want my emotional reactions to distract me from what’s really important to me. I usually don’t show my reactions when others “get to me”.
**The Key is at the Bottom of this Email
Strengths Finder Resources
**Enneagram Paragraph Key
AX=7 the enthusiast
AY=8 the challenger
AZ=3 the achiever
BX=9 the peacemaker
BY=4 the individualist
BZ=5 the investigator
CX=2 the helper
CY=6 the loyalist
CZ=1 the reformer