Overview of Enneagram Six
The committed, security-oriented type. Sixes are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. Excellent “troubleshooters,” they foresee problems and foster cooperation, but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious—running on stress while complaining about it. They can be cautious and indecisive, but also reactive, defiant and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion. At their Best: internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing themselves and others.
Basic Fear: Of being without support and guidance
Basic Desire: To have security and support
Key Motivations: Want to have security, to feel supported by others, to have certitude and reassurance, to test the attitudes of others toward them, to fight against anxiety and insecurity.
Scripture for Sunday: John 18:15-18; 21:15-19
Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. 17 The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”
Notes on The Text:
This week we look at two very different stories about Peter in the Gospel of John where we see how Peter evolved and transformed as an Enneagram Six. We will begin with the fear that made Peter deny Jesus at the hour of his crucifixion. Peter was one of the key disciples of Jesus. Peter became the rock on which Jesus built his church. As a Six, Peter needed an outside authority to give him direction and to find security. He found all that in Jesus. He found his mission in life through following Jesus. He worked hard and thought of himself as a loyal member of Jesus’ inner group of followers. He was loyal to the mission of Jesus and believed that he would defend it until the end. But when life’s fears came crashing down on him, he lost his focus on Jesus and was even willing to deny Jesus to save his own life. When fear crept in, Peter denied Jesus and decided to save his own skin.
It is said that Peter’s denial of Jesus is the most known event in Peter’s ministry. In fact, all four Gospels record this episode. In John 13:37 at the Last Supper, Peter confessed his commitment to Jesus saying that he was willing to lay his life down for Jesus. “Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Fast forward just a little bit and then you see Peter willing to deny Jesus completely and not just one time, but three times! In the Bible whenever something is repeated three times, we know that it is a way to emphasize a point. Peter’s denial happened three times so that we don’t overlook it. Peter, the Rock, the one who was supposed to be faithful and loyal to Jesus till the end, cowered under pressure. His fear got the best of him. He didn’t want to be crucified like Jesus. He also put all of his faith in Jesus, an outer authority and when this outside authority was gone, Peter could not find a strong enough inner authority to replace it. He had not yet found his inner authority to weather the storms and fears of life. As a Six, Peter relied on things staying stable and safe under the protection of Jesus. But when Jesus seemed to be out of the picture, Peter did not know what to do.
The second passage for this week tells us that after Jesus died, Peter went back to his old profession of fishing. This was where he found stability before. Then Jesus appeared to the disciples and asked Peter to be the one to feed his sheep, meaning to continue his mission. The amazing thing that happened was that Peter ended up becoming the key leader of the church. Peter was transformed from a cowardly denier to a courageous bearer of the good news.
In our world today, there seems to be a conspiracy to make us believe that danger is in every corner and that our world is falling apart because fear sells and makes people comply with whatever the powerful want the masses to do! Fear motivates people to believe lies and to act based on our worst instincts even if it means destroying others. Think of the recent political debates and news, most of which are based on fear of the other: the immigrant, the stranger, the other side of the political debate, the government, the Russians, the environment, measles, or whatever entity is being identified as the next threat to our security. It is fair to say that we live in a state of anxiety based on the changing circumstances of our lives.
Enneagram Type 6 is the personality type that is most prone to anxiety and fear. They imagine the world to be an unsafe place and spend a lot of their energy worrying about what could go wrong. Even when things are going well, Sixes often live with an inner anxiety that does not let them totally trust life. They pursue security and predictability, but we know that such pursuits only lead to more anxiety and fear because we cannot control life. This week we look at Peter and what helped him transform from fear to trust.
Two things shifted for Peter that could be clues for Sixes and for all of us when we deal with fear and anxiety.
- The Resurrection: In his mystical experience of Jesus after the crucifixion, Peter learned an important lesson. In light of eternity, all of his worries and fears were not final. With having an experience of Jesus after the resurrection, he was reminded that life was not limited to this side of eternity and that all will be well in the end. Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile put it this way, “Sixes need to remember the spiritual truth that they are ultimately safe. This doesn’t mean they’re magically protected from disaster or calamity, just that from an eternal perspective this Story ends well.” So even after Jesus was crucified and seemed to fail from a worldly perspective, Peter learned that Jesus was actually triumphant, and that death was not the final word. This means that even when things seem to be falling apart, it is not the end. Keep eternity and the resurrection in mind when you are fearful and feeling unsafe.
- Inner Authority: Peter learned to trust himself. For a long time, he relied on the rules of society and other authority figures to tell him what is true. He didn’t know how to trust his inner authority. As a Six, he had a lot of doubts about himself. Unfortunately, this is not limited to Sixes. Many times, even in the church, we are taught to not trust ourselves because we often confuse ego with soul or true essence. But once we learn to access God’s guidance in our souls, we can trust the wisdom that comes to us knowing that it is always for the service of the greater good of the world. Through his failure and then his mystical encounters with Jesus, Peter learned to distinguish between the voice of his ego (often associated with fear) and the voice of his soul (always associated with love and trust). That was how he was transformed to face the challenges of life without wavering and becoming fearful and cowardly.
Prayer of Disruption by Joyce Rupp:
Divine Challenger, when did I stop risking? When did I lose my edge for adventure and surprise? When did I start pretending that what I now know is all there is to know? When did I give in to fear and bow to security? When did I let uncertainty press against my free spirit? When did I start moving toward the sure, easy thing? When did I give away my ability to be disturbed? When did I start refusing to pay the price for fuller depth and joy? When did I let panic of the unknown future wrap its barbed wire fingers around my desire to grow? Inner source of courage, nudge me toward growth. Urge me away from my strongholds. Convince me of my potential to leap beyond the barriers. Amen.