I am an Enneagram Nine. If you’re not familiar with the Enneagram, a rudimentary explanation would be that it is a personality typing system that “types” people based on one of nine roles they usually play. It’s far more complex and layered than that, but that’s the “in a nutshell” version.
The Nine is a Peacemaker, they seek reconciliation. That is me. I have played out much of my life with an aversion to conflict. I physically feel conflict in my body, it is not my desired state. I think back to my poor children. If there was any looming conflict between us, I’d want to talk it through, so we could be done with it an move on. 15-year-old boys don’t want to talk it through with their mom. I was relentless.
Tell me what’s wrong… Tell me what’s wrong…Tell me what’s wrong…
Eventually they’d say, we’d talk it through, done. Moving on.
But I recognize that averting conflict or addressing and moving on isn’t always possible. Truthfully, it’s not always appropriate. Conflict doesn’t have to be difficult, but as a Nine, it doesn’t come easy for me.
The Peacemaker in me explains my historical tendency to “go along to get along.” I know there have been times when I have chosen not to engage because the desire to keep the peace was stronger.
I also recognize that there is an inner voice telling me not to make waves. The voice that also tells me if I speak up I might be disliked or cast aside. I might not belong if I make waves. That’s my inner gremlin – trying to keep me “safe,” but in reality, it only keeps me small.
We all have that voice. What it tells us may be different, but it picks away at your confidence, your strength. You are not enough, not smart enough, not good enough, not brave enough, no one cares what you have to say. It tears you down and keeps you small.
Not fully stepping into the life God gave each of us to live. Because of what? Because we’re afraid that we won’t be loved if we live as our true self?
What I know is that staying small isn’t the plan. It’s not my purpose. And it’s not any of our plans. Because each of us has something important to say. We are not meant to stay small.
We can hear that voice and instead of going along, we can choose to say thank you. Thank you for trying to keep me safe, but I am stronger, I am enough, and what you’re saying isn’t true.
Not staying small unnerves Peacemaker self. Not playing small means using my voice, not just in words on a page, but verbally, to say what’s on my mind, what I believe. It means stepping out of get along rut I can fall into and instead, take a different path. It could mean conflict. But there comes a point where staying small, going along to get along, is corrosive to our soul.
Walking out the full story that God planned for me means speaking up. It doesn’t mean picking a fight, that thought makes me want to go running. It means not staying silent. I know there are many people who feel that way today. They have something to say. We’re all on our own journey, but I believe playing small, keeping the peace for the sake of it is not part of any of our plans. Authenticity is my theme this year. And authenticity isn’t a re-creation of yourself, it’s acting in line with what’s in our hearts. You have it in you. Walk out life with courage, moving forward despite the fear. You are brave.