In June 2022, I will begin a 15-week renewal leave – an intentional time away to rest, rejuvenate, and recharge for the next phase of my ministry at Christ the King Lutheran Church. Helpfully, a colleague who recently completed her renewal leave suggested that I come up with a theme that can tie my planned activities and hoped-for outcomes together. After some thought, discernment, and discussions with friends, I landed on the theme of “Rooted” for this renewal leave experience. As ministry and family responsibilities have continued to expand over the years, I find myself feeling stretched thin. Using this time to intentionally and deeply cultivate some of the formative aspects of my life will prepare me for new and healthy growth. So, I will use this renewal leave to focus on my roots in three areas: personal growth, familial relationships, and spirituality. Within each area, there are several methods by which I will attend to those roots. Over the next year, I will outline some of those for you in these Scribe articles, so that you, too, might be able to find time for renewal.
In terms of personal growth, one way that I intend to tend to my roots is with the use of the Enneagram. This is a tool that I have found to be tremendously useful in my ministry, aiding me in things such as pastoral counseling and leadership development. More than that, though, it has given me language to help me make sense of – well – me! Those who participated in the Enneagram seminar that I held last fall may have seen how this tool can shed light on the ways in which we show up in the world, how we interact with others, our unconscious motivations and behaviors. My more intentional study of the Enneagram over the last couple of years has been an enlightening experience, to say the least. It has made me want to learn more.
On a personal level, my study of the Enneagram has revealed how little I know about how I ‘work.’ Even typing that sentence makes me shake my head and chuckle. It sounds absurd, but it’s true. As a Type 9 in the Enneagram system, one of the challenges I face is really knowing myself – what do I think, what do I want, what do I need? The M.O. for Type 9s is to go along to get along, which often means that what I want gets pushed aside in favor of what others want or desire. But now, thanks to the Enneagram and the gift of self-awareness that it has given me, I am starting to see where this kind of behavior can be utilized as a true skill, and where it can be harmful to my own sense of self. Pairing this kind of knowledge with regular counseling with a somatic therapist have helped me to be more attuned to the ways in which my body responds and reacts – almost unconsciously – to my environment, to anxiety, to stress. I have found this to be a real gift, and I look forward to time where I can explore this tool and its resources more deeply.
If you would like to know more about the Enneagram, I’d love to share more with you. I could even recommend some resources that might get you started on your own journey with this tool.