The Enneagram personality test reveals your strengths and weaknesses, which are difficult to see clearly; without knowing your Enneagram type.
Spiritual disciplines tap into a power beyond yourself.
Put the two together, spiritual disciplines and your Enneagram personality type, and you have a
- custom-tailored prescription to rid the sin tendencies scarcely below the surface and unlock your unique mission.
These spiritual disciplines for each Enneagram type come from AJ Sherrill’s Enneagram and the Way of Jesus, which, at the time of this writing, you can download this book for free from fuller.edu here.
Sherrill opens this “Disciplines by Type” chapter with these ten powerful words,
“Information is good, and application is better, but transformation is best.”
Ready to be more transformed each week?
While there a few spiritual disciplines everyone needs for our time, each Enneagram type has a specific “downstream and an upstream” spiritual discipline to cultivate more abundant life freedom each week, specific to your personality.
Let’s dive in.
What are Downstream and Upstream Disciplines?
Each enneagram type has a “downstream” discipline and a more difficult but critical “upstream” exercise.
Downstream is explained in this way by AJ Sherrill:
“This practice will come easily to the Type as a result of personality and Triad. It is encouraged for the participant to continue this practice.”
“This practice will most likely not come easy to the Type. However, it is necessary because the prescribed discipline will challenge the weakness of each Type. Upstream disciplines are critical because these are the practices each type seeks to avoid. In avoiding upstream disciplines, disciples evade transformation.”
Like canoeing on a river, both are sometimes necessary, but downstream is a lot more fun and easy than paddling upstream.
But, sometimes upstream is the only way to get where you want to go.
Here are the most important spiritual disciplines specific to your Enneagram personality.
Enneagram Types and their Spiritual Disciplines
1 The Reformer – Nature Walks and Journaling
“The vice of Type One is anger, and the virtue is serenity. Practices, therefore, should be selected with this trajectory of transformation in mind.”
The One finds nature walks helpful as their downstream spiritual discipline, and their upstream discipline is journaling.
2 Helper – Hospitality and Centering Prayer
“Type Twos are paradoxes. Whereas they are often the greatest servants, their vice is pride.”
The downstream discipline of type two is hospitality, and the upstream practice is centering prayer.
“Centering prayer is a form of stillness that invites being over doing. This form of prayer demands the disciple to simply show up before God and relent any performance, action or doing.”
3 Achiever – Kataphatic Disciplines and Confession
“Spiritual disciplines that confront deceit and yield authenticity are valuable for threes. A preoccupation with image and perception prevent this Type from accessing their true selves.”
The threes downstream practices are kataphatic, spiritual disciplines like Bible study, or reading groups and spiritual courses, their upstream is confession.
An additional recommendation for threes from Sherrill is, “Other recommendations for this Type include frequent fasts from social media, which forfeit public displays of perception.”
4 The Individualist – Solitude, and Celebration
“Fours wrestle with envy and must strive for emotional balance.”
Their downstream spiritual disciplines include solitude and journaling; their upstream exercise is feasting and celebration, cultivating thankfulness.
5 The Investigator – Bible Study and Serving
“Fives are in a battle with greed and must move toward non-attachment. Although their greed may be monetary, often it is greed for knowledge.”
The downstream discipline for a five is Bible study, and their upstream is serving. Serving helps the investigator to get out of his head and engage his hands.
6 The Loyalist – Journaling and Scripture Memorization
“The vice of type six is fear, transformative practices will move this type from fear to courage.”
A sixes downstream spiritual discipline is singing and journaling, their upstream practice is scripture memorization.
“The reason Scripture memory can assist the Six in transformation is because it anchors the disciple to commit Scripture beyond reading.”
7 The Enthusiast – Celebration and Silence
“The transformation of Sevens is the invitation to move from gluttony to sobriety… Americans ‘supersize’ everything- burgers, alcohol, credit cards and entertainment, such as ‘binge watching’ television shows over the course of an entire weekend. Sevens are particularly prone to excess in various areas of life.”
The downstream spiritual discipline of a seven is celebration; their upstream is solitude and silence for a specified time each day.
8 The Challenger – Service, and Accountability
Type 8’s downstream spiritual discipline is service; the upstream discipline for an eight is accountability.
For eights, “Connecting with a small group in the local church or regularly pursuing open conversation with trusted friends must be intentionally sought or it will most likely never occur. Trusted friends are there to love in truth.”
9 The Peacemaker – Nature and Fixed-Hour Prayer
“Whereas the vice of the Nine is sloth, the virtue is action. Therefore, it is helpful to think of transformation for the Type in terms of engagement and conviction.”
The downstream spiritual discipline of type 9 is being in nature; their upstream discipline is fixed-hour prayer. Often referred to as “The Liturgy of the Hours.”
Sherrill adds this additionally for type nines, “It may also be helpful for this Type to consider meeting regularly with a spiritual director who can assist discerning life decisions.”